Grand County high school graduation: Class of 2008 |

Grand County high school graduation: Class of 2008

Saturday night, friends and family were hugging and laughing, crying and posing for photos. They looked back with pride at years of accomplishment and looking forward with hope for the future. They were all gathered in the gymnasium of Middle Park High School in Granby for a ceremony to celebrate the graduation of the class of 2008 ” 88 students in all.

This year’s graduating class was one of the smallest in recent years at Middle Park High.

Principal Dale Fleming opened the ceremony by saying it was a time for all those present to “celebrate the accomplishments of our students” who had “worked hard to be where they are.” He challenged the graduates to “use their talents and gifts” to improve their own lives, as well as the lives of others. He also asked them to “be open to life’s opportunities” and to work to “achieve great things.”

Superintendent Robb Rankin, whose son Nick was among the graduates, said he “echoed Mr. Fleming’s words” about taking pride in the graduates’ accomplishments. He described Saturday’s graduation ceremony as the “culminating activity” for most of the Class of 2008 who completed 13 years of education from preschool through high school in the East Grand School District.

The commencement ceremony’s main speaker was Middle Park High School science teacher Sam Crane who was chosen for the honor by the Class of 2008.

In his remarks, Crane said his message to the graduates was to “make your name stand for something” by living lives of responsibility, honesty, integrity and caring. He said, by earning their high school diploma, they had already taken a major step in “building a name for themselves” by demonstrating the motivation and perservance to accomplish that goal. He further advised them to “reach for the stars” with their ambitions and to work to “be the best that you can become.”

Also speaking were the three valedictorians of Class of 2008 ” Angela Malley, Emily Hetzler and Ian Sutton ” who maintained 4.0 grade point averages throughout their four years of high school. All three spoke of their feelings of success in what they and their fellow classmates had achieved.

As the graduates filed onto the stage in their caps and gowns, they were individually presented with their diplomas by East Grand school board president, Tom Sifers.

The ceremony concluded with the graduates tossing their caps into the air in celebration.

After the ceremony, several of the graduates expressed their pride and happiness.

“Yaaaah baby!!!” said Jennifer Kerber.

“Congratulations Class 2008. We’re the best class in the world,” said Abby


“It feels so awesome to be done,” said Zilvinas “Z” Sutkus.

“Congratulations to my fellow classmates. We did it. Good luck,” said Becky Meadows.

“It was awesome. I’m so stoked to be out of here and off to Mesa State College,” said Zack Peterson.

Saturday’s commencement was also a time for the parents to express their happiness and pride in their graduates.

“I’m so happy,” said Zack Peterson’s mother, Suzi Maki. “Zack is moving on to the next step in his life. I’m so proud of him.”

Zack’s father, Jim Peterson, agreed.

“I’m real proud,” he said. “For a long time, I never thought this day would come, but now that it’s here, it came too fast.”

Members of the Sky-Hi Daily News staff were present to celebrate the graduation of their children.

Publisher Kim Burner, whose son Josh transferred to Middle Park High from Eagle Valley High School in Gypsum this school year, also expressed her happiness.

“Josh has had a challenging year, switching schools for his senior year,” she said. “But he made it and we’re really proud of him.”

Photographer Byron Hetzler, whose daughter Emily was one of the valedictorians, admitted that graduation can be a bittersweet experience for a parent.

“I have mixed emotions,” he said. “I’m excited about what lies ahead for Emily as she goes off to college, but at the same time I’m sad because it’s the end of a period in our lives.”

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