Christian Heritage School graduates Kristen Miller, left, and Theresa Cutter show off their diplomas Sunday at the school in Heritage Park. The two are lifelong friends from the school's entire Class of 2008 - and received $90,000 in scholarships between them.

Photo by Mike Lawrence

Christian Heritage School graduates Kristen Miller, left, and Theresa Cutter show off their diplomas Sunday at the school in Heritage Park. The two are lifelong friends from the school's entire Class of 2008 - and received $90,000 in scholarships between them.

CHS graduates flip tassels in front of friends, family

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CHS scholarships

Dr. Mary Ann Cutter, a teacher at Christian Heritage School, said 2008 graduates Theresa Cutter and Kristen Miller received a combined total of $90,000 in scholarships - with more to come. Three were announced at Sunday's graduation ceremony:

- F.M. Light Scholarship Award: Theresa Cutter, $2,000

- Board of Realtors Scholarship: Cutter and Kristen Miller, $1,000 each

- Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. Scholarship: Cutter, $1,500

— The crowd would have matched a graduation of 20 students, not two.

But the nearly 100 people who filled row after row of chairs Sunday at Christian Heritage School were only there for a pair - Theresa Morrell Cutter and Kristen Michelle Miller, both 18 years old and the CHS Class of 2008. The size of the students' class in no way lessened the size of their achievement, as the two received numerous awards and accolades from teachers, school administrators and friends in a spirited ceremony.

Cutter and Miller also have received a combined total of $90,000 in scholarships, with more to come, according to CHS teacher Dr. Mary Ann Cutter.

Lisa-Marie Baker, youth minister for Holy Name Catholic Church - where Cutter and Miller are involved in the youth group - drove home the significance of the day in introducing Cutter, the class valedictorian.

"The fact that there are only two graduates here today should not diminish the grandeur of being named valedictorian," Baker said. "Staying focused for all four years of high school is no small accomplishment."

Cutter attended CHS for more than six years after attending Soda Creek Elementary School, while Miller came to Steamboat Springs last year from Colorado Springs.

"Since she has been here, there is not one thing the school has asked her to do that she has not done," secondary principal Al Weisberg said of Miller, who raised her GPA to 4.2 during three semesters at the school.

Cutter called Sunday's graduation a "temporary destination" in her remarks.

"Before this point, we've followed and learned," she said. "Now is our chance to lead and teach."

While several speakers Sunday talked about the bright future of Miller and Cutter as they go out into the world and spread their faith to others, the two graduates, who went to preschool together, have a little more learning in front of them.

Miller is deciding between the University of Portland in Oregon and Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash. She hopes to study criminology and forensics in college.

Cutter already has decided on the University of Portland, where she plans to major in psychology and minor in social justice. She hopes to eventually do mission work in Africa, possibly involving art-oriented therapy and rehabilitation.

Father Ernest Bayer of Holy Name focused his comments on a theme of renewal, likening the graduation to the changing of seasons in the Yampa Valley.

"This graduation is a reflection of your new springtime," he told Miller and Cutter, adding that "after so many winters" the two are now "overflowing the banks of the school" like a river running swiftly downstream.

Miller's parents, David and Myriam Miller, witnessed the result Sunday of sending their daughter to Steamboat - visiting home when she could - for an education in a smaller, more intimate setting than public high school in Colorado Springs.

"It was a hard decision, but it was the right decision," David Miller said, as Kristen held her diploma and smiled beneath her white mortarboard.

"It's been a blessing," Myriam Miller added.

- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4233

or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

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