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Top of the class: Moffat County grads humbly accept high-achieving honors

After four years of hard work, members of Moffat County High School’s Class of 2019 are striving to keep going for greatness in the world, and the Bulldogs who took top honors during graduation aren’t just sitting on their laurels.

While the majority of MoCo grads were decked out in decorative cords and sashes signifying membership in teams, clubs and organizations during Saturday’s ceremony, only two of the class had the distinction of top students.

Josh Teeter attained valedictorian status for the class, with Molly Neton salutatorian.

Moffat County High School Class of 2019 Honor Graduates

Valedictorian — Josh Teeter

Salutatorian — Molly Neton

Jared Baker

James Brumblow

Alyssa Chavez

Terry Gillett

Tyler Gonzales

Autumn Hilley

Caitlen Krause

Sharon Quick

Sadea Reidhead

Caitlin Running

Madie Weber

Alyssa Zimmerman

Besides boasting the highest grade point average and the medal around his neck that said as much, Teeter’s jumble of cords bespoke his academic pursuits which he has balanced in his senior year with distinctions such as co-captain of the varsity football team.

Though he wasted no time after the ceremony tossing his cap and tassel in favor of a Fox Racing hat, the valedictorian status is one he takes seriously.

“It feels good getting it, and it’s something I’ve been working for since about sixth- or seventh-grade,” he said. “It finally paid off. This whole class accomplished a lot this year. It’s been very competitive.”

Teeter said he originally planned to join the military straight out of high school, though in the past year, his interests led him to studying construction management at Colorado Mesa University this fall.

If Teeter had a lot around his neck, it’s a wonder Neton could walk with the mass of material around her gown, indicating her prowess in many activities, including choir, band, swimming and student council to name a few. A red and white tassel from Colorado Northwestern Community College also complemented her MCHS blue and white for the student who completed her associate’s degree before finishing high school.

The graduation program likewise had nearly a half-page dedicated to the many scholarships she’s received in recent months, including PEO STAR, Colorado County Clerks Association and an abundance of local sources.

The one that stuck out most was an award from Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition she took for writing bird-themed poetry for her entry.

“Everybody’s been making fun of me for that one,” she laughed.

With plans to become a pediatrician starting with pre-med at Regis University, Neton also garnered considerable funding from the college, such as a music scholarship for her proficiency on the oboe.

Neton also was the recipient of Outstanding Senior Girl as presented by teacher Amy Hansen, who greatly detailed her student’s bright future, who in turn felt very humbled heading up to the stage to accept the award.

“There were so many awesome people in this class, and I had no idea I was going to get it,” she said. “I really feel like I got set up well in Moffat County for all that, so I’m really grateful for my school and my teachers for pushing me to be as good as I could.”

For Outstanding Senior Boy, it was AJ Barber taking the honor, with an introduction by Heather Fross that detailed his love for music and sports alike, but also his down-to-earth personality.

Barber said he’s only been a full student at MCHS the past two years, a home-schooled kid before that and part of the Moffat County Shared School program.

“After my mom got a full-time job, I started public school, and I’m so glad I did,” he said.

Barber plans to study music and potentially play club hockey at Western Colorado University, and having already seen different types of classroom environments, he’s expecting a smooth transition.

“Some things will be the same, like schoolwork’s still going to be there when I get to college, but it’ll be a lot of fun meeting new people, living in a new place. Definitely going to miss all friends and family here,” he said.

Craig City Council to hear concerns on possible rehabilitation center

Craig City Council will hear from several entities during its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 28 at Craig City Hall.

Among the discussion points for the meeting are Craig Conrad addressing concerns about the potential rehabilitation center going into the former Moffat County School District administration building.

Jayne Morley will also present to councilors a funding request for Museum of Northwest Colorado and Moffat County Libraries, while Ashley Simonet of Northwest Colorado Center for Independence will give a presentation on sidewalks in Craig.

Preceding the council meeting at 3 p.m. May 28 at Moffat County Courthouse will be a joint services workshop between Moffat County and city departments.

Topics will include Loudy-Simpson Park, cemetery property, and Maybell sewage, though no formal actions will be taken by officials in attendance.

The full agendas from each meeting are below.

1A 190528a by Andy T Bockelman on Scribd

05.28.19 Joint Services Agenda FINAL by Andy T Bockelman on Scribd

Moffat County Class of 2019 keeps hope, heart, humor during graduation ceremony

Sharing thanks, enjoying some laughs, and shedding a few tears are an indicator of the emotional levels that always seem to come with Moffat County High School graduation.

