Red Canyon sends 19 grads into the world |

Red Canyon sends 19 grads into the world

Scott N. Miller
NWS Red Canyon Grad3 DC 5-28 Vail Daily/Don Clark Casey McKenna plays the "Star Spangled Banner" Friday to open the Red Canyon High School Graduation Ceremony at 4 Eagle Ranch.

A stiff wind at Red Canyon High School’s graduation ceremony sent speeches and hats flying, but couldn’t budge the students’ dreams.The county’s “alternative” high school sent 19 graduates into the world Friday. Like most high schools, students are headed different directions, some to college, some to careers while others’ futures are so far less defined. The important thing though, is these 19 students earned high school diplomas, something that might not have happened if not for the program at Red Canyon.The roughly 70 students at Red Canyon don’t quite fit into conventional education programs. They do have the desire to finish school, though. Students seeking to get into Red Canyon must submit written applications and pass personal interviews to get into the program. They have to keep up their grades and complete their work. Complicating matters is the fact that many Red Canyon students have already dropped out of school.”It’s not an easy thing to come back once you’re out,” said parent Rhett Enlow. He spoke from experience. His daughter, Katherine, dropped out of Eagle Valley High School two years ago and vowed never to return. “I didn’t think I’d finish high school then,” she said. When she walked across the stage to pick up her diploma, her parents didn’t even try to fight back their tears.

“This is just a huge day; it’s the proudest day of my life,” mom Rocky Enlow said.Anthony and Mabel Medina stayed dry-eyed through the ceremony, but they and the other members of Ryan Medina’s family cheered loudly whenever their son’s name was mentioned. And his name was mentioned quite a bit, along with the names of the other graduates. One of the nice things about a graduating class of 19 is there’s a lot of personal attention. In his remarks to the graduates, former principal Mark Strakbein had something to say to every one of the students. The remarks ranged from serious – “Go to college. Become a teacher. Then come back here and I’ll give you a job and we’ll teach kids together,” he told Monica Covarrubias – to irreverent. “Keep ’em pointed downhill. Stop at the bottom,” he told Nathan Asoian, who had taken a year off from high school to go ski racing.The personal touch went both ways. Students offered gifts to each teacher and staff member at the school. All talked about the relationships they’d formed with teachers. That, too, works both ways at Red Canyon. “I want you to know you’ve changed my life,” Strakbein said.

Respect for the graduates reverberated through the crowd assembled for the ceremony, from adults to fellow students.”I love this,” said Youth Foundation Development Director Susie Davis in her remarks to the class. “This school has that great, warm, gushy feeling graduations are supposed to be about.”Walking into either Red Canyon campus – students are in both Edwards and Eagle – there’s a “great energy,” from the staff and students, Davis said. “You see courage, determination and strength,” she said.Beyond the work, the camaraderie at Red Canyon will stay with students long after they’ve become adults. Several students talked about how welcome they felt at the school after struggling elsewhere.The ceremony made graduates and adults proud, and also pointed the way for fellow students.”I’m looking forward to doing this next year,” said junior Andrea Esquibell. “It’s inspired me.”

The graduatesNathan AsoianBrittany Ann BakerMatt BakerChristy Nicole BusterLockie Jaqueline Cole

Monica Covarrubias Katherine Rose EnlowJon HernandezTyson T.J. IvieJuan Carlos MarquezJaime Geovanny MatiasCasey Joseph McKenna

Ryan David MedinaJustin RiveraJoseph Horace Romero IIICrystal SandovalKeith M. SiroisLindsey Ryan SmithJamie Lee Wahrer

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