Moffat County graduates ready for new challenges

Family members and friends gathered at the Moffat County High School gymnasium Saturday morning for one of the most celebrated rights of passage that our nation's youth see high school graduation.

New friends, new challenges and added responsibility are what lay ahead for graduating seniors, and most of them feel as though they are up to the task.

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Students make their way down the aisle out of high school and into the 'real world'. Some students said that, although they had a good time in high school, many were ready to move onto the new and exciting challenges.

"I'm really looking forward to moving on," senior Emily Mortensen said. "I have a lot of friends that I am going to miss, but there is a lot out there that I am looking forward to achieving. I am really excited, though, to move onto something new.

"I'm not necessarily going to miss the school aspect so much, but the athletics, people and friends I have will always be special to me."

Mortensen was the recipient of the school's Outstanding Senior Girl award, which is voted on by high school teachers and administrators.

"It's really an honor to be recognized with that," she said. "With all of the kids here deserving of it, I feel very fortunate to be selected."

Aside from her outstanding accomplishments in both athletics and in the classroom, Mortensen was plagued with a stigma that only a select number of students face her father teaches and coaches at the school she attends.

"It really isn't that bad, I really didn't get to see him that much at school, so that made it easier," she said. "When we are at school, he doesn't treat me any different than the other kids, so it's not as though I try to get away with anything special.

"I even had him for a class once, but it was a physical education class where we mostly were out doing something, so it wasn't really awkward."

Joining Mortensen as an honored student was Ben Koucherik, who was voted Outstanding Senior Boy.

Graduating senior Katie Karo, who gave the benediction speech had some words of advice for students as they make their way to colleges, water coolers and military duties throughout the country.

"It is important that we remain focused on what it is that we are wanting to achieve," she said. "I think it is important to remember that when climbing the ladder of success, remember that the smart ones took the elevator."

Karo plans to attend the University of Northern Colorado, where she will major in drama and education, with the hope of returning to teach in classrooms similar to the ones she just left.

"I felt that it was important to give a speech so that I could sum up all of the things that I have learned in my time here," she said. "This has been a great experience for me, and I am really looking forward to moving on to the next level."

The next level for some students does not include an immediate transition to a college classroom. A few students look forward to a break from the classroom, while others just need a little time away from it.

"I really think that high school really flew by," senior Thomas Miller said. "If I had to do it over, I would probably do a few things different. I'd probably study harder and apply myself in the classroom a little more, but I am kind of glad that it is over."

Miller, who will be leaving for a four-year military obligation, doesn't feel as though his days in the classroom are over quite yet though.

"I plan on attending college once I get out of the military," he said. "By then, I think that I will probably be ready to get back into school."

Moffat County High School graduated 157 students.

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