And, this year was no exception.

MCHS said goodbye to 121 graduates during the annual commencement ceremony Saturday morning.

KennaLee Rowley greeted the crowd, setting the tone for hopefulness for the future, getting choked up slightly as she addressed families, friends and fellow near-graduates.

Principal Kyle York acknowledged the final group of Moffat County students he will see in his last year with the school — clad in a white robe covered with senior signatures — including the top honor students and Bulldogs bound for the military.

Likewise, Paula Duzik read off the lengthy list of scholarship recipients, noting the $68,000 coming from local sources alone.

Outgoing Student Council President Hali Reyes and Vice President Terry Gillett announced the 2019 class gift, which will be twofold: a new mural on the school grounds and a new set of furniture for the common area.

Following was the presentation of the awards for Outstanding Senior Boy and Girl.

In presenting the former, teacher Heather Fross noted the recipient’s range of talent from music to multiple sports. But, one character trait stuck out.

“The most inspiring thing about this young man is his kindness,” she said. “He reminded me how powerful kindness can be. He reminded me that kindness, when done repeatedly, has the power to improve the entire school and community.”

Fross went on to announce AJ Barber as the award winner, bringing him up to the stage to thunderous applause.

In introducing the senior girl honoree, Amy Hansen said the academic acumen of Molly Neton shows just how far she’ll go, including a masterful writing style Hansen described as “thoughtful, insightful, clever and clear” on top of her multitude of pursuits with a knack for all-around learning.

“To say this young lady is a sponge for knowledge would be a disservice,” Hansen said. “A sponge is passive, it soaks up what’s around it and after that the best it can do is squeeze it back out. This young lady is anything but passive as a learner. She seeks opportunities to improve and challenge herself so she can grow into the best person she can possibly be.”

Caroline Riley followed with the commencement address, noting her classmates’ diversity of interests and personalities as adding something new to the group that had spent so many years together.

“You are just one addition to this beautiful world, and I hope you understand that your differences are what make this life worth exploring,” she said.

Riley and numerous other seniors clad in cap and gown joined the MCHS choir for the a cappella rendition of Z. Randall Stroope’s “Let Your Heart Be Staid” before hustling back for the main event as they took to the stage for the diplomas and tassel turn they and the audience were all awaiting.

Air horns, confetti and cell phone cameras held aloft celebrated the processional.

No sooner was all said and done, caps tossed in the air, before Sambu Shrestha got the crowd going again with an emotional farewell address.

“We’ve made some amazing memories along the way, and it wouldn’t be possible without the people we’ve had supporting us,” he said.

Shrestha lauded MoCo teachers for their inspiration, support and patience, as well as class parents for their encouragement and love.

“Finally, thank you to the students of Moffat County High School for being a helping hand to each other when we couldn’t find one. For making the worst moments into the funniest jokes and sticking it out and making each other proud,” he said.

Exiting the gym to the upbeat tone of the class song — Smash Mouth’s “All Star” — the young adults who started the day as students walked onto the school lawn, already having singer Steve Harwell’s lyrics in mind, namely “get the show on, get paid.”

For Colton Lodato, that means joining up with the US Army, with multiple motivations including a sense of duty, the career stability and the chance to see the globe.

Still, as much he wants to experience the wider world, he’ll miss the small scale of Craig.

“I love the ability to just walk around here and enjoy it, all the color,” he said. “Everybody knows everybody.”

For Ebawnee Smercina, the next stop of adulthood will be Chadron State College, joining her older brother Eddie in Nebraska, with plans to get a degree in science education.

She credited MCHS teachers Amy Hansen and Clayton Trevenen with instilling an interest in passing on knowledge to the next generation.

“Those two really helped me along the way. I’m really gonna miss them,” she said. “It’s a good feeling knowing I’m growing up and moving on.”

Pedro Romero plans to study close to home at Colorado Northwestern Community College, though the prospect of saying goodbye to many of his friends and classmates was already hitting him hard Saturday after the ceremony.

“It’s hard knowing we won’t see each other every other day. I’ve known them since elementary school, I’ve grown up with them,” he said.

Reyes will spend the fall at University of Tennessee, which she expects will be a bit of culture shock. Although, the Southern humidity will be the big concern.

