School Views: Congratulations, seniors |

School Views: Congratulations, seniors

Philip Qualman
School Views

Graduation season is one of the most exciting times of the year for school administrators, teachers and school board members. We see each graduating senior class as the culmination of 13 years of instruction, encouragement and guidance in our school system and community.

The challenges that we’ve all faced and overcome during the pandemic have renewed an appreciation for just how hard it is to attain a high school diploma. Our students were up to the task and took every inconvenience in stride this year.

Our teachers remained steadfast in their commitment to students and provided the best possible learning environment for them. And, the families of our students provided the support and collaboration necessary to keep their children committed to the work.

It wasn’t a perfect year, but the year had some perfect moments. Despite very tough health guidelines and restrictions, our high schools played sports. They played football, basketball, volleyball, hockey and even wrestled. Students skied, golfed and competed in speech and debate competitions. Soccer, lacrosse and track and field are happening now.

Both of our large high schools performed musicals in masks. Hours of practicing, singing and dancing, and multiple performances and competitions: That’s old-fashioned tenacity and determination.

And, our students did these activities at high levels. Battle Mountain, with players from different high schools, won the state championship in hockey. Speech and debate competitors won state honors, and we sent a record number of students on to nationals. Other teams took top honors or finished near the top in the state. Student successes in athletics and academics were remarkable this year.

Last year’s seniors across the nation missed out on many traditional rights of passage — in-person graduation ceremonies and prom were the two big ones. That’s why graduations this year are so important.

To see the fun, excitement and sense of accomplishment in the eyes of the young adults we helped develop to this point is the ultimate moment in the school year for us. We’re happy, proud and excited to provide more traditional graduation ceremonies for the class of 2021.

It’s only natural that we may worry about what they may have missed in academics, but they more than made up for it in resilience. Life lessons of perseverance, staying positive and pushing through will last forever. I’m excited to see the impact this graduating class will have on our collective future – they will be remarkable! Congratulations, class of 2021.

Philip Qualman is the superintendent of Eagle County Schools. Email him at

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