‘You gotta send it;’ Battle Mountain High School graduates 208 students | VailDaily.com

‘You gotta send it;’ Battle Mountain High School graduates 208 students

Battle Mountain High School graduates its Class of 2018 on Saturday, May 26, at Ford Amphitheater in Vail.
Chris Dillmann | cdillmann@vaildaily.com

VAIL — Battle Mountain High School graduated 208 students on Saturday, May 26, 37 of whom were summa cum laude with a grade point average of 4.0 or higher.

Principal Robert Parish may have made English teachers cringe when he used two adverbs to describe the summa cum laude scroll.

“This is a truly, remarkably long list,” he said.

Parish acknowledged his aversion to giving speeches in front of large groups, keeping his words short but strong. He encouraged the seniors to take advantage of every opportunity that will come their way.

“Some refer this to as ‘carpe diem’ … this generation knows it as ‘YOLO,’ (You Only Live Once)” Parish said.


The Battle Mountain High School class of ’18 selected Chris Hoevel do deliver their commencement speech.

Hoevel may have made English teachers smile when he used numerous quotes and took careful consideration to cite his sources.

“Be humble, sit down,” he said, crediting rapper Kendrick Lamar.

Taking his own advice, Hoevel was humble to the point of self-depreciation in the speech.

“In the five-ish minutes Parish has provided me with, I will easily be able to share with you all the wisdom I have,” he said, eliciting a laugh from the crowd.

He then spoke for the next eight minutes, mostly in the second person, using the causes and complications of success as a theme.

“If you judge a fish’s ability to climb a tree, that fish will always consider itself a failure,” he said, quoting Albert Einstein. “You are not fish. Depending on what you believe, you are descendants of monkeys. These incredible animals can swim and climb trees. You must adapt, you must evolve.”

Hoevel’s speech was also contemporary, mentioning Meek Mill, Fortnite and social media. He mentioned bullying, but in a difference sense than the common text of today.

“Idealize who you want to be and bully yourself to be that person,” he said.


Hoevel detailed how the Battle Mountain Class of ’18 has been able to adapt to change, weathering three different principals, three football head coaches, three theater directors and watching 17 staff members come and go.

In a showcase of his own ability to adapt, Hoevel closed with a Steven Hawking/Larry Enticer hybrid quote.

“Try to make sense of your surroundings and be curious about what makes the universe exist,” he said. “And above all else, Class of 1’8, you gotta send it.”

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