‘Ain’t it great to be a Devil?’ Eagle Valley High School graduates its largest class | VailDaily.com

‘Ain’t it great to be a Devil?’ Eagle Valley High School graduates its largest class

Class of 2019 includes 190 graduates

GYPSUM — From speeches that touted unique individuals to a commitment that all the guests present could participate in the celebration, the Eagle Valley High School Class of 2019 marked its graduation Saturday morning with a theme of inclusiveness.

It was Eagle Valley’s largest graduating class ever, with 190 seniors collecting diplomas. That was just one milestone this group marked. Ten of the graduates also earned associate degrees through the Colorado Mountain College dual-enrollment program. Members of the class organized a prom dress/suit donation event to ensure that all local kids could enjoy the evening. The class raised more than $11,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and began an outreach program with the Castle Peak Senior Life facility in Eagle.

“You are amazingly compassionate,” social studies teacher Charles Janssen said in his faculty address. “Folks, this is the kind of class that keeps coaches and teachers passionately engaged in what they are doing.”

Celebrating Community

“We are gathered here for a community celebration,” Eagle Valley Principal Greg Doan said at the beginning of his graduation remarks. And, like any communities, Eagle and Gypsum are a meld of different cultures. The first representation of the day’s inclusiveness theme was handed out when parents, relatives and community members collected the graduation programs. Along with the traditional handout listing the schedule of events and the names of all the graduates, there was an English translation of the honorary senior address by Maria Marin Garcia, who delivered her remarks in Spanish.

“I never imaged being in front of all of you giving a graduation speech. At the beginning of all this, I had shared with Mr. Doan that I thought it was a good idea to have someone give a speech in Spanish,” Garcia said.

After she made the suggestion, Doan supported her idea and challenged her to be that speaker.

Garcia, in turn, challenged her classmates to remember their roots as they begin their journies to adulthood. She drew cheers from the crowd when she said, “Be that unique person who will never fail your roots, who, in front of hundreds of people will say, ‘I am Mexican American, and I am proud to be one.'”

Thoughtful choices

Valedictorian Luke Morrissey also riffed on the idea of thoughtful choices. He shared a story about how, as a freshman wrestler, he was devastated when a rules change at a meet meant he had gone through the arduous process of cutting weight, all for nothing.

“Let me tell you, cutting weight sucks,” Morrissey said. He recalled being reduced to tears as he headed to the competition.

But if the same situation happened during his senior year, Morrissey said, his first thoughts would have been not for himself but rather for the team.

“As a freshman, I only understood how a decision affected me. Now I understand how it affects everyone,” Morrissey said. “I am proud I have grown in this way.”

Morrissey noted that he and his classmates have a lot more growth ahead.

“Now that we have made it to today, everything will change,” he said.

“Try to make the decisions that keep the door open to where you want to go.”

Ain’t it great to be a Devil?

Salutatorian Zoe Booth took her classmates on a memory-lane trip that touched on playing donkey basketball and getting out of class to witness a solar eclipse. She called out various classmates for their signature styles and talents.

“If there is one thing I can take away from high school, it is that every second we spend in this world is a significant one,” Booth said. “The last four years have taught me that any second can be wildly exciting.”

But Booth saved her best audience-pleasing line for the very end of her remarks. After recalling some of the highlights and lowlights of their four years of high school, Booth expressed some good old-fashioned school pride that her fellow graduates and their families and friends greeted with enthusiastic applause.

“I will always be proud that I’m a Devil, not a dog,” she said.