BMHS graduates class of 2011 | VailDaily.com

BMHS graduates class of 2011

NWS BMHS graduation KA 5-28-11

VAIL, Colorado – They bounced around beach balls, they laughed, they cried, they cheered, they graduated.

Battle Mountain High School graduated its 51st senior class Saturday, 152 strong, into the world and whatever is next in their lives.

Hugo Castillo welcomed the huge crowd, shifting seamlessly back and forth from English to Spanish.

“Our four years at Battle Mountain High School went faster than we thought,” Castillo said. “We will now all go out into the real world and make the best out of it.”

When the ceremonies wind down and they finally commence through the commencement line, the graduates start on one side of the wide stage. As their name is called they walk across the front, high-fiving classmates on their right, their families, friends and loved ones in the crowd on their left, and the world before them.

Some wore shades; their futures obviously are that bright.

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Thunderous cheering accompanied each of them, as it should.

But before all that, Hugo Castillo welcomed the huge crowd, shifting seamlessly back and forth from English to Spanish.

“Our four years at Battle Mountain High School went faster than we thought,” Castillo said. “We will now all go out into the real world and make the best out of it.”

The crowd sat down, but not for long.

Remsen Allard, Leo Charles Barry, Clifford Rodrick and Kristofer Thornton called the crowd back to their feet, then belted out what must have been the best rendition of the Star Spangled Banner heard there since the Amphitheater’s concrete began to dry.

Suzanne Foster and Linda Welch gave the Class of 2011 its charge. They’re both retiring.

“So, like the Class of 2011, we’re graduating, too,” Foster said.

Foster was lauded as an English teacher, speech and drama coach, and “for riding her broomstick.”

Welch was singled out for, among other things, the big comfy chair beside her desk where students could find solace and the occasional sympathetic shoulder.

Among their admonitions:

o “Failure is not an option.

o Mastery of anything may involve more than one attempt.

o Clean up your own mess, or you might be picking up after many other people

o In Eagle County there’s no such thing as a snow day.

o Making a change is better than having change done to you.

o Find your passion and act on it.

o Work hard, be independent and for your parents’ sake, support yourself.”

The graduating seniors have spent much of their lives with their classmates said, Raquel Nunez, Gemma Mendoza, Valeria Ortiz, Cynthia Mendoza and Yansi Ortiz in their Hispanic address.

“I don’t know when I’ll see most of you guys again,” they said. “This is a new step in our lives We will not see this as an end, but as a beginning. This is truly when our lives start.”

It seems fitting that Kathy Atencio gave graduates their message from parents.

She has been with many of them from preschool, teaching them to spell their own names and open their milk containers when their little hands could not. Now they’re on Ford Amphitheater stage, anxious to turn their tassels from right to left and get on with whatever is next in their lives.

“Congratulations to the Class of 2011. Love always, your mom, Ms. Atencio,” she said.

Kate Manley was angelic in singing “Time to Say Goodbye” (“Con Te Partiro”), finishing to an enthusiastic standing ovation.

And before their parents, families and loved ones knew it, the blink of the eye that has been their lives so far was over, and it really was time to say goodbye.

Connie Kincaid-Strahan, president of the school board, accepted the graduates, their names were called, they picked up their diplomas and a sunflower (they waved those sunflowers back and forth during their class song “Forever Young,” turned their tassels, stood, threw their hats, and walked off the stage toward the rest of their lives.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.