Soroco High School valedictorian Aila Bereznak addresses the audience at the 2007 Soroco High School graduation last May. The class of 2008 has a busy week before graduation Saturday.

file photo

Soroco High School valedictorian Aila Bereznak addresses the audience at the 2007 Soroco High School graduation last May. The class of 2008 has a busy week before graduation Saturday.

Soroco High School seniors gear up for graduation

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Last week of school events

- Monday

Noon to 12:30 p.m. Governor's visit assembly, Soroco High School Gym

- Tuesday

6 p.m. Soroco High School Sports Awards Night, SHS Gym

7 p.m. Soroco High School Academic Awards Night, SHS Gym

- Wednesday

6 p.m. Soroco Middle School Eighth Grade Continuation Ceremony and Seventh and Eighth Grade Awards, SHS Gym

7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Middle School dance

- Thursday

Last Day of School

9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Middle School end of the year trip to Gypsum Recreation Center

- Friday

10 a.m. High School graduation practice, SHS Gym

- Saturday

11 a.m. High School graduation, SHS Gym

— Gov. Bill Ritter will visit Soroco High School for an assembly Monday, kicking off the last week of school and turning off the campus's coal boilers one last time.

Construction already is under way for a $4.1 million energy overhaul at Soroco schools, funded primarily by a $1.57 million bond issue passed by voters in November 2007 and grants from the Colorado Department of Education and the state Department of Local Affairs.

"The purpose of his visit is that the Governor's Energy Office has contributed significantly to our project," said James Chamberlin, principal of Soroco's secondary schools. "He's going to address the audience about the importance of renewable energy and help Soroco move toward the future."

The coal boilers that currently heat the high school and middle school campus date back to 1970 and are thought to be the last of their kind to heat any school in the state. Ritter will symbolically flip their switch a final time Monday.

"It's kind of sad that we're the last coal boiler," Soroco High School sophomore Gage Achtner said. "It's pretty cool that the governor's coming, though."

Achtner and other woodshop students were skateboarding behind Soroco High School Friday, testing out their final projects - longboards.

"The coal dust is awful. It sticks to your shoes, and you can't get any traction," sophomore Cody Miles said.

During the summer, the boilers will be replaced by a much more energy-efficient system, comprising a biomass boiler for Soroco Middle School and geothermal pipes to heat Soroco High School and the school district offices, as well as South Routt Elementary School in Yampa. A propane boiler will serve as a back-up heat source in Oak Creek.

Monday's assembly, as well as a number of end-of-the-year events scheduled for this week, will take place under new low-wattage infrared lights in the Soroco High School gymnasium. The new lights use less energy than the facility's notoriously hot halogen lights, which sat piled next to a Dumpster on Friday.

"They're actually, interestingly enough, brighter," Chamberlain said.

Soroco High School athletes and scholars will be honored for their accomplishments at awards ceremonies Tuesday night, with Soroco Middle School's awards and eighth-grade continuation ceremony following Wednesday.

Classes will be on an abbreviated finals schedule Tuesday through Thursday, Chamberlain said.

- To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203

or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com

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