Vail Christian seniors reach milestone
May 29, 2011
EDWARDS, Colorado – So many refer to a high school graduation as the beginning or the end of something, but Vail Christian High School’s 2011 valedictorian Athena Bowe doesn’t believe in that.
“This is a milestone,” Bowe told her fellow graduates Saturday. “It is not an end or a new beginning as so many graduation speeches insist. It is a checkpoint. Today is simply one of many steps on our educational journey.”
For Bowe, that journey continues in the fall at Harvard University. It will be the first time in a long time that the 19 students who graduated as the Vail Christian High School class of 2011 will be apart. It’s a reality they’ll now face after fearing it would come a year too early during their junior year of high school.
That’s when the student body got word that Vail Christian High School would be closing its doors for the 2010-11 school year. The class of 2011 salutatorian Dakota Francis remembers hearing the announcement that left so many questions about the future unanswered.
Would the students have to find new schools? Would they have to move? Would they all be separated after three close years together at Vail Christian?
Turns out the class of 2011 didn’t have to find out the answers to those questions because an anonymous donor got the school back on its feet with a seven-figure donation last year. Then, last Christmas, the school got another $3.2 million anonymous donation.
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The money means that the bonds students form during their high school years will continue at Vail Christian High School.
Mission trips, worship, sports and teamwork – it all survives.
Words of wisdom
Doug Bruce, a Vail Christian math teacher and the coach of the girls’ basketball team, joked with the graduates Saturday that most of the lessons and words of wisdom he’s passed on to them over the past four years has all been borrowed from other sources.
Bruce continued that tradition during his commencement speech by sharing some lessons that Microsoft founder and CEO Bill Gates shared during a high school graduation speech a few years ago.
Lessons such as “life is not fair, so get used to it,” and “If you think your teachers are tough, wait until you get a boss.”
The students smiled and laughed, even as Bruce’s speech got more serious.
“Don’t take the easy way out,” Bruce told the 19 graduates. “Keep growing; keep learning.”
Nancy Whitley, who works in the Vail Christian counseling department, doesn’t doubt for a second that the class of 2011 will do exactly that. She said she knew from the first time she met them that the class of 2011 was a group that thinks outside the box. They have an eclectic mix of personalities and a collective sense of vision, Whitley said, leaving no doubts about their potential.
And while the high school years are now a memory, Bowe reminded her classmates not to let them be the best years of their lives.
“Each of you deserves far better than that,” Bowe said. “So while I hope you all enjoyed your time here, let there be no intention of looking back at it as any sort of golden era. May we fondly look back on our … times here, though never in nostalgia.”
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.