The Class of 2001 at Soroco, Hayden, Christian Heritage and Lowell Whiteman high schools have graduated. Next Saturday, their peers at Steamboat Springs will join them.
Right now, it's hard for the seniors to see graduation as anything more than an ending the culmination of 12 years of classes, teachers and tests.
Many of the graduating athletes who competed at area schools have played competitive sports for the last time. Most have gone to their last prom. Some have taken their last class.
But as much as it seems like an ending, high school graduation is really the beginning the start of adulthood.
Most high school graduates don't know what life has in store for them. They shouldn't many of us in our 30s and 40s still haven't decided what we're going to be when we grow up.
But the graduating seniors should know this: From here, the impact of the choices they make is far greater, and the responsibilities they carry will only continue to increase.
With that in mind, we offer the following thoughts to the graduates:
Cherish and remember your friends. There are few friendships that can compare to those we make in high school.
Maybe your parents can't tell you what to do anymore, but at least hear them out. Whatever choice you face, chances are your parents have been there before and know better than you what will happen.
If you are going to college, enjoy the entire experience football games, parties, road trips, etc. but remember, while no one will be there to nag you into going to class and studying, someone will be there to kick you out of school if your grades falter.
Your mailbox will soon fill with pre-approved credit card applications. Throw them away without opening.
Wherever you go, find a way to be involved in the community. Coach Little League. Visit a nursing home. Read to kids. Do the things that others did for you.
Slow down every now and then. Your entire life is ahead of you. Make sure you enjoy it.
Finally, more than anything else, remember to come home once in a while. There are people here who miss you.
That's our advice. To all the graduates, we wish you the very best of luck.