VMS grads mark start of next step
Vail CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – Vail Mountain School’s graduation ceremony had all of the intimacy one might expect from a close-knit senior class of 22.
Parents approached the stage to hand diplomas to their children Friday night during the school’s 34th commencement at the Vail Marriott. Kindergartners personally delivered yellow roses to the graduates.
For seniors, it was a time to reflect on their years at the school and contemplate their futures. The private school is unique in that all students must be accepted into a four-year college in order to graduate, so for all seniors, a higher education beckons.
Holly Domke plans to enter the male-dominated field of engineering. The 18-year-old from Vail has been accepted into Cornell University’s college of engineering in New York. Although just 25 of the program’s students are women, Domke didn’t seem phased by being a minority.
She found her calling during a 2008 trip to Nepal, where she helped build a school.
“It was so inspiring,” she said. “I wanted to go into engineering so I could go back and help them with other things.”
Sean Woods, of Gypsum, Colorado, hopes to carry his passion for skiing into college. He’s set to join the Nordic team at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.
During the graduation ceremony, Woods evoked the poet Robert Frost, quoting these famous lines: “Two roads diverged in a wood, / and I – / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference.”
Woods said the school may have given students the tools to take the “road less traveled.”
“The teachers at Vail Mountain School have prepared us intellectually, emotionally and ethically so we can thrive in an unfamiliar setting where there are fewer certainties,” he said.
Hilarie Bellis spoke about leadership – a message that hits home for the 17-year-old from Edwards. Someday, she hopes to own her own film production company. Bellis will be heading to the University of California to study business and cinematic art. Fittingly, she produced a promotional video about Vail Mountain School for her senior project.
Her speech brushed on how students took the lead in fundraising for a class trip to New York.
“I am confident there are future leaders on this stage,” she said in conclusion. “Hopefully there are 22. We do not fully know what we will do in the future. Perhaps we will create social change like Susan B. Anthony in her quest for gender equality, or like Dr. [Martin Luther] King, who strove for racial equality. We may generate political and economic change democratically like [Evo] Morales instead of through violent force, like [Vladimir] Lenin.
“What role we play as leaders in the future might remain unknown for quite some time, but I am confident we will influence the world in a positive way. Please wish us luck in that endeavor.”
Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or email@example.com.