Vail Christian High School celebrates its largest-ever class of graduates |

Vail Christian High School celebrates its largest-ever class of graduates

School's 20th class of graduates will attend colleges from California to Massachusetts

VCHS class of 2019

Jack Douglas Arnot, Jose Antonio Ascencio Guizar, Caitlin Marie Bishop, Abby Lynn Bossow, Jake Scott Bowers, Luke David Bowers, Thomas Frederick Boyne, Jeffrey Keaton Brausch, Megan Barbara Carty, Camille Grace Chicoine, Megan Marie Collom, Emma Taylor Craney, Jonathan Fionn Daly, Keirnan Yeong Edward Davis, Zachary Graham Dolan, Matthew Ebert, Alexis Taylor Erlich, Jordan Hunter Erlich, Yvette Ines Emmer, Zachary David Farris, Nokolas Beber Futernick, Harrison Thomas Green, Jasmine Valentine Hartman Budnik, Hannah Jean Heckman, Sara Peyton Heredia, Alexander Hilty, Michael G. Imhog, Kellen Henry Kinsella, Edward John Koller III, Black Ashleigh Layman, Griffin Joseph McGuckin, Zachary Gorman McKeever, Michael Colt Moyer, Praise-God Mramba Nkalang’ango, Praise-Jesus Mramba Nkalang’ango, Thomas Cleveland O’Neil, Gretchen Marie Pavelich, Anne Elyse Petrik, Tanner Grace Pierce-Durance, Jack Morris Powers, Noah R. Rawlings, Madison Dorle Ritsch, Olivia Louise Soukup, Natalie Sofia Spear, Dylan Wansley Stueber, Samual Richard Tellor, Roy Valenzuela, Zion Gabriel Webster.

BEAVER CREEK — Vail Christian High School’s 20th graduating class was the school’s largest — 48 students. That group accomplished a lot.

At Saturday’s graduation ceremony at the Vilar Performing Arts Center, friends, family, faculty and staff celebrated the accomplishments of that group of 48, and wished them well as they prepared to stride confidently into the rest of their lives.

The class of 2019 was always up to something different, Salutatorian Jasmine Hartman Budnik said.

“I’m proud of our accomplishments,” Hartman Budnik said, telling her classmates to enter the future “boldly and without regrets.”

Moving forward boldly was the theme of commencement speaker Jeremy Bloom’s address to the graduates. Bloom, now a technology entrepreneur, is a University of Colorado graduate who has twice competed in the Winter Olympics and played both collegiate and professional football.

Positivity matters

Bloom told the graduates to remain positive in their lives, noting that positivity is often more important than a glowing resume.

But, Bloom added, failure is inevitable, and essential, to success. Michael Jordan, Walt Disney and Steve Jobs all failed before they succeeded, he said.

Positivity and the ability to grow from failure help define a person’s purpose and passion in life, Bloom said.

“I wish you an unbelievable amount of success,” Bloom said. “If you want it go attack it.”

Building on success

This class has already seen a good deal of success.

Valedictorian Jonathan Daly talked about some of that success, from scoring above the national average on standardized tests to a top-three finish in the U.S. Air Force Association’s Cyberpatriot competition to the class’ contribution to eight straight state championships for the school’s dance team.

Now comes a new phase, Daly told his fellow graduates. The glory of high school accomplishments will fade, and classmates will transition from a student body of 150 to larger — in some cases much larger — groups.

Students from Vail Christian’s 2019 graduating class are headed across the country, from California Polytechnic State University to Boston College and everywhere in between. They’ll study subjects ranging from engineering to veterinary medicine.

And they hope to bring the same verve to college that grad EJ Koller brought to his walk across the Vilar Center stage — punctuated by a backflip.

After the graduates tossed their mortarboards into the air — no staid turning of tassels from right to left for this group — they filed out of the auditorium the same way they came in, led by bagpiper Steve Emmerson. From there, they were quickly embraced by friends and relatives, with one more hug, one more encouraging word, before facing a future full of promise.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at or 970-748-2930.

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