Battle Mountain grads ready for their futures |

Battle Mountain grads ready for their futures

Graduate Roberto Mendoza walks back to his seat after receiving his award for Outstanding Service to School during the Battle Mountain High School graduation ceremony in Edwards on Saturday. Mendoza was also recognized as one of a number of graduates who are the first in their family to go on to college.
Anthony Thornton | |

EDWARDS — God loves us all, all the time, but on graduation day God loves those delightful young people in gowns and mortarboard hats most of all.

That’s why the spring rain started slowly and softly toward the end of Saturday’s Battle Mountain High School commencement and pretty much held off until it was finished.

Like their class flower, the stargazer lily, the students will bloom where they are planted, and commencement provided a little something to help them along the way.

Lives in progress, a thing to behold.

Battle Mountain High School graduated 102 girls and 68 boys. The highest grade point average was 4.45, and 24 of them earned a GPA above 4.0 and graduated summa cum laude.

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They’ll take off for the world of work, colleges and universities, and more than a half dozen straight into the United States armed forces.


Woody Brook, student body president, was strong and brave enough to say thanks but no thanks to a full-ride Boettcher Scholarship and follow his dreams to Brigham Young University.

Brook opened commencement in English and flawless Spanish.

“Today we celebrate the beginning of a new chapter of our lives,” he said. “The loving community that has raised us will not be easily forgotten. We are an eclectic group of kids, and we will go forward on different paths. My wish for you is to become hope. We all need that.”

People said all sorts of wonderful, inspiring and amusing things. What no one said was that the proud parents and families should hold their applause until everyone had walked the commencement line. And they certainly did not. It’s a celebration, after all.

Applause followed each graduate across the stage.

Members of Battle Mountain’s Class of 2014 won state titles in speech and drama, athletics, culinary competitions and so many others. Ten signed national letters of intent to play collegiate athletics.

But more important, 71 percent took a dual enrollment or Colorado Mountain College class while still in high school, moving forward well before they walked the commencement line Saturday afternoon.

“Graduation is right up there with learning to walk, getting your first speeding ticket, cooking mac and cheese without reading the directions, and realizing you no longer need to ask your parents for money,” said faculty member Timothy Caudill in his charge to the Class of 2014.

Caudill said the difficulties overcome by second language or second country students cannot be overstated. Of Battle Mountain’s graduates, 42 percent fall into that category. Several of those were among the first in their family to graduate high school and go to college.


“The future is no place for complainers or time wasters,” Caudill said. “Be the one people tell stories about. … Proceed confidently in the direction of your dreams.”

They acknowledged their own. Bridgette Courtois and Roberto Mendoza won Outstanding Service to School. Nicole Affleck and Woody Brook were named Outstanding Seniors.

Repeatedly they acknowledged those who’ve helped them get this far. In the Hispanic address by Marlene Favela, Gerardo Carrazco, Alondra Simmons and Mizraim Olivas, they thanked their parents and teachers, and reminded their classmates that their futures are theirs to determine.


Rio Garton introduced his dad, Bart Garton, for the parents address, which was Gartonesque at its very finest. Bart pulled on his poetry hat for a poem he wrote, then his song hat and sang a reggae/rap combination of advice and song.

Basically, the song outlined the five things he lives by, which was great advice.

1. Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.

2. If you understand the shark he shouldn’t attack.

3. Keep that old horse before the cart.

4. Don’t trust someone who doesn’t laugh at a fart.

5. Don’t focus too much on the ultimate goal.

“Please enjoy the journey. Stow your luggage and make sure your tray tables are secured because you’re about to take off,” Garton said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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