Winners and more winners: Battle Mountain Class of 2017 is 197 strong |

Winners and more winners: Battle Mountain Class of 2017 is 197 strong

Battle Mountain High School Class of 2017 graduates make their way on stage during their commencement on Saturday in Vail. The graduation took place at Ford Amphitheater in Vail.
Chris Dillmann | |

VAIL — You know how tough-guy dads tell people they have sunscreen in their eyes when they get teary during their offspring’s graduation?

It’s a fable.

A couple of tough-guy dads who make their livings doing tough-guy stuff were spotted wiping tears from their eyes as their beloved children crossed the stage for Battle Mountain High School’s 57th commencement.

This year’s commencement was under the Ford Amphitheater roof on an overcast day, so that sunscreen story will not fly.

“There is nothing I do well that I did not once do poorly.”Walt KnightWriting teacher, Eagle Valley High School

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That can only mean that those tears were tough-dad awesomeness leaking out.

We thought you should know.

Winners and more winners

Battle Mountain’s Class of 2017 won state, regional and conference titles, qualified for national competitions and generally wowed the crowd, no matter what crowd they were in front of.

Just to make sure the seniors stayed on point, they had a little distraction near the end of their senior year, explained Battle Mountain Principal Rob Parrish. Someone scrawled threats of violence on the floor of a boys restroom. Nothing came of it, and life went on, as life tends to do.

“You passed that with flying colors, too,” Parrish said.

“Because it’s a graduation speech, this is where I work in a motivational quote,” Parrish said.

His went like this: “The search to find the best version of yourself never ends.” Then he added, “Strike out, but never forget to come home to visit.”

Parrish thanked everyone, especially his faculty.

“Battle Mountain faculty you are the rock,” Parrish said.

Yesterday … Tomorrow

Commencement was bookended with musical sentiment. Battle Mountain’s choir opened with, “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday …” The event closed with Fleetwood Mac’s, “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.”

Quaid Garton introduced commencement speaker Bart Garton, his dad, saying, “I’m proud to be his son.”

Garton’s hilarious address ranged from poetry, to strapping on a mask and snorkel and mimicking free diving to the bottom of the ocean where he pointed out that of all the people you love and count on during your life, one of them had better be you.

“You have to be ready of anything because that’s what you’ll get … anything,” Garton told the graduates.

Garton gave the crowd what it was asking for when he reprised Bart’s Five Facts of Life Its Ownself

1. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

2. If you understand the shark, then they will never attack.

3. Don’t put your horse in front of your cart.

4. Don’t trust someone who doesn’t laugh at a fart.

5. You can dig yourself into a really big hole, if you only concentrate on the ultimate goal, instead of enjoying the journey. Enjoy the journey.

Senior class president Camryn Woodworth and student body president Claudette Courtois said that when it comes to the things that matter … friendship, love … you really can take it with you as you turn that tassel from right to left, and stride confidently into the rest of your life.

“I’m terrified for the change ahead of us. But as scared as I am, I’m 10 times more excited. Here’s to us,” they said.

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

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