Faith, opportunity motivate grads


— State Rep. Angie Paccione, D-Fort Collins, has said yes to a lot things in her life.

Growing up the Bronx, Paccione said yes to Catholic school, which planted the seeds for her Evangelical faith. She said yes to a youth basketball program, the building blocks of her professional basketball career.

She also said yes to a teaching job in Fort Collins, which led to her role in the state Legislature.

Paccione, a former national speaker for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and faculty member at Colorado State University, was the keynote speaker at Christian Heritage School's graduation ceremonies Sunday.

Her message to the class of 2005 was to take advantage of every chance that comes their way.

"Say yes and go, because you'll never know what may come of that opportunity," she said.

Eight students graduated in the school's class of 2005: valedictorian Collin Geldmeier, Lauren Grant, Jessica Heiner, Nicholas Leader, Caitlin O'Hara, Viviana Poulin, Dana Schlingman and salutatorian Florie Van Baak.

Paccione encouraged students to look to God for direction, continually returning to his voice like a preset dial on their radio.

"You must listen to that small voice ... God's whisper," she said. "That's what we need to tune into."

Her advice echoed the students' class verse: "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning ..." (Lamentations 3:22, 23a)

Geldmeier said his religious faith helped him through a tough senior year.

"This year in particular, I faced more challenges academically. ... It has taken much perseverance to press on through high school, but Christ made it possible," he said.

In addition to a song from Christel Houston, the ceremony Sunday also included scholarship announcements.

Schlingman, who plans to attend CSU in Fort Collins, received $500 from the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors and $1,100 from the Steamboat Springs Rotary Club

F.M. Light & Sons awarded a $2,000 award to Geldmeier, who intends to study architecture at the University of Nebraska in the fall of 2006.

At the same time the students were working hard on grades and applying for scholarships, they also focused on raising funds to help others.

Teacher and class sponsor Brian Houston announced the Christian Heritage School Student Council raised $2,600 for tsunami relief.

For a class gift, the class of 2005 also presented a $500 check to the school for a new printer.

-- To reach Tamera Manzanares call 871-4204 or e-mail


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