Graduation takes on special meaning
EDWARDS, Colorado – Vail Christian High School’s graduation ceremony Saturday was a victory in more ways than one.
For the 24 seniors who received diplomas, it marked the culmination of their high school careers.
The ceremony also served as a reminder that Vail Christian is still open and vital, thanks to an anonymous donation that prevented the school from closing earlier this year amid financial troubles.
Headmaster Randy Lowe recognized the challenges the past year presented and asked a group of people who were instrumental in saving the school to stand, prompting the audience to break into applause.
In a joint speech, Valedictorian Sebastian Pierce-Durance and Salutatorian Matthew Myers reflected on the ups and downs of the past year.
They recalled how they had been planning a light-hearted speech for graduation until they found out the school would be closing and their class would be Vail Christian’s last graduates.
“Now instead of a joyous celebration, it seemed that our graduation might be more of a mourning for opportunities lost,” Myers recalled.
He and Pierce-Durance held off on writing their speech, though, in hopes that circumstances would change – and that’s exactly what happened.
“Thanks to the incredible support of the community and many gracious donations, the school was saved from imminent doom,” Pierce-Durance said.
Myers later added: “Quite simply, the fact that you all have joined us here today in celebration is as strong a testament to the strength, character and optimism of our class and school as I think there could possibly be.”
As they bid farewell to the school, seniors shared both fond memories and exciting plans for the future.
Pierce-Durance will be going to Harvard University in Boston, Mass.
For him, a mission trip to Costa Rica earlier this month left a lasting impression. Students gave out breakfast to the homeless and painted a school in an impoverished area.
“It was amazing,” Pierce-Durance said. “It’s one of those eye-opening, life-changing experiences. It really brought our class close together.”
This year’s Costa Rica trip for seniors was unique because it took place much closer to graduation than usual. Principal Jeremy Lowe said the trip took place in May instead of mid-March.
“We wanted to move it toward May to make it a culminating activity,” he said.
Along with the mission trips, students such as Myers said they have enjoyed the school’s family atmosphere.
“Generally, there’s an amazing community here,” he said. “The friends I’ve made are incredible. We’re a family here.”
Myers spent much of his high school career building things – the set for “Music Man,” a fake oceanliner for the prom. It’s probably no surprise, then, that he chose mechanical engineering for his major at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
During the graduation ceremony, seniors showed a video they prepared of their baby pictures set to music.
Brother-sister duo Meghan and Galen Jacobs sang “The Prayer,” by CB Bayer and D Foster.
Meghan Jacobs played the female lead in this year’s school musical, “Music Man,” and has been a fixture on the school’s stage. She will be heading to the University of Denver to study vocal performance.
Jacobs said she has many fond memories from the school – mission trips, dances, homecoming week. She’s also excited about starting a new chapter in her life. She said she knows who her college roommate will be and looks forward to the change of living in the city.
Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.