Battle Mountain sends off the Class of 2002 | VailDaily.com
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Battle Mountain sends off the Class of 2002

John Wright

Student body President Bryn Abbott opened the ceremony, acknowledging attendant faculty and members of the Eagle County School District. The audience was then treated to the vocal talents of Elizabeth Eves, Morgan King and Sarah Kedrowski as they joined pianist Peter Vavra in a performance of “Dare to Dream.”

David Cope assumed the podium and charged the class with following the example of his 2-year-old daughter, Emily, who sought to touch the glowing, plastic stars on the ceiling of their home. Cope, head soccer coach and teacher at Battle Mountain, was also presented with an outstanding educator award by senior Krista Kedrowski. In her address, Kedrowski used the analogy of a Cracker-Jack box to describe her admiration for Cope.

“There are a lot of peanuts and popcorn in the box,” said Kedrowski. “But there’s only one prize.”

Austin Wignall then presented an outstanding educator award to science teacher Timmothy Caudill, citing his ability to balance rigid structure with the freedom that allows students to develop autonomously. English teacher Nicholas Loetcher was selected by the Class of 2002 as the Teacher of the Year. Loetcher’s English classes examine the literature of the ages through a cultural lens, an approach that has been said to make “seemingly inaccessible, ancient texts” matters of heated debate at the school’s Eagle-Vail campus.

Colonel Thomas Kirk of the United States Airforce gave the keynote address. Kirk flew combat missions over Korea and Vietnam, spent time in a Hanoi prisoner of war camp and was awarded the Purple Heart, among many other decorations.

According to Kirk, 50 percent of the graduating class probably doesn’t even know what they want to do with their life. Reminiscing on his own experiences, he described how he had entered medical school as a promising student, only to decide that he belonged in the military.

Kirk said that it wasn’t until he spent two years in solitary confinement as a prisoner of war that he realized the value and inherent transience of life. He concluded by declaring that despite the unalienable uniqueness of each graduate, every person must ultimately decide three things: their value system, their level of expectations and their goals.

As parent representative, Jan Abbott spoke to the parents about the virtues of parenting. Citing Kurt Vonnegut’s famous commencement speech at MIT, she espoused the three things parents should give to their children: roots, wings and sunscreen.

Graduates Billy Iverson and Shannon Appleby were awarded the Outstanding Senior Service Awards. An avid golfer, Iverson will receive a small scholarship to attend Westmont College in Santa Barbra, Calif., where he hopes to complete his PGA teaching certification. Appleby served as Senior Class President this past year and will attend the University of Texas in Austin this coming fall.

The Outstanding Senior awards went to Krista Kedrowski and Chris Finch. As distinguished scholar-athletes, Kedrowski and Finch enjoy both academic success and the admiration of the school’s faculty and students. Kedrowski plans to attend Pepperdine University, where she plans to study biology and chemistry in preparation for medical school. Finch will attend Notre Dame University.

After the Class of 2002 had been accepted by the Board of Education, all that remained between the seniors and their official graduation was the distribution of diplomas. When the time came for the traditional tossing of caps, the class had a surprise in store: cans of Silly String spouting into the air like fountains. On that note, Bryn Abbot and Shannon Appleby closed the ceremony with a quote from the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

“Life moves pretty fast,” they declared. “If you don’t stop and look around, you might miss it.”


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