“Hopefully, they have air conditioning,” she chuckled.

Reyes is confident she’ll look back fondly on her time in Moffat County, but she’s already focused on the future.

“I have a lot of hope for myself and where life takes me,” she said. “Right now, I’m just thinking, ‘go with the flow, trust your gut.'”

19 photos of Moffat County Class of 2019 graduation caps

As part of Moffat County High School’s Class of 2019 graduation ceremony, outgoing students took the opportunity to express their creativity, honor their past and look to the future atop their mortarboards.

Whether it was flowers, sports nostalgia, inspirational quotes, pop culture characters or an Instagram account’s worth of beloved photos, many students went the distance.

For sisters Aliceson and Kamryn Jones, their plans to be paired together in seating backfired when they were placed in separate rows. Still, the sentiment remained the same as the two used “Toy Story” stars Buzz Lightyear and Woody with the quote “So long, partner.”

“We’ve been together our whole lives, and now we’re going to different colleges,” Kamryn said, adding she’ll be attending Colorado State University in Fort Collins, with Aliceson headed to Greeley’s University of Northern Colorado.

“We’ll only be about 30 minutes apart,” Aliceson noted.

More than one cap paid tribute to “The Office.”

While Ebawnee Smercina’s cap highlighted Steve Carell’s Michael Scott, Emily Magruder and Jerzey Landa’s caps were nearly identical to each other, blending the sitcom with their own lives, both featuring character Kelly Kapoor with a photo of Magruder on Landa’s cap and vice-versa.

Kelsey Stauffer’s artwork was inspired by a design she saw on Pinterest, coming together as a bundle of sharp geometric shapes, shimmering with gold and black glitter, as well as Bulldog blue and white.

“I thought it’d be good to have the school colors,” she laughed.

Kaleb Younger took inspiration from Vincent Van Gogh to paint the top of his cap, the royal blue of which was just a shade off from the sky in the necktie he was wearing to complete the ensemble.

“I’m a really big art nerd,” he said.

The small masterpiece that sat on his head through the ceremony was an indication of where he hopes go after high school, possibly pursuing an art program in China.

“It’s a long-term and short-term plan. I just want to do it as soon as possible,” he said.

Moffat County High School Class of 2019 Graduation: Wall of Fame

Best All Around: AJ Barber, Madison Weber 

Class Clown: Carter Severson, Jerzey Landa 

Life of the Party: Carter Ogden, Hannah Gariner 

Most Changed: Grady Anson, Caroline Riley 

Most Likely to Succeed: Tyler Gonzales, Molly Neton 

Biggest Flirt: Victor Silva, Trinitie Beckner  

Bookworm: Johnny Macks, Caitlen Krause  

Most Athletic: Cale Scranton, Quinn Pinnt 

Cutest Couple: Joahan Quezada, Alyssa Zimmerman  

Best Dressed: Tyler Gonzales, Jaidyn Steele 

Drama Queen/King: Connor Murphy, Bailey Lawton  

Most Kind: Hunter Petree, Terry Gillett 

Most Likely to be a Social Media Star: Brad Cook, Kinlie Brennise 

Most Likely to Fall Asleep at Graduation: Jad Nunez, Jackie Barraza 

Best Bromance: Jared Baker, Josh Teeter 

Best Girlmance: Ebawnee Smercina, Terry Gillett 

Most Likely to be a Superhero: Derek Powers, Autumn Hilley 

Best Smile: Angel Rodriguez, Ebawnee Smercina  

Worst Driver: Levi Fox, Katelynn Turner 

Mr. and Mrs. School Spirit: Sambu Shrestha, Alyssa Chavez 

Lauren Dodd/for Craig Press
Moffat County High School Seniors Bailey Lawton were less than thrilled to be voted “Drama Queen and King” for the class of 2019 student awards.

Lauren Dodd/for Craig Press
Mr. and Mrs. School Spirit, Sambu Shrestha and Alyssa Chavez, celebrate their new titles awarded by their fellow Moffat County High School class of 2019 seniors.

School Spirit
Lauren Dodd/for Craig Press
Moffat County High School senior Derek Powers shows off the reason why he was named “Most Likely to be a Superhero” by his class of 2019 peers.

Lauren Dodd/for Craig Press
Moffat County High School seniors Angel Alcantar, left, and Ebawnee Smercina showcase the facial feature that awarded them “Best Smile” by their class of 2019 peers.

