CMC, ‘a lifeboat school’ celebrates 50th commencement |

CMC, ‘a lifeboat school’ celebrates 50th commencement

Colorado Mountain College graduate Jonathan Ramirez has his gown fixed by Luly Ramirez before the graduation of CMC on Friday in Wolcott.
Chris Dillmann | |

WOLCOTT — Norma Delgado’s Friday evening was filled with firsts.

At Colorado Mountain College’s 50th commencement exercises Friday at 4 Eagle Ranch, Delgado became the first in her family to earn a college degree.

Lifeboat U

Every state has a flagship university, and they all do all the same flagship university stuff, said keynote speaker Joe Garcia, Colorado’s former lieutenant governor.

“CMC is more important than that. It’s a lifeboat school, to help you get to the other side, and to a better life,” Garcia said.

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There’s always an excuse to quit. They come at everyone all the time, Garcia said. Quitting is easy, he said, but the success that comes with a college degree is worth it all.

Salamanca bound

Colorado Mountain College’s student body is varied, to say the least.

Take Delgado, for instance. The 20-year old from Dotsero, is also one of 15 TRIO Student Support Services and McNair Scholars around the U.S. to earn a spot in an intensive one-month language course at the University of Salamanca in Spain.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Delgado said. “I’ve never been out of the country except for visiting family in Mexico.”

The Salamanca program is offered through the Council for Opportunity in Education, a national nonprofit, and its Keith Sharin Global Leaders program.

Delgado is a leader in CMC Vail Valley’s F1rst Gen Club, a group of 16 first-generation college students.

“It’s important for first-generation students to not feel left out, and to have the confidence to try different paths,” Delgado said.

Delgado credits TRIO coordinator Katherine Osten with helping her stay pointed in the right direction, and find her way into the Salamanca program.

“I meet with Katherine almost every day,” Delgado said. Osten helped her identify the best choices for academic study, she said.

Addy solves her math problems

Addy Stearns had this math problem. The problem was, she had taken all of the math classes with her school, Denver Online High School.

“I had run out of math classes, and I wanted to take foreign language classes in person. I was struggling with trying to learn a foreign language online,” Stearns said.

Stearns moved with her family from Denver to Edwards about three years ago, and fell into the local routine. She raced for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, then for Battle Mountain High School’s alpine and Nordic teams. She plays soccer for Battle Mountain.

Denver Online High School has a dual enrollment program with colleges in the metro area; Addie was the first to enroll in CMC.

“Being a 14-year-old taking college classes, that really helped,” she said.

Stearns is valedictorian of her high school graduating class of 94 students, and is a 2017 Boettcher Scholarship finalist.

Stearns will take her boatload of college credits and her associate degree to Smith College, where she’ll play soccer.

North Star and Southern Cross

Matias Doherty, 25, is one of those Never-Summer people, and is back and forth between the northern and southern hemispheres. He grew up in Santiago, Chile, the son of Vail ski instructors who met in the 1980s. Mom is Chilean, Dad is American. The family runs the Glass House Lodge in Farallones, Chile, and Doherty was studying political science at college in Santiago. His parents thought a season in the Vail Valley would do him some good, so he landed in Beaver Creek for the 2012-13 winter. Like many of us, he figured he’d stay a season. He earned that political science degree from CMC, and is working on an outdoor education degree.

Part of that degree was an internship with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail and the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, organizing a summer camp in Chile for ski club members. They’ll train at La Parva ski resort, and stay at the Glass House Lodge.

Doherty says the goal is to host the summer ski camp for years to come.

As the Class of 2017 crossed the stage, each CMC graduate thanked several of the people who helped them along the way.

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

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