PI Editorial: More great things from Garfield County students

Post Independent Editorial Board

Every day, our students in the Roaring Fork and Garfield Re-2 school districts do amazing things.

We’re lucky at the Post Independent to be able to help highlight and share their amazing stories, and recently there have been so many we thought it would be good to recognize some of them in this editorial.

We’ll start with Coal Ridge High School, where senior Conner Harte is using the skills he’s developing in class to correct and update Braille signage throughout the school. It’s a project that satisfies Harte’s desire to build and create, but it’s also driven by a want to help visually impaired people more easily navigate his school — even after he graduates.

“Being able to support (the visually impaired) and being able to make their student life even just a little bit easier is a really good thing,” Harte told a reporter.

Harte isn’t the only student looking to help others. Glenwood Springs High School senior Ashley Adams has been speaking with her fellow students and others about the dangers of fentanyl. Adams’ story is personal: She lost her sister to fentanyl in 2020, and has been working ever since to help others. She founded Aperture of Hope, started speaking publicly and hopes to continue her advocacy work at Hope College (you can read more about Adams’ work in an upcoming story in the Post Independent). Adams’ work to process her grief in ways that helps others is uplifting, and gives hope to all of us about what we can do in the wake of life’s most difficult moments.

Students have also found recent success working together across our districts. Basalt and Roaring Fork High schools, Basalt Elementary and Carbondale and Basalt Middle schools banded together this spring to put on the first “normal” theater production since the pandemic began with “The Sound of Music.” Performances wrapped up Easter weekend, but the production could very well end up being a template for the future, as well. Most importantly, the friendships and bonds they’ve made will stick with them for life.

At Rifle High School, the 56 band students returned earlier this week from state competition at Colorado State University. They were one of just four rural schools with less than 1,000 students selected to compete. In other words, it’s a pretty big deal.

“It’s a really huge accomplishment for the kids to be chosen,” Rifle Band instructor Jeff Chmay said.

For seniors, it was the perfect end to a high school experience where the pandemic made merely practicing their instruments difficult.

Finally, our last shout-out is not for a student but for a teacher: Glenwood Springs Middle School teacher Autumn Rivera. Last week she traveled to Washington, D.C., as one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year. Although she wasn’t selected, Rivera’s work as an educator has helped both our community and students succeed, and we look forward to seeing what amazing things she does in the future. If you haven’t already, be sure to congratulate Rivera.

The Post Independent editorial board members are Editor Peter Baumann, Managing Editor/Senior Reporter John Stroud, and community representatives Mark Fishbein and Danielle Becker.

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