A torrential downpour didn't dampen the spirits of Mountain Vista High School graduates. It did, however, soak their green robes.
Halfway through the May 17 commencement ceremony, huddled under umbrellas and colorful ponchos, students braved the rain and wind as they walked down the steps of Red Rocks Amphitheatre to receive their diplomas. Family and friends filled the back rows of the scenic outdoor theater, hooting and hollering for the soon-to-be graduates.
Commencement speakers passed on a variety of messages for the class of 2017.
Honored senior Desa Paich reminisced on nail-biting football and basketball games, endless nights with friends, strong student-teacher bonds, tragedy. She encouraged students do what they love, to take time in making decisions and to always have respect for others.
"Once you respect yourself and those around you," Paich said, "I can confidently say that life will be easier."
Valedictorian Alec Yagey reminded fellow graduates that the bigger picture is more than test scores and GPAs.
"Remember faces and smiles, tears and laughter - not numbers," Yagey said.
The graduating class had the highest composite ACT score ever of 24.1. Eighty-eight percent of students are attending 120 colleges across the country. Five students are accepting military appointments.
"Like previous graduating classes of Mountain Vista, the class of 2017 will certainly have a chance to make a difference in a world in desperate need of positive difference-makers," Principal Michael Weaver said.
Photos by Alex DeWind