Steamboat Springs In sharing his "geezer wisdom" with the Steamboat Springs High School Class of 2008, class-selected speaker Jim Bronner urged the graduates to ignore everyone's expectations and follow their own dreams, with the help of a few choice words from Mark Twain that were "destined" to be read for the graduating Sailors.
"I urge you to throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, dream, discover," said Bronner, assistant to the boys basketball team and booster club member.
The Class of 2008, with 172 graduates, is the largest in Steamboat Springs High School's history. Friends, family and well-wishers packed the standing-room-only Kelly Meek Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon to see the graduates accept their diplomas and flip the tassels on their mortarboards while wearing black caps and gowns.
"Many of you have been together in school since kindergarten. Embrace and cherish your shared past," Bronner said. "You have no more classes, tests or papers to endure from your teachers, and in the interest of reciprocity, your teachers no longer have to endure you."
Graduating senior Whitney Lewis dedicated the senior class gift, a $2,000 donation to a single father and his daughter working to rebuild their lives after their home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
Principal Mike Knezevich and Sandra Smyser, interim superintendent of the Steamboat Springs School District, recognized students individually for their scholarship awards. Graduates were the recipients of 140 local scholarships totaling $166,900, and collegiate scholarships totaling $302,000, Knezevich said.
In a touching and humorous tag-team address to the senior class, Steamboat Springs High School co-valedictorians Cameron Niswander and Bryce Peters led their fellow graduates in leaving their high school "training wheels" behind and moving onto the next stage in life.
"The future is uncertain, but that's what makes it exciting," Peters said. "It's our future and our challenge. Here's to you, Class of 2008, always pushing the limit."
"Don't blow it," Niswander said in his parting shot.
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