Teacher calls graduates ‘works in grace’
BEAVER CREEK – Corey Baden told a crowd that he cracked the whip over his students – or as Baden called them, “works in progress,” at the Vail Christian High School graduation Sunday night. Wearing a wig made out of scraps of notebook paper later in his speech, Baden used a more timely phrase to describe his former students now clad in purple caps and gowns: works in grace. “Not that this class is a work in progress – they are already made,” said Baden, head of the school’s English department. Graduates laughed and smiled on the stage of the Vilar Center for the Arts as teachers, administrators, family members and friends gathered for the hourlong ceremony. The ceremony served to honor the graduates for their hard work, said Principal Michael King. All 16 graduates will attend a college or a university, he said. Levity and sadness characterized the ceremony. Guidance Counselor Kim Ehley nearly cried as she described the qualities of each graduate and how much she enjoyed the student and faculty missionary trip to Costa Rica.”I laughed more in those ten days than I have ever laughed in a 10-day period,” Ehley said.In a moment that defined the close nature of students and faculty, Ehley told the crowd that graduate Michael Huzella would make a good father and husband. Huzella’s face became flushed, and the crowd erupted in laughter.
“She’s just been a good friend to me,” Huzella said after the ceremony. “She saw me with all the kids in Costa Rica and said I would make a good one,” he said about playing soccer with the local children. During the ceremony, valedictorians Emily Lich and Molly McGee spoke about their teachers’ patience despite some mischief. “You loved us and never gave up on us,” Lich said. “We love you.” After the ceremony, students said they would miss their experiences at the school, even as they excitedly told of their future plans. Caleb Pearson benefited from one-on-one interaction with teachers, who prepared him for Fort Lewis College in Durango, he said. Lich valued her work as a missionary on a school-organized trip to Costa Rica she took with classmates and faculty, she said. Lich and her classmates helped build a day-care center in San Jose, Costa Rica, she said. “She worked very hard. She sets goals, and she never loses sight of them,” mother Marty Lich said. Vail Christian helped Sunita Hebert pursue her passion of being a missionary, she said.
“Teachers there are really supportive, and the school is just wonderful,” Hebert said. Hebert will go to Nepal, India or “wherever God takes me” for one year as a missionary before she attends Colorado State University, she said. Vail Christian’s mission is to prepare students academically and spiritually, King said. “Sometimes on this day we forget that they’ve got a whole future ahead of them,” King said. “We hope we’ve prepared them for that.”==============================Vail Christian’s class of 2007Bjorn Bauer.Danielle Cavanaugh.
Jessie Chadwick.Jessie Cooper.Luke Dillon.Sunita Hebert.Michael Huzella.Emily Lich.Molly McGee.Sawyer Moch.
Jacqueline Parker.Caleb Pearson.Thomas Peskorz.Katie Russ.Julian Shainholtz.Justin Simon.=====================================Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.