Although they all wore plain blue or white gowns Saturday, Moffat County High School's class of 2006 spans the spectrum of personalities and futures.
The rows of boys in blue and girls in white were surrounded by friends and family to celebrate a rite of passage from high school to a variety of paths: college, trade school, jobs or the military.
It was a celebration of what the class had achieved, with commencement speaker Kaylin Lamerton reminding her 154 classmates that their hard work had paid off. It was also the start of new life paths, as their class song, Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird," says: "For I must be traveling on now, 'cause there's too many places I've got to see."
Principal Jane Krogman asked the graduates joining the military to stand to be recognized, and the crowd gave them a standing ovation.
Graduates Zach Haddan and Justin Kawcak honored retiring teacher Ken Harjes and athletics director Jim Loughran.
Harjes started the boys golf team 25 years ago, and Haddan, a golfer, said that the coach's quote, "Play the course, don't let the course play you," related to the golfer's life, as well.
Harjes said he will continue to coach golf in his retirement, but his love for the outdoors and his family will take precedent.
Loughran, who coached several sports, including girls soccer during the past two seasons, is retiring to take a salesman position with Daktronics, based out of Sioux Falls, S.D. He came to the Craig for his second teaching job after starting in Windsor.
He and his wife, Nancy, raised their four children, Amy, Anthony, Sean and Kevin, in Craig.
Kawcak noted that Loughran was graduating with his youngest son, Kevin.
After the two retirees were honored, graduate Will Schneegas presented the class gift. Schneegas said that despite his wishes to have a fire pole and a slide to help alleviate the crowded halls, the class decided to donate $1,500 for a sound system in the gymnasium.
The faculty members who introduced the two Outstanding Seniors, who are voted on by the staff, had something in common. Roger Spears and Loughran had previously introduced the siblings of the 2006 recipients for the same award.
Babysitting was mentioned in both introductions. Roger Spears said another staff member told him that the Outstanding Senior Girl, April Sanchez, was the best babysitter they had. According to Loughran, track coach Gary Tague said Outstanding Senior Boy Derek Duran never had to be babysat.
Sanchez will attend Lamar Community College to play volleyball. Duran will attend Mesa State College to play football.
During her address, Lamerton reminisced with classmates about driving quickly up Finley Lane to get to school on time, getting addicted to coffee and experiencing senioritis. She also reminded her classmates to thank all of those who have helped them. Then she challenged them to keep up the good work.
"Now we have only ourselves to answer to," she said.
After a moving performance of Stephen Schwartz's "For Good" by the combined choirs, Superintendent Pete Bergmann presented the 155 students for graduation.
Adriane Zachary sent her classmates off in her farewell by reminding them that they were saying goodbye to their childhood memories and were about to create new ones.
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or firstname.lastname@example.org.