Standing in the hallway with her fellow classmates Saturday, graduating senior Kelly Anderson was anxiously anticipating walking on stage within the next hour to accept her high school diploma.
"I'm ready to get out of this town and go to Colorado State University," she said.
Anderson wasn't the only one looking to the future Saturday during the Moffat County High School Class of 2003-graduation ceremony at the MCHS gymnasium.
The words spoken by students and faculty Saturday involved reflections of the past 12 years and dreams of the years ahead.
A sign on a mural that hung above the main stage at the east end of the gymnasium cited the class motto: "What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us."
In front of a standing room only crowd, MCHS seniors, adorned in blue and white caps and gowns, paraded through the middle of the gymnasium Saturday to be recognized one last time as students in the Moffat County School district.
A total of 170 graduating seniors were listed on the program that was distributed to family and friends that packed the gymnasium.
"The memories behind us have shaped the world as we know it," senior Rachel Kuta said during the welcome address.
She later said, "It's time to step now into what the future holds."
Senior Treva Tyler, who gave the welcome address along side Kuta, said it is time for the 170 seniors to start all over in their lives with a clean slate.
"As the door of our past closes, the door to our future opens," she said. "Today is our day to show ourselves to the world."
Career Counselor Paula Duzik then took the stage and recognized 50 seniors who have been awarded scholarships to further their education next year.
Five retiring instructors also were recognized Saturday during a teary eyed gift presentation.
One of those was social studies teacher JoAnn Baxter, who later announced the graduating class.
"I have always wanted to teach and you have made it enjoyable," Baxter told the Class of 2003.
Instructor Lance Scranton recognized two students as outstanding seniors during the ceremony.
In addition to their work in the classroom and extracurricular activities, winners Jen Gray and Bryan Foster's service to the community is what was most impressive, Scranton said.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, each student took the stage to accept their diplomas, as flash bulbs ignited in the crammed auditorium and shouts and whistles rung out. One student who took the stage was even congratulated with a blow horn from someone viewing the ceremony from the windows overlooking the north side of the gymnasium.
"We're here to unite the Class of 2003 with the rest of world," senior Teneil Jayne said during the commencement address.
"Today we're not losing our beloved high school," she said. "We're gaining the world."
Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.