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Eagle Valley graduates blend tradition with innovation

Pam Holmes Boyd

“You may not remember all that was said today, but you will remember the experience,” said Eagle Valley principal Nelson Gould. Those memories will include a signature fly-over by helicopters from the Colorado National Guard’s High Altitude Training Site, a picture-perfect morning of Colorado mountain sunshine and a celebration-minded overflow crowd jammed into Hot Stuff Stadium. At the beginning of the ceremony, a simple request from Gould for the crowd to acknowledge the Class of 2002 turned into a thundering standing ovation. The graduates then returned the favor by offering a spirited ovation of their own in honor of their parents, family members and friends in attendance.

Valedictorian Jay Miller and salutatorian Chris Gamble delivered commencement speeches laced with humor and poignant with recollection. “Hard work does pay off. You might not notice it at first, but eventually it does,” said Miller. He then recited a poem of his own creation titled “Ode to Eagle Valley.”

Gamble looked to some of his favorite quotations for inspiration. His favorite – “Satisfaction is the first step toward failure.”



“That taught me to never to be satisfied with myself,” he said.

“A person of integrity walks with confidence,” was the centerpiece for Gould’s commencement address. “We cannot predict what your future will be, but we will tell you what it can be,” Gould said. He urged the graduates to become people of character. “This concept will affect all your future relationships,” said Gould. “What matters most is your good character and integrity projecting what people will think of you.”



As he spoke to the Class of 2002 for the final time, Gould also made a pledge to future Eagle Valley graduates. He promised that the emphasis on character education wouldn’t be limited to graduation speeches once a year.

“Here at Eagle Valley, we are going to join a character education movement spreading across the nation,” he said. “We hope to integrate character and integrity into ever fiber of Eagle Valley High School.”

School board members Barb Shierkolk and Scott Green, accompanied by Superintendent Mel Preusser and Assistant Superintendent John Brendza, welcomed each of the graduates as he or she came forward. The ceremony incorporated a new twist in recognition of the eight graduates who are children of Eagle Valley teachers and staff members. Each of those students was escorted to center stage by their parents, who then were given the honor of handing over those long-awaited diplomas.


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