Steamboat Springs The date is crystal clear in Matt Hayne's mind: Sept. 29, 2000. He had just been diagnosed with a form of cancer called Burkett's Lymphoma.
"The shock left me kind of speechless," said the Soroco High School senior. "I never really thought of anything much past that."
Hayne battled the disease successfully. In the spring the basketball, football, track and cross-country athlete was on the track and running, still bald from chemotherapy treatments.
This week, Hayne was named the Steamboat Optimist Club's "Teen of the Year" and received a $1,000 scholarship from the club's youth fund.
"It means quite a bit to me," Hayne said. "Every kid that was nominated was an outstanding student also."
Nine other Routt County high school students each of whom received the Optimist Club's "Teen of the Month" award during the school year were also present for the ceremonies.
The list of Hayne's academic and extracurricular achievements is extensive.
He lettered in four sports and was on the school's honor roll and student council. He was a cadet commander in the Civil Air Patrol and received the Colorado School of Mines Medal of Achievement in math and science.
He has volunteered in numerous organizations, such as River Watch, Grand Futures and Advocates Against Battering and Abuse.
He will graduate today with a 3.89 grade point average, and will go on to the Colorado School of Mines to pursue an engineering degree.
Hayne has been in the Yampa School District since kindergarten, and has been an exceptional student throughout, said counselor Terry Gerba.
"As I reflect on how I know Matt, it becomes clear to me that I must address what I consider Matt's most valuable and important characteristic: his heart," reads Gerba's letter of recommendation for Hayne.
"His daily presence impacts those around him. We are proud and grateful of his many accomplishments and the young man he is becoming."