On the left, Myranda Lyons, left, and her son, Hunter Roberts, 14, stand Saturday outside Moffat County High School. Today Roberts started the next chapter in his life as a member of the Moffat County High School class of 2016. On the right, Ken Harjes, right, and his daughter, Caitlin, pause for a photo Saturday at Moffat County High School. Today marks the first day of Caitlin’s junior year, which has both father and daughter thinking about the next step, college.

Photo by Joe Moylan

On the left, Myranda Lyons, left, and her son, Hunter Roberts, 14, stand Saturday outside Moffat County High School. Today Roberts started the next chapter in his life as a member of the Moffat County High School class of 2016. On the right, Ken Harjes, right, and his daughter, Caitlin, pause for a photo Saturday at Moffat County High School. Today marks the first day of Caitlin’s junior year, which has both father and daughter thinking about the next step, college.

Beginnings and ends

Moffat County High School students prepare for the first day of school

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Local mother prepares for son’s next chapter as MCHS freshman

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Myranda Lyons, left, and her son, Hunter Roberts, 14, stand Saturday outside Moffat County High School. Today Roberts started the next chapter in his life as a member of the Moffat County High School class of 2016.

Quotable

“I’m kind of torn. I’m very excited for him, I think it’s going to be a great opportunity, but I do have some reservations about how fast he’s growing up. He’s just growing up too fast.”

— Myranda Lyons about her son, Hunter Roberts, and his first day as a student at Moffat County High School

The first day of high school marks one of the more significant milestones in a young person’s life.

It’s a day indicative of fresh experiences, new opportunities, increased responsibility and a broader sense of independence to come.

Today Hunter Roberts, 14, begins the next chapter of his life as a member of Moffat County High School’s class of 2016.

Though the first day of high school can incite a variety of feelings ranging from anxiety to excitement, Roberts appeared Saturday to be taking the new change in stride.

It’s a sense of confidence that comes with living in a small town.

“I’m excited because it’s something different, something new,” Roberts said. “I already know a lot of the big kids, so I know they’ve got my back.”

But high school isn’t solely about the kids.

As the oldest of three children, Roberts’ first day at MCHS also marks a new beginning for his parents, Bo and Myranda Lyons.

“He’s getting older,” Myranda said. “He’s our oldest child and he’s the first one attending high school, so it’s going to be a new experience for all of us.”

Though excited about her son’s journey, Myranda admits she has approached the first day of the school year with slight trepidation.

It’s a sense of anxiety common among parents, particularly mothers, Lyons said.

High school seems to officially start the clock — ticking down to that day when Roberts will inevitably set out into the world on his own.

“I’m kind of torn,” she said. “I’m very excited for him, I think it’s going to be a great opportunity, but I do have some reservations about how fast he’s growing up. He’s just growing up too fast.”

But Myranda is quick to keep herself from dwelling too much on the future, preferring instead to sit back and admire the way her son is already beginning to chart his own path.

“I’m not really concerned about him managing his classes, friends or anything like that,” Myranda said. “It’s a new step in his life and he needs to achieve as much as he can in high school, so he can go on to the next step of college.”

Ken, Caitlin Harjes weighing options for life after MCHS

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Ken Harjes, right, and his daughter, Caitlin, pause for a photo Saturday at Moffat County High School. Today marks the first day of Caitlin’s junior year, which has both father and daughter thinking about the next step, college.

Quotable

“Obviously, I’m not looking forward to her leaving, which may be different from a lot of fathers because she’s my only child. I want her to go on, obviously. I don’t want her to stay in Craig just to keep us (her mother and father) happy.”

— Ken Harjes about her daughter, Caitlin’s, looming college departure

Some say the junior year of high school is the toughest.

It’s arguably the most scrutinized year by college recruiters and the first opportunity for students throughout the country to familiarize themselves with the SAT and ACT.

It’s also the year many Craig students begin to think about life after Moffat County High School.

MCHS junior Caitlin Harjes, 16, is in the midst of that transitional period.

Though still two years away from beginning her college career, Harjes realizes now is the time to at least begin writing the outline for the next major chapter of her life.

And she’s starting by taking full advantage of all of the opportunities that come with being an MCHS upper classman.

“I’m nervous to get it done. I don’t really want to graduate, but there are also times when I just want to get out of here, go find something to do and figure out my life,” Harjes said. “I’m excited to start my junior year because I’m going to be able to do a lot more at school and have a lot more opportunities, but it’s going to be very nerve wracking and very hectic.”

In addition to classes, Harjes stays active with music, plays in the MCHS band, sits on student council, plays on the girl’s golf team and plans to audition for this year’s school musical.

It’s a robust schedule, but Harjes says extracurricular activities have played a key role in her success at MCHS thus far.

She highly recommends incoming freshmen try as much as possible during their first year of high school.

“The biggest thing is don’t be nervous, and don’t be afraid to get out there and try a bunch of different stuff,” Harjes said. “That’s what I’m trying to do and it is kind of hard (to strike a balance between classes and extracurricular activities), but it’s worthwhile in the end.”

Though Myranda Lyons noted watching a child grow up is more often than not tougher on mothers than it is on fathers (see related story about MCHS freshman Hunter Roberts), Harjes’ father, Ken, said his daughter’s imminent college departure is not far from his mind either.

“Obviously, I’m not looking forward to her leaving, which may be different from a lot of fathers because she’s my only child,” Ken said. “I want her to go on, obviously. I don’t want her to stay in Craig just to keep us (her mother and father) happy.”

Ken says his daughter seems the happiest and most comfortable performing in front of a crowd, which has Harjes interested in attending New York University if she decides not to attend a Colorado state school.

And as a former MCHS educator, Hinsdale, Ill., native, and a graduate of the University of Illinois, Ken wants his daughter to go wherever she believes will afford her the best education possible.

“I always told kids when I was here teaching that a campus is important, but you have to go to a college that provides the education you want,” he said. “If you don’t want to live in the cornfields of Illinois, that’s fine, but if it gets you the education you want then you will have the background and the rest of your life to go and do whatever it is that you want to do.

“As much as we don’t want her to go far away, I personally want her to be happy and do what she’s got to do, wherever that takes her. And if that’s NYU, then her mother and I will just have to buy a couple of plane tickets every year to see her.”

Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or jmoylan@craigdailypress.com.

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