Coal Ridge High School graduates ‘have so much to look forward to’ |

Coal Ridge High School graduates ‘have so much to look forward to’

Coal Ridge High School seniors celebrated by tossing their hats at the end of the ceremony.
Theresa Hamilton |

Sunday brought families, former graduates and current students to Coal Ridge High School one more time to watch the Class of 2017 cross the stage and pass into the world of post-high school life. Among these graduates was valedictorian and the high school’s Boettcher Scholarship winner Jacob Morgan, as well as two salutatorians, Timothy Ghan and Hunter Gerber.

Commencement speaker Greg Boecker, elected by an overwhelming majority of students, left the young adults a sturdy foundation of advice.

“Be sure to maintain honesty and integrity as you move forward,” the English and language arts teacher said. “Good character requires constant attention and application.”

Boecker also made sure to remind students not to live in sorrow or remorse for their life decisions.

“Regret is a useless burden,” he said. “Decisions are always opportunities to direct your life.”

Valedictorian Morgan enlightened his peers by recalling an anecdote of personal struggle after losing a loved one to cancer. He reminded his colleagues to always look on the bright side.

“My hope is that I can convey to each of you what is most important in life,” said Morgan. “It’s not whether you got a certain job you wanted, or if you got into your top choice college. It’s the things that define who you are. Take each day and be proud of who you are.”

Principal Rick Elertson, whose resignation is effective at the end of the 2016-2017 school year, congratulated the graduates on their accomplishments and wished them the best in their futures.

Morgan parted from the podium with an encouragement to stay strong in adversity.

“Each of us have made it so far, and each of us have so much to look forward to. As we move forward, we will hold more important roles in society and face more difficult challenges. If we could have courage and determination, we can overcome anything.”

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