Steamboat Springs High School graduate Parker Stegmaier raises his arms in celebration after receiving his diploma Saturday in Kelly Meek Gymnasium.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs High School graduate Parker Stegmaier raises his arms in celebration after receiving his diploma Saturday in Kelly Meek Gymnasium.

Steamboat seniors flip tassels at commencement Saturday

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SSHS Class of 2009 scholarships

Steamboat Springs High School's 2009 graduates earned a combined $230,300 from the universities they will attend next year.

This year, seniors earned a combined $110, 000 in local scholarships. By comparison, the 2008 class earned $166,900, and the 2007 class earned $116,250. Counselor Gayle Dudley said this year's local total was lower because there are 40 less students in this year's graduating class than last year's. She said economic factors didn't play much of a part, but she did add that some local scholarships were less this year or not provided.

Jasmin Alkema: Lions Club, $500; Marilyn Romano Memorial, $1,000; Rotary Club, $1,000; Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, $750

Elise Anderson: Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., $2,000; Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, $750; Frank Leonard Memorial, $625; I Cent a Student to College First Impression, $1,000; Pam Walter Memorial, $1,000; Lions Club, $500; SS Volunteer Fire Dept/Dave Linner Memorial, $1,000

Janna Anderson: Rotary Club, $500; Ski Town USA Lion's Club, $500; SS Volunteer Fire Dept/Rusty Chandler Memorial, $1,500

Kevan Beall: Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., $1,000

Hanna Berglund: Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, $750

Eric Bonner: Hockey, $1,000

Nelson Brassell: Steamboat Springs Booster Club, Pio Utu, $500; Eric Small Memorial, $1,000; Lions Club, $500

Jacob Brenner: Frank Leonard Memorial, $625l; Ski Town USA Lion's Club, $500

Kacey Bull: Grease Monkey and Big O Tires of Steamboat Springs, $500

Kacey Centner: Home Ranch Education, $500; Lions Club, $500; SS Volunteer Fire Dept/Rusty Chandler Memorial, $1,000; SSEA, $750; Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, $750; Terry Sports, $1,000

Peter Daley: Routt County 4H, $1,000

Mark Dennis: Colorado Group Realty, $500

Mandi DeVos: Neville Family from Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, $1,250

Michael Dierdorff: Neville Family from Steamboat Springs Winter Club, $1,250

Sarah Dixson: Steamboat Springs Booster Club, Pio Utu, $500; Twin Enviro Services, $500

Zach Dunlop: SSEA, $1,000

Grant Ehrick: Ski Town USA Lion's Club, $500; Hockey, $1,000

Christina Ford: Ski Town USA Lion's Club, $500; Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, $750; Storm Peak Laboratory, $500; Yampa Valley Construction Trades, $500

Cody Fritz: Ski Corp., $1,500; Terry Sports, $1,000; Hