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Eagle Valley grad: memories meet future

Matt Terrell
Vail, CO Colorado
NWS EVHS Graduation 4 DT 5-31-08
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GYPSUM ” Cesar Castillo’s mind wandered into the past as he walked across the stage at Eagle Valley High School’s graduation at Hot Stuff Stadium on Saturday.

In a long nostalgic blur, he saw himself as a small child on a playground in elementary school, as a young freshman not really knowing what to do with his life and then as a growing artist ” someone who was learning how to shoot, produce and write his own movies in Ron Beard’s film class.

“It’s so exciting ” it’s something you look forward to since you’re a freshman, then you start seeing your whole life,” Castillo said. “Now I can go on.”



Castillo will attend Colorado Mountain College for two years and then head to the University of Colorado at Boulder for film studies. He knows what he wants in life ” and he figured that out in high school.

“The most important thing is to try your best,” Castillo said.



Everyone at a high school graduation is locked in a similar hybrid state of shock, reminiscence and fortune telling, simultaneously celebrating their past accomplishments and looking to the future, all the while feeling a little dazed and confused. It’s a feeling unique to a high school graduation, one that’s hard to reclaim later in life.

There’s a flurry of feeling, and seniors have a tough time describing what it means to earn a high school diploma.

“I feel older because I’m not in school anymore,” said Karla Lazareno. “But I’m scared ” I’m out there now.”



Lazareno will be attending Mesa State College to study nursing. She said Becky Peterson, a math teacher at the school, made a big difference in her life.

“She’s just such a sweetheart ” always there to encourage me, and I wasn’t even in her class,” Lazareno said.

Jordyn Driver said graduating from high school is an amazing feeling, especially considering all she’s been through in the past 15 years. She was born with HIV, and wasn’t expected to live past the age of seven. She’ll soon be attending Colorado Mountain College to study photography. Hopefully, she’ll own her own business some day.

“I lost my mother when I was little, and it’s been so hard since then,” Driver said. “But now I now I can buck up and overcome those things.”

Driver said many of her teachers, like Judy Cook, Nicole Dewell and Louayne Gates, helped her though high school.

“They helped me get my homework done, and when I was having a mental breakdown, they got me to focus on what I needed to be focused on,” Driver said.

Jessica Alvis doesn’t k now what to think, at least for now.

“It hasn’t hit me yet ” I so don’t know how I’ll feel later,” Alvis said.

Her favorite teacher at Eagle Valley was Daniel Carden ” who, as a freshman, she didn’t get along with.

“We butted heads at first, didn’t see things the same way, but we got to know each other, realized we had a lot in common, and I started looking forward to his classes,” Alvis said.

High school was a journey of self realization for Nicole Wells.

“I learned who my true friends were, how people really are in the world, and who I was as a person,” Wells said.

Wells will be studying Spanish and education in college.

The future, Wells and the other seniors realize, is not that far away. The real world will being in a couple months, perhaps in some large lecture hall at a university.

“You’ll be broke, you’ll be studying for a test, and nobody will feel sorry for you,” joked principal Mark Strakbein with the audience.

It will be up to them though to “weather the storm,” he said.

“Stand there with two feet on the ground and think about what got you there,”

Strakbein said.

His charge to the class of 2008? “Be a part of something bigger than yourself. Do something that’s not for you.”

Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 970-748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.


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