Dear Doc: Wishing ’09 Vail Valley graduates the best |

Dear Doc: Wishing ’09 Vail Valley graduates the best

Dr. Drew Werner
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado “-Time is supposed to be constant, marching along in Colorado’s Vail Valley at a sure and steady pace. I have a theory however, that it becomes altered when you have children. My sons might disagree, surely they have learned otherwise, but I know it has been accelerating at a remarkable pace.

This year, graduation has an entirely new meaning in the Werner household. My youngest (now an inch-and-a-half taller than me) is ready for his continuation from middle school to high school. His older brother, who grew taller than me at the same age of 13, graduated from Eagle Valley High School this weekend. It is quite an exciting time. Ryan will be entering a significantly expanded, remolded and improved Eagle Valley High School. Kyle is going to the United States Air Force Academy. To say my wife and I are proud of them does little justice to the swell of emotions we feel.

With the eighth grade academic tea and high school award ceremony in mind I cannot be anything other than excited for the paths our graduates will walk upon. They have worked hard and accomplished fantastic things. Their futures are destined to be even greater. Not by accident, but through hard work, excellent schools, wonderful teachers, a supportive community and, of course, involved parents, the achievements of the class of 2009 are impressive. I reflected this week as well on what I have learned from my children and how they have helped me grow. In truth they have challenged me to be better, as I hope I have challenged them.

Mark Strakbein, the principal of Eagle Valley High School, summed up the keys to success eloquently when he challenged the incoming freshman to always do their best, know right from wrong and always choose to do right, and always respect others. The only thing I could add to the challenge is to choose friends wisely, for a person will ultimately never be greater than the worst of their friends. The pride felt for our graduates comes from the affirmative answers they have given to two fundamental questions: Am I a better person because of the decisions I make and actions I take? Is the world a better place because of the same?

The honors our students have received are testimony to their living up to the challenges given them. I wish them all the very best. My hope for all our graduates, and our future graduates, is that they continue to live up to those challenges, and always answer yes to those questions. At the same time, I hope we all continue to learn from them. I know without doubt I have. To Kyle and Ryan I will say that nothing can make a parent more proud than to have children that surpass themselves. I am the proudest father in the world.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Dr. Drew Werner is the vice chief of staff at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs and the Eagle County Health Officer. He lives in Eagle with his family. E-mail comments about this column to

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