Gilpin graduates set sail on the future

Class of 2016 holds commencement

by Patty Unruh

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

That was the motto for the Gilpin County High School Class of 2016, an accomplished group of young men and women who graduated on Saturday, May 14.

The school auditorium, decked out in the class colors of emerald and silver, was packed with family and friends. As the familiar strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” sounded, the graduates entered. Necks craned, cameras flashed, and cheers erupted as each graduate marched down the aisle.

The crowd was seated after the National Anthem, and Secondary Principal Alexis Donaldson welcomed the guests. Superintendent David MacKenzie followed with a brief history of public school in Gilpin County and a recognition of alumni.

Student Jon Gonzales introduced Central City Mayor Ron Engels, the commencement speaker. Engels thought back to his own high school graduation and to things he wished he had known when he was 18. Through the years, he acquired some nuggets of wisdom that he shared with the seniors.

“It’s completely okay to be your authentic self,” he advised. “The dream each person holds is the right dream for them.” Finally, he urged, “Consider off-the-wall opportunities you never thought of.” As an example, he cited his own service as Central City alderman and mayor. Although politics had not been part of his dream, he seized the opportunity when it was presented and feels highly honored to have served. “Today, the world is your oyster, and your diploma is the ticket to your future.”

Senior Adam Holsten presented the class gift, a handsome hand-carved wooden eagle, the school mascot. The Class of 2016 intended the gift to symbolize unity to the students, staff, and community.

Jon Lovett, class salutatorian, gave a humorous tribute to each teacher and to school in general. “School is like a lollipop – sweet on the outside, takes forever to get through, and sucks all the way to the end!” He followed the witticism with an expression of thanks for the teachers’ help and an admonition to his classmates. “Let’s do right in our lives and community, put our best foot forward, and put our education to work for us.”

Valedictorian Chase Boulter left his classmates and the audience with the thought that our choices define us. “Seemingly small decisions can affect your mindset when it is time for larger decisions,” he said. He praised each class member for his or her positive character traits and summarized, “Work harder than you want to – it will give you an edge!”

School counselor Kirsten Goodlett announced scholarship winners. The graduates earned $404,900 in financial awards. For a complete listing, please see the article on scholarship awards in this issue of the Weekly Register-Call.

Senior Daniel Madrigal-Garcia introduced the flower ceremony, when graduates presented parents and other special people with vividly-colored daisies, the class flower. Sara Osteboe then announced the senior slide show. Scenes from school years gone by, baby pictures, and each student’s senior photo were displayed on the big screen.

At last, it was time for the presentation of diplomas. The graduates strode proudly across the stage as their names were announced to get that “ticket to the future.” Members of the Board of Education gave out the diplomas. Two Board members, Steve Boulter and Brook Ramsey, presented diplomas to their own sons, Chase Boulter and Jonathan Sales.

The 2016 graduates were Rebecka Allen, Khristine Barr, Chase Boulter, Sierra DeLeon, Sam Ghaffari, Jonathan Gonzales, Maegan Hensley, Adam Holsten, Alexis Kennedy, Marie Larson, Jon Lovett III, Daniel Madrigal-Garcia, Jessie Morgan, Sara Osteboe, Jonathan Sales, Milena Sanchez-Molina, Bjorn Tomlinson, Darby Welch (not present), Tyler Williams, and Isaiah Wood.

Finally, to the delighted applause of the audience, the graduates were presented. It was time to let out a whoop, pump those fists, and launch the mortarboards skyward. Then everyone drifted out to the atrium for a reception, photos, and many more hugs.

Family parties followed, and then…time for the adventurers to set sail.

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