Mackenzi Griffin poses for a photo outside of the Moffat County High School gym after graduation.

Photo by Mary Austin

Mackenzi Griffin poses for a photo outside of the Moffat County High School gym after graduation.

‘We can do anything’: MCHS seniors turn new chapter at graduation ceremony Saturday

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Moffat County High School Graduation


Quotable

“We can do anything. Class of 2012, rise to the challenges. Never doubt yourself.”

— John Kirk, Moffat County High School senior, to his classmates at Saturday’s MCHS graduation

In front of an audience of nearly 3,000 people, Moffat County High School senior John Kirk issued a challenge to his classmates.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the Class of 2012, do not let the fire die,” he said, his words echoing through the MCHS gym. “Continue to perform and raise the bar.

“We can do anything. Class of 2012, rise to the challenges. Never doubt yourself.”

Kirk was one of three graduating seniors who addressed the MCHS Class of 2012 during a graduation ceremony Saturday.

In light of his words, the piece the MCHS choir performed immediately after his speech seemed fitting. The title: “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

The ceremony marked a milestone for the 121 seniors who received diplomas.

A crowd that filled nearly every available space in the bleachers applauded as the students walked across the stage and turned their tassels.

The program included scholarship presentations, recognition of retiring MCHS teachers, and a standing ovation for the graduates who will serve in the military.

Teachers also announced Kirstie McPherson and Ryan Zehner as the 2012 outstanding seniors.

The annual award recognizes academic achievement as well as civic involvement and other activities outside the classroom.

MCHS science teacher Amber Clark lauded McPherson as an “exceptional leader” and rightly judged by her peers as the graduate most likely to “take over the world,” she said.

She also recalled times spent with McPherson, both in and outside of class.

“She’s very dear to me,” Clark said through her tears.

McPherson wasn’t expecting to receive the award, she said after the ceremony.

“I’m honored,” she said. “I really am. I’m glad that I made an impact.”

Zehner leaves MCHS with an impressive speech and debate record that includes being the first student in MCHS history to triple-qualify for a National Forensic League national tournament, said Casey Kilpatrick, an MCHS English teacher and the school’s speech and debate coach.

“In short, this person isn’t just another student who walks through the door of room 205,” Kilpatrick said. “He’s a young man who constantly reminds me why I do what I do. He’s an inspiration.”

Receiving the recognition was “a good culmination of my high school (career), to have someone tell you that you’ve accomplished something,” Zehner said later.

As the ceremony neared its close, Schnellinger said the words his students were waiting to hear.

“Graduates, please rise,” he said.

On cue, rows of students dressed in blue and white gowns rose to their feet.

Senior Brittany Madigan concluded the ceremony with words of encouragement.

“Today’s the day our lives begin,” she said. “Today, we become citizens of the world.”

Although what lies ahead may be uncertain, the graduates’ task now is “to take on life and to take on love, to take on the responsibility and possibility,” she said.

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