Red Canyon, World Academy celebrate 2016 commencement |

Red Canyon, World Academy celebrate 2016 commencement

Kathryn Regjo, vice president of Colorado Mountain College, presents scholarships to graduating Red Canyon High School students from several different benefactors and organizations at 4 Eagle Ranch on Friday. Scholarship recipients included Cinthya Amancio, Genevieve Davis, Isabelle Deforest, Samantha Guardian, Abi Gutierrez and Victor Hernandez.
Townsend Bessent | |

Red Canyon World Academy Scholarship winners

Veterans of Foreign Wars: Adrian Favela

Colorado Mountain College: Cinthya Amancio. Victor Hernandez, Belle DeForest, Genevieve Davis, Abi Gutierrez

Youth Power 365 Dollars for Scholars: Jacqueline Estrada Ordonez, Genevieve Davis, Amber Barbella, Sam Guardian

Scott Rider Memorial Scholarship: Belle DeForest

Alpine Bank Hispanic-Latino Scholar: Sam Guardian

Vail-Edwards-Eagle Rotary Clubs Scholarship: Genevieve Davis and Jacqueline Estrada Ordonez

WOLCOTT — You knew when a metal band started hammering power chords to crank out a rock rendition of “Pomp and Circumstance,” Red Canyon High School’s and World Academy’s commencement was going to be freakin’ awesome.

And it was.

From Randy Martinez’ saxophone solo on our national anthem to the finale with Alice Cooper belting “School’s Out” from the sound system, Friday’s commencement at 4 Eagle Ranch celebrated their circle of life — school may well be out, but the learning never stops.

It’s a different road these graduates take as they turn tassels and stride confidently into the rest of their lives — on their way to commencement.

They have tried, failed, succeeded and tried again. Most work full-time jobs, some to support families.

“Kids need choices. We don’t all fit in the same box,” said Wade Hill, Red Canyon High School principal and World Academy director.

Still, like all high school students, they sometimes “sit in class listening to a lecture for an hour and a half, knowing you have to clock in for an eight-hour shift and already contemplating clocking out,” said Adrian Favela, during the senior message with Genevieve Davis.

‘Today is the youngest you’ll ever be’

No one said the road would be easy; at least no one ever said it to these kids because it wasn’t. And yet Friday morning, there they were.

“We’re here to celebrate how far we’ve made it,” said Isabelle DeForest.

“Inspiration will find you, but it has to find you working,” said Bratzo Horruitiner, program director with YouthPower365. “I believe in the spirit of the battle. Try a little harder, fight a little longer. Have passion for failure. Work hard, make mistakes.”

Jessica Roy pointed out insightfully that school is so much more than equations. It’s life perspective as well.

“Red Canyon is a place of acceptance,” Roy said. “If you had to work a full-time job to care for your family while getting your education, they’d help make it happen for you.”

During Teacher Appreciation, Sam Guardian said, “Our teachers gave us a second chance when others did not think we could be helped.”

Learning occasionally takes the road less traveled. Favela, for example, did government reports in rap songs.

“Teaching,” said graduate Leilani Astrid, “is messy.”

Betsy Cochrane and Patricia Hammon encouraged the graduates to work for peace, as they presented a scholarship from the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

“Open your heart and give of yourself. Give to your family, your community. Listen to what others say, too. You just might learn something,” Cochrane said.

Red Canyon’s Troy Dudley gave the charge to the senior class, which included Troy Dudley’s Greatest Hits.

“Today is the youngest you’ll ever be. Appreciate it,” Dudley said. “It’s also the oldest you’ve ever been, so start acting like it.”

Then there was the graduate who said, “Math is actually pretty cool when you understand it.”

“You don’t beat death by living longer, you beat death by living well,” Favela said.

Quianna Castro said it all for everyone when she thanked her mom, her family and friends.

“The road to adulthood is scary, but we can’t stay in one lane forever,” Castro said. “Today is the day we put on our big girl pants and big boy pants.”

As Hill yielded the stage to the graduates for the final time, he sent them into the world with this admonition:

“Remember that self-discipline and hard work are what got you here, and it’s what will take you through your next endeavors. And now seniors, you have a job. You need to get out there and make us proud,” he said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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