“Make the fireworks happen:” West Grand celebrates 2021 graduates
After a year broken up by quarantines, face masks and online learning, West Grand High School’s 31 seniors gathered together Saturday, smiling sans masks, to celebrate graduation.
For Valedictorian Charlie Multerer, the one positive takeaway from experiencing senior year during the coronavirus pandemic is a newfound appreciation for time.
“We were so excited to turn our tassels and get on with our lives that we never knew our senior year would end up like this. If we had, maybe we would have done things differently,” Multerer said in his speech. “Simply, I would have taken my time.”
Multerer made the most of his time at West Grand, getting involved in the National Honor Society, UPRISE, Student Council, basketball and track and field. He won all-conference in basketball, acts as vice-president of the Future Business Leaders of America and has completed internships through the Homegrown Talent Initiative.
Though Multerer has no shortage of memories to look back on, he said some of his favorites hit during the last week of his senior year, when the class got to take part in the traditions of the senior prank, senior ditch day and the class camping trip.
“I never really fully understood what bittersweet meant until this year when I experienced it,” he said.
Following this summer, Multerer will head to Princeton University to study political science and he eventually plans to go to law school and make his way to the Oval Office.
West Grand’s graduates are headed out on a variety of paths, including college, the military, trade schools and the workforce.
Three students, Jacob Murphy, Carson Culbreath and Alejandro Castanon, are joining the US Marine Corps, while Ben Kellen will join the Air Force and Austin Schake is headed to the Coast Guard.
In addition, the Class of 2021 included first-generation graduate Omar Dominguez, who has plans to attend Colorado Mesa University to study criminal justice.
Speaking to his classmates, Salutatorian Jesus Dominguez encouraged them to be the best they can be, no matter where they go next.
“Any sliver of our sparkle people try to dull, we can do better than to let that happen,” Dominguez said. “I want you to remember two things — we can do better and we can’t forget that in order to be great, we must first be grateful.”
While Emma Daly is still solidifying her next step, she remembers her time at West Grand fondly as the place that helped develop her passion for agriculture, through trips with the FFA and interning in agricultural education.
Daly is planning to attend the University of Wyoming, but may first end up at the Colorado FFA office as an intern. She interviews for the role the week of June 7.
“I love teaching and coaching,” she said. “I interned at the middle school and just seeing the kids’ understand something and their faces light up is really fun, so I want to continue that.”
Both Daly and Multerer emphasized how quick their senior year felt and advised younger students to take advantage of all the opportunities they can.
“Do anything and everything you can,” Daly said.
Concluding Saturday’s ceremony, West Grand Principal Elizabeth Bauer choked up as she congratulated the class, noting how proud she is of all the students.
“The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match and each one of you is a fuse,” Bauer quoted Ed Koch. “Go make the fireworks happen.”
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