Lauren Dodd/for Craig Press
Best friends since their freshman year, Moffat County High School seniors Terry Gillett, top, and Ebawnee Smercina, weren’t extra surprised when their class of 2019 peers awarded them with the title “Best Girlmance.”

Lauren Dodd/for Craig Press
Moffat County High School seniors Jad Nunez, bottom, and Jackie Barraza take a nap after being voted “Most Likely to Fall Asleep at Graduation” by their class of 2019 peers.

Lauren Dodd/for Craig Press
Moffat County High School seniors Terry Gillett, left, and Hunter Petree celebrate being voted “Most Kind” by their class of 2019 peers.

most kind 2
Lauren Dodd/for Craig Press
Moffat County High School seniors Alyssa Zimmerman, left, and Joahan Quezada were thrilled to be dubbed “Cutest Couple” by their class of 2019 peers.

Lauren Dodd/for Craig Press
Moffat County High School seniors Quinn Pinnt, left, and Cale Scranton were voted “Most Athletic” by their class of 2019 peers.

Lauren Dodd/for Craig Press
Moffat County High School seniors Trinitie Beckner, left, and Victor Silva were awarded the titles of “Biggest Flirt” by their class of 2019 peers.

Lauren Dodd/for Craig Press
Moffat County High School seniors Caroline Riley, left, and Grady Anson were voted “Most Changed” by their class of 2019 peers.

Most changed
Lauren Dodd/for Craig Press
Moffat County High School seniors Carter Ogden, left, and Hannah Gariner were voted “Life of the Party” by their class of 2019 peers.

Lauren Dodd/for Craig Press
Moffat County High School seniors Caitlen Krause, left, and Johnny Macks look up from their books to learn they were awarded the “Book Worm” title by their class of 2019 peers.

Book worm
Lauren Dodd/for Craig Press
Moffat County High School seniors Molly Neton, left, and Tyler Gonzales are determined to live up to the “Most Likely to Succeed” title awarded to them by their class of 2019 peers.

Lauren Dodd/for Craig Press
Moffat County High School seniors Jerzey Landa, left, and Carter Severson, right, dubbed “Class Clowns” by their 2019 peers, have a little fun with 10th grade English teacher Brian Powell.

Lauren Dodd/for Craig Press
Moffat County High School seniors and good friends Jared Baker, left, and Josh Teeter joked that they didn’t understand why they were voted “Best Bromance” by their class of 2019 peers.

Lauren Dodd/for Craig Press
Moffat County High School seniors Madison Weber, left, and A.J. Barber were voted “Best All Around” by their class of 2019 peers.

All Around
Lauren Dodd/for Craig Press
Moffat County High School seniors Tyler Gonzales, left, and Jaidyn Steele were voted “Best Dressed” by their class of 2019 peers.

Best Dressed
Lauren Dodd/for Craig Press
Moffat County High School seniors Brad Cook, left, and Kinlie Brennise were voted “Most Likely to be a Social Media Star” by their class of 2019 peers.

Social Media

Moffat County Class of 2019 Graduation: Following in family footsteps toward future

This year, a handful of Moffat County High School graduates are setting out to carry on the family tradition. From business to education, these students plan to follow in the footsteps their parents and in some cases, grandparents and great-grandparents.  

Grady Anson 

For a young man who likes being outside and has a natural instinct for hard work, a career in construction seems like an obvious fit. This rings true all the more for Grady Anson, who’s grown up in the local business run by his parents, Anson Excavating. 

Mike and Mardi Anson started Anson Excavating 21 years ago, offering Grady his first job his freshman year of high school. Since then Grady has played many roles, from laborer to surveyor to now, earning his commercial driver’s license.  

“Grady is a very hard worker. He has this sixth sense of what comes next,” said his mother, Mardi Anson. “Our boys, they’ve grown up on a ranch and they know how to run equipment. They have grown up learning how to work… We seem to fit family into work.” 

For the last two years, Grady has finished school at 2 p.m. each day on early release so he could go to work. For fun, the Ansons also raise and show draft horses, a pastime that involves, of course, more work. 

Grady plans to attend Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction in the fall to study construction management with a certificate in surveying. Though he started out wanting to become a mechanic, more experience on the job sparked his interest in earning the four-year degree. 

