Steamboat Springs As graduation quickly approaches for the 153 seniors at Steamboat Springs High School, teachers, counselors and administrators are preparing to say farewell to the Class of 2001, the largest class in the history of the school.
Scanning the high school photo album of this year's class, Assistant Principal Mike Knezevich reflected on watching children grow into young adults.
"Each one of them has a story of how they've grown over the years," Knezevich said. "Each face I look at, there's a story.
"There's not many I can't tell you something about."
Dex Shorter, co-sponsor of the senior class with Carole Buelter, said she's ending her high school career with the Class of 2001.
Like a mother with her children, Shorter said she has become personally attached to this year's class.
"I'm graduating with them," Shorter said. "I'm sad to see them go."
Some seniors will head off on their own paths sooner than others.
Senior Nissa Carlson is preparing mentally and physically for her new life at the United States Military Academy. She reports to the service academy in West Point, N.Y., on July 1.
"I like the academic challenge as well as the physical. It's going to help me pursue my career," Carlson said of her interest in studying medicine.
Leaders such as Carlson are typical of this year's class, Shorter said.
"This has been the easiest four years. They take care of themselves," Shorter said. "There are enough leaders in the class that stuff will get done."
Carlson said one thing she'll take away from her high school experience was an internship studying under Dr. Michael Sisk, an orthopedic surgeon, and Dr. James Dudley, a general practitioner.
"I'm interested in becoming a doctor," Carlson said. "I'm a social person, but I really like the sciences. So, that would be a good way to combine the two."
Carlson also said she will treasure the friendships developed over the past four years.
"I've made friends that I won't forget. I have so many memories with them, activities that we went through together," Carlson said.
Going to New York, Carlson is looking forward to experiencing a part of the country different from Steamboat Springs.
"There aren't very many people here who are financially unstable. I'd like to be exposed to that, more exposed to real life situations," she said. "I kind of think I'm lacking that aspect."
Knezevich said he knows that Steamboat's diversity of students will lead them all in different directions.
"I hope that as they go forth, in whatever realm, they continue to strive to learn. I hope they just keep challenging themselves," Knezevich said. "If we've left them with that desire or love of learning, we've done a good job at the high school."