Vail Christian graduation: You gotta believe |

Vail Christian graduation: You gotta believe

Vail Christian High School Valedictorian Vanessa Siriwalothakul address the audience during the VCHS graduation ceremony in Edwards on Saturday. Siriwalothakul recounted her most rewarding experience in high school when she helped orphans in Mexico. She will attend Carnegie Mellon in the fall to pursue computer science.
Chris Dillmann | Special to the Daily |

EDWARDS — This year’s Vail Christian High School graduates are a study in faith.

Here’s why.

When they started as freshmen in 2010, Vail Christian was technically closed, out of business. Thirteen of them signed up anyway, and now, four years later, they’re here — a graduating class 22 strong.

Some caps were unadorned — we’ll call them classics. Some were sparkled and Bedazzled, one had a glitter version of a Colorado state flag.

John David Webster and the music class wrote a song just for the seniors, “The Great Unknown.”

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“It’s a new day; it’s a new life.” And so it is.


Valedictorian Vanessa Siriwalothakul called it “our first step into adulthood.”

“Suddenly, I want time to stop so I can process this,” she said. “Before we know it, high school will be a speck on our timeline.”

She also gave a nod to the Vail Christian teachers who helped her along the way.

“Here’s to teachers who stop us for impromptu goodbyes. I swear I was crying because I love calculus,” she said.

Salutatorian Branden Currey earned a 4.31 GPA. He said his role model is his dad, who taught him how to be a man while striving to reflect Jesus in everything he does.


Some years are for asking questions, some are for answering, said Nancy Whitley and Camille Cooper in their faculty “Final Q&A.”

The Class of 2014’s senior year was a year for asking questions.

Children ask 125 probing questions per day. Adults ask a half dozen, Whitley said.

“This class found most of the 119 missing questions and asked most of them,” Whitley said.

Parker Poage, for example wanted to walk around the room during class because he says he thinks of questions better that way. Fun facts with Poage stated, “If you don’t know them, you should.”

Amie Hixon asked the question, “Do I really have to wear shoes to school?”

Another asked if Cooper, her English teacher, could read her 75 page novel and make the necessary edits.

Another student asked how to graduate high school with as little math as possible.

Thomas Cheesman and Lukas Burner asked rhetorical questions about each novel, each grammar lesson and the nature of school.

Then there was, “How do you spell that?” and “How long does this essay have to be?”

And finally and most important, “What do I believe?”

“Getting where God wants you to be is not as important as becoming who God wants you to be,” Whitley said.


Howard Gardener was honored for 12 years of service on the school’s board of directors. This year is his last. The Thomas Morgan Wheeler Award for teaching excellence went to Patrick Beaudine and Camille Cooper.

As the graduates crossed the stage, Beaudine outlined a list of each graduate’s accomplishments and dreams, each an impressive list.

Parker Poage created a video/slide show of the class’ years together, to make you feel exactly how you’re supposed to feel at occasions like graduation and to demonstrate just how fast time has flown by for the students.


After receiving their diplomas, graduates gave their families a rose, a token of their appreciation for all the support and encouragement that got them this far.

It’s a good start, but for Vail Christian graduates their road ends when they stand before God who smiles at them and says, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

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

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