Red Canyon High School, World Academy honor Class of 2018 | VailDaily.com

Red Canyon High School, World Academy honor Class of 2018

WOLCOTT — Every day, in every class, Red Canyon High School and the World Academy proudly own the fact that they aren't traditional schools.

So when it comes time to present their annual graduation ceremony, the schools use the opportunity to celebrate that difference.

The 63 students who graduated from Red Canyon High School and the World Academy on Friday morning, May 25, had to fight a bit harder to ultimately collect their diplomas. Along the way, they forged strong relationships with the teachers who wouldn't let them quit and with fellow students who found success through an alternative environment. As they collected said diplomas Friday, staff members shared personal stories about each and every graduate as they walked across the stage.

"Red Canyon and World Academy are special schools and this is a special place," said RCHS Principal Troy Dudley as he looked out at the crowd assembled at 4 Eagle Ranch. "Today is the proof that alternative education works."

During the ceremonies, the schools celebrated unique student victories.

Graduate Ricky Caraveo talked about how Red Canyon was his second chance and his second family.

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"I would like to thank every single teacher for not giving up on every single student here today," he said.

Caraveo said at RCHS, he learned how to believe in himself.

"The first time I made a 4.0 grade point average felt pretty good, as well as the day I signed my letter of intent to play soccer at Colorado Northwestern," he said.

'This school saved me'

Student Feron Nock was slated to talk about the "Importance of Alternative Programs." That somewhat dry title led into a moving speech about acceptance.

"Like many kids, I faced a lot of challenges in life, and being a transgender teen was one of them," said student Feron Nock.

"I never thought a school could be such a comforting place."

"This school saved me," Nock continued. "That is the importance of this school. That is the importance of alternative education."

Student Victoria Webb thanked her parents for their unerring support, even when she took a difficult path. The need to strike out on their own is a common thread among her classmates, Webb said. But that need doesn't have be to a bad thing.

"We will continue going on adventures and taking chances you 'highly don't approve of,' as my mom says," Webb noted. But today, as she considered the life ahead for her own son, Jeremiah, Webb said she understood her parents desire to protect her. She asked her classmates to stand and applaud the families assembled for the ceremony.

Coming back

Former RCHS and WA principal Wade Hill delivered the commencement speech, saying it meant a great deal to him to be invited back to the school where he worked for 17 years.

"I decided it was time for me to have an new adventure and any time you have that chance, you should do it too," he told the Class of 2018. "But I want you to know you have been in my thoughts all year."

As he looked out at the class, Hill confessed that over the years, he often employed a quote from Aristotle and a speech from Kurt Vonnegut to craft graduation remarks. But upon study this year, he found the Aristotle probably didn't actually utter the quote and Vonnegut never delivered the graduation speech. Nevertheless, Hill said the sentiments they reflect are timeless and solid.

"We are what we repeatedly do," he said. "It is your day-to-day, repeated actions that define you."

Hill also stressed the importance of daily kindness. "Be kind to the people you love. Be good to your community and give back," he said. "Never give up on yourself. This school never gave up on you."

Speaking on behalf of her classmates, Jasper Ostrom offered the last speech of the morning. She noted RCHS students would often joke about "what happened to 'High School Musical?'" when the challenges and doldrums of real life high school became overwhelming.

"But Red Canyon is my idea of a real life 'High School Musical,'" Ostrom said. But she noted that RCHS is a place where kids break into laughter instead of song.

"This school is life changing," Ostrom concluded.

Awards and Scholarships

During the Red Canyon High School and World Academy graduation on Friday, May 25, the following students were honored with awards and scholarships:

DAR Good Citizen Award — Ricky Caraveo

Seal of Biliteracy — Luisa Lopez Padilla

Tigua Reservation Tribal Award — Angeni Martinez

Vail-Edwards-Eagle Rotary Scholarship — Chloe Sargent-Capouch

Colorado Mountain College Scholarship and Alpine Bank HIspanic-Latino Scholars —Feron Nock, Chloe Sargent-Capouch, Jaimie Ledezma, Jessica Rios, Lydia Gomez, Sidney Rayne Whitmarsh, Victoria Webb

VFW Post 10721 Scholarship honoring Tim Cochrane — Victoria Webb

Youth PowHER Dollars for Scholars —Nicole Mathews

Robert Scott Reiter Memorial Schloarship —Chloe Sargent-Capouch