“The surveying is probably what I’m most interested in,” Grady said. “I’ll probably come back and help Dad out, and if I get a chance, maybe work somewhere else to learn how someone else runs a company.” 

Brad Cook 

From the time Brad Cook was a little boy sitting in the kitchen pantry trying to sell soda to his parents, he knew he wanted to be a businessman.  

“I want to say it’s almost genetic,” he said. “I remember ever since I was young, I was interested in business… I could never see myself in anything but business.” 

Whether it’s nature or nurture, Brad indeed comes from a line of successful businessmen — his grandfather started Cook Chevrolet in Craig 54 years ago, a dealership now run by his father, Scott Cook. Brad has been working in the business since 2013 and will begin his first season on the sales floor this summer, setting off in the fall to earn a business degree from Colorado Mesa University.  

“I definitely would like to be in the family business, but with a business degree, the possibilities are pretty endless,” Brad said. 

Though Brad brings a much-needed savvy with technology to the dealership — he helps keep up the website and social media in addition to working on the wash racks — Scott Cook encourages both of his sons, including Brad’s older brother, Brent, to take their time in deciding what they want to do with their lives. 

“The biggest thing is they need to go experience some of the world and they need to get an education,” Scott said. “The world is changing fast and they need to be a lot smarter than I am.” 

But amid all the changes, it’s his dad’s work ethic that has left a big impression on Brad. 

“How much time he puts in after this many years still, his dedication,” Brad said. “He’s here the earliest and leaves the latest. I don’t know how to put it in words, he’s just a good role model. Cars are in my blood.” 

Trinity Schenck 

Coming from a long line of teachers including her mom, aunt, grandmother and great-grandparents, Trinity Schenck always knew she wanted to be a teacher. That is, until she decided she wanted to study psychology and become a school counselor instead.  

“My free times were spent in school with my mom, so I grew up in that setting,” Trinity said. “But I had a not-so-great experience with my middle school counselors when I was having a hard time, so I just wanted to be the person to show students that you actually do care and that their voices do matter, that if they’re hurting in school or personal life, someone truly is there to listen.” 

She hasn’t waivered from her plan since that moment, using her high school years to take every class she could in psychology and sociology as a concurrent enrollment student at Colorado Northwestern Community College. The ambitious senior will enter the University of Northern Colorado as a second-semester sophomore with 46 transfer credits.  

There, she plans to obtain a bachelors degree in psychology followed by a double masters in school psychology and counseling.  

“This year she just blossomed,” said her mother, Krista Schenck, a business, marketing and technology teacher at MCHS. “She’s taking care of deadlines and she’s organized and she’s so excited about planning and taking care of her future… I think she’s wicked excited for the next adventure.” 

Moffat County Class of 2019 Graduation: Tyler Gonzales keeps level head in chaos with full-time job

Some students are choosing to chart their own course after graduation, bucking the conventional path of college or trade school, but with no less ambition than their degree-seeking peers.  

Moffat County High School senior Tyler Gonzales is one such student, who has chosen to dive into a full-time job at Chaos Ink after graduating and feed his passion for design and entrepreneurialism.  

“I started working here last May and I just really fell in love with screen-printing,” Gonzales said. “It’s refreshing to come to work every day and not always know what you’re going to be faced with. I have also always wanted to start up a clothing brand which I’m actually doing now.” 

Though Gonzales said he’s done well in school, he just never really enjoyed it. 

“I like to learn things that I, myself, am passionate about but being forced to sit in class and learn about things I don’t care about was kind of tough for me,” Gonzales said. “I thought, if I want to be my own boss and go the entrepreneurial route, I could teach myself those things.” 

Gonzales has proven to be a valuable addition to the Chaos Ink team, said owner Jeremy Browning, who employs nine full-time staff.  

“The work we do here is really detail-heavy and it can be overwhelming sometimes,” Browning said. “What’s really nice about Tyler is if I give him something… I can walk away and know it’s going to be handled. He’s super good like that.” 

Gonzales has spent his first year on the job doing a wide variety of tasks: burning screens, assisting the press operator, printing on the manual press, handling logistical issues and delivering orders. 

“He’s kind of a jack-of-all-trades,” Browning said. “It’s a really good trade to have. It makes you better at whatever else you have to do. It’s one of those unforgiving things: once you put ink on something, it’s done, there’s no going back.” 

For Gonzales, the fast pace and demanding nature of the work are good training.  

“I think one of the most valuable things I’ve learned is always being able to adapt and kind of assess challenges as they come at you, not getting bogged down by those challenges and instead facing them head-on, and understanding that it really is chaos sometimes,” he said. “You kind of have to roll with the punches and make things work.” 

Gonzales plans to stay on the job for at least a year and then move to Denver. He’s in the midst of launching his streetwear brand, named “The Uns,” for being uncommon, unorthodox, unique and “not always going down the path that people expect you to,” he explained. 

For Browning, he’s glad to have Gonzales on board as his business grows. 

“I think it’s cool that a local kid that’s really on the ball is sticking around and being part of what I want to build here,” Browning said. “I’m trying to build something big. I hope to be twice as big in the next five years, and local talent is what I hope will get me to the next level.” 

Moffat County Class of 2019 Graduation: Bulldogs ready to serve in armed forces

The Craig Press caught up with six Moffat County High School grads who have enlisted in the military after graduation. We wanted to know a little more about their hopes and dreams, and what inspired them to serve their country. Here’s what they had to say: 

Logan Knez, U.S. Army 

What inspired you to enlist? 

It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a little kid. My grandpa was in the Army and his dad was in the Army. 

What are your aspirations?  

I hope to make a career out of it, I look forward to seeing the world, having adventures that most people don’t have, and just kind of experience things as they come along.  

What job are you signed up for? 

Joint fire support specialist (MOS 13F). Basically what that means is I’m going to be a forward observer for the artillery… The big cannons, they can shoot like 30 miles but can’t see their targets where they’re shooting, so my job is to go out with a ground unit and call in the fire and tell them where to shoot, and whether they’re hitting (the target) or not. I’ll also have the ability to call in planes for airstrikes and naval fire off of gunships and tank fire. So I’ll be in an artillery unit but will probably be attached to an infantry unit to be able to provide the artillery support for them. It’s a combat job. 

What are you most excited about in joining the military? 

The adventure.

What are you most nervous about, if anything? 

I’m not nervous about anything, I’m more excited about it. It’s all going to be challenging. That’s a big thing for me: I like new challenges and facing them. I’m ready. 

When and where do you start basic training? 

I’ll leave June 3 for basic training in Fort Sill in Oklahoma. 

Colton Lodato, U.S. Army 

What inspired you to enlist? 

A lot of my family has been enlisted, so I figured why not, it’d be fun. My sister was in and she just got out. My aunt is still in and my grandpa was in, all of them in the Army. 

What are your aspirations?  

I’m hoping to make a career out of it but I will get a college degree in construction management for a backup plan. You can start a college degree right after you finish basic training. They have professors that come to the base and you go to class after 5:00. And you get paid while doing it.  

What job are you signed up for? Infantry for airborne rangers. Airborne means jumping out of planes and the Army Rangers is kind of like a special forces. They do a lot of traveling. 

What are you most excited about in joining the military? 

The travel and something new. 

What are you most nervous about, if anything? 

The running. For basic, (you have to run) two miles in under 13 minutes. And for the job I picked, it’s five miles in 45 minutes.  

When and where do you start basic training? 

I start July 22 at Fort Benning, Georgia.  

Connor Murphy, U.S. Air Force 

What inspired you to enlist?  

Both my great grandfathers fought in the world wars and Vietnam, so I just wanted to follow in their footsteps… (My parents) say I have the same smile as them.  

What are your aspirations?  

My ultimate goal is to make a career out of it. I’m going to start out with four years and maybe transfer to another field. I’m also going to get my associate’s degree done while I’m serving.  

What job are you signed up for?  

There was a lot of competition for the medical field jobs in the Air Force, so I’ll do security forces for four years.  

What are you most excited about?  

Meeting new people and seeing the world. I’ll get to go to some places I’ve never been before. 
What are you most nervous about, if anything?  

You’re on their time, you know, so you don’t really get much say about what you want to do. I’m just nervous about some of the things I might not be comfortable with, but it’s kind of your job to do that because it makes you strong and makes you prepared. 

When and where do you start basic training?  

August 12 at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. 

Anything else you want to add?  

I’ve always wanted to serve my country and have fun and figure out what I want to do with my life. Instead of going to college and being in debt, I’m going to go serve my country and get educated.  

Angel Rodriguez, U.S. Marine Corps 

What inspired you to enlist? 

When I was little, I used to play with little toy soldiers. I guess it was an interest of mine since I was a kid, and it was always the Marines because of the cool uniforms. By about my eighth-grade year, friends would ask, “What are your plans for the future?” and I said I’m going to join the Marines and I stuck with it through high school. 

What are your aspirations?  

I’m really interested in traveling and getting to know the world better, and I hope to get a career out of it. But I’m going to do my first four years and depending on how well that goes, (my decision) will be based off of that. 

What job are you signed up for? Either an accountant or an airplane mechanic. I’m really interested in looking into being a pilot but I know you have to (serve) eight years, so I want to start off from the bottom and go from there.  

What are you most excited about in joining the military? 

I’m really excited about getting to know people. Part of it is getting out of Craig and meeting new people and new places and just being a part of it.

What are you most nervous about, if anything? 

If anything I’m really nervous about the drill instructors. I’ve met a couple and they’re not as bad as I thought. But you definitely get screamed at. I’m kind of terrified of those guys, but we’ll see how it goes.  

When and where do you start basic training? I leave Aug. 19 for boot camp in Camp Pendleton near San Diego.  

Any family in the military?  

No, I’m the first one to join. My mom is very supportive. 

Carter Severson, U.S. Army 

What inspired you to enlist? 

I have a lot of family that’s been in the military and I guess I just always wanted to enlist. I’d say around middle school I knew for sure. 

What are your aspirations?  

If everything goes according to plan, I’d stay in for 20 years. It would be really cool to see the world too. 

What are you most excited about in joining the military?  

Probably the friendships I’ll make. 
What are you most nervous about, if anything? 

I’m not really nervous just more excited. Well, for basic, it will probably be the heat because it will be down in Georgia.  

When and where do you start basic training? 

I’ll leave June 3 for Fort Benning, Georgia. 

Any family in the military? 

I had an uncle, grandpa, great grandpa, and my cousin is in right now. My grandparents were Army and my cousin is a Marine.  

Rachel Witt, U.S. Navy 

What inspired you to enlist? 

Mostly my brother. He was in the Army and he went on a tour in Iraq. He left when I was pretty little, but it always struck me as something I wanted to do, to follow in his footsteps. 

What are your aspirations?  

I’m going in for five years and I’ll be an aviation structural mechanic. I’ll have the opportunity to fly if I want to, and that’s been a big dream of mine, to fly. And when I get out, I’ll be able to use the GI Bill to study nutrition. I think it would be a really cool career to get into and help people. 

What are you most excited about in joining the military? 

I think to travel and just see the world and be able to gain a lot of job experience.

What are you most nervous about, if anything? 

I think just not knowing how everything’s going to go. I think that’s pretty nerve-wracking but overall, I’m just super excited.  

When and where do you start basic training? 

I ship out July 15 and I’ll be in Chicago. 

Any other family in the military? 

My grandpa is an Army veteran and also my uncle as well.

Editor’s Note: MCHS graduates Wyatt Johnson and Greg Hixson will also be serving in the military but were unavailable to interview for this story.

Rio Blanco Old Timer’s Reunion takes place June 1

MEEKER — Rio Blanco County Pioneer’s Association will host the 107th annual Old Timer’s Reunion Dinner and Dance Saturday, June 1 at Meeker’s Freeman Fairfield Community Center, 200 Main Street.

The 2019 theme is “Grandma’s Kitchen,” and the event includes a catered dinner, along with live music by the Mainline Band.

Participants may also join in the digital video “Capturing our Culture” oral history documentation program conducted by the Rio Blanco County Historical Society.

Organizers ask participants to register by May 31 to join the festivities.  Class and family reunions are encouraged.

“Do not miss this great and historic annual tradition to join classmates, family and friends and reminisce, dance and share memories,” said the news release from Rio Blanco County Pioneer’s Association.

Participants may register online at rbcpioneers.org or print out a mail-in registration form and find other details about the event.

For more information, e-mail registrar@rbcpioneers.org or call 970-942-7100.

Moffat County Class of 2019 Graduation: Future Farmers of America reap big rewards for hard work, dedication

This year’s crop of Future Farmers of America students boasted an impressive number of high-achieving seniors, who capped off their high school careers earlier this month with a final state competition.  

Among a slate of gold, silver and bronze finishers, two motivated seniors — Zach Patterson and Bryson Davis — went above and beyond to obtain their state FFA degrees. 

“It’s the highest award the state can bestow on an FFA member,” said Moffat County High School teacher and advisor Brett Miller.  

Obtaining the degree is no small feat, Miller explained, as students must demonstrate their commitment to work, service, FFA involvement, academics and even financial management. 

Students are required to productively invest $3,000 in income they earned themselves. As with the entire FFA program, the degree highlights students’ preparedness for life after school.  

“I think so many students get caught up in wanting immediate gain and immediate results. And so many students in high school don’t realize that going that extra mile sets you up for more success down the road,” Miller said.  

Besides earning his state degree, Davis completed an extensive application to earn a proficiency award in goat production and was named this year’s state winner. He raises and shows goats as well as making and selling dairy products with his goat milk. 

His overall dedication even earned him a spot on the 2019 statewide nominating committee, responsible for electing the next slate of state FFA officers. 

“FFA and my ag classes have all taught me life lessons,” Davis said. “I think it preps you for the future a lot more than regular classes.” 

With its emphasis on career and real world preparation, FFA also teaches students leadership and people skills, public speaking and self-sufficiency.  

“I’ve been able to learn a lot about what’s going to be coming up in the real world,” Patterson said. “FFA has definitely taught me leadership. I’m not going to follow others, I’m making my own path and being my own person. I’d say that’s my biggest takeaway from FFA.” 

Two other high achievers amongst this year’s FFA seniors come as a pair: twins Kamryn and Aliceson Jones, who both earned gold placement individually and as a team at this year’s state event, competing as part of the four-person floriculture team. 

“I feel I’ve grown a lot throughout FFA, not just with leadership but also how to communicate better with others,” Kamryn said. 

Both she and her sister have been involved in FFA since they were freshman.  

“They do so much more than just FFA. They both have jobs after school, Key Club, Young Life, but they made FFA a priority no matter what they had going on,” said MCHS teacher and adviser Shelby Massey. 

Gold individual Logan Knez, whose Agriculture Technical and Mechanical Skills Team placed high silver overall, also juggled a lot of commitments. 

“Logan’s been one of those kids, he’s always willing to jump in, roll his sleeves up and get things done. He’s very dedicated,” said MCHS teacher and adviser Rick Murr.  

Murr added many of his students are humble, down-to-earth kids ready to work. 

“There are people that will tell you how good they are and there are people that are going to roll their sleeves up and let their actions speak for themselves,” he said. 

With some big accomplishments and dedicated training under their belts, this year’s FFA seniors are certainly ready for action as they launch into their futures.

Moffat County FFA

Where they’re headed next 

Bryson Davis: Attending University of Northern Colorado to pursue a bachelors degree in exercise science with a possible minor in dietary nutrition, followed by a masters and doctorate in physical therapy. 

Kamryn Jones: Attending Colorado State University to pursue a bachelors degree in animal science with a minor in zoology.  

Aliceson Jones: Attending UNC with an interest in medicine.  

Logan Knez: Enlisting in the U.S. Army as a joint fire support specialist. 

Zach Patterson: Enrolling in the Western Colorado Community College Electric Lineworker program in Grand Junction. 

2019 State FFA Career Development Event Results 

 Floriculture: Gold Team 

Autumn Hilley – Gold Individual 

Kamryn Jones – Gold Individual 

Aliceson Jones – Gold Individual 

Kimber Wheeler – Gold Individual 

 Farm Business Management: Bronze Team 

Connor Murphy 

Meredith Kopsa – Bronze Individual 

Grady Anson – Silver Individual 

Lacey Wiseman 

Meat Evaluation: High Silver Team 

Chris Hill – Silver Individual 

Maddie Coutts – Silver Individual 

Blake Duncan – High Bronze Individual 

Makayla Martinez 

Horse Evaluation: Second High Bronze Team 

Emily Howe – Gold Individual 

Payton Voloshin – Silver Individual 

Rebekah Shingleton 

Vet Science: 3rd High Bronze Team 

Tara Brumblow – Silver Individual 

Bryson Davis – Bronze Individual 

Lauryn Jones – Bronze Individual 

Alexis Blomquist 

Agriculture Technical and Mechanical Skills: High Silver Team 

Logan Knez – Gold Individual 

Tauren Farquharson – Bronze Individual 

Zach Patterson – Bronze Individual 

Jentry Bacon  

Livestock Evaluation: 

Reina Steele – Silver Individual 

Torin Gray  

Trinity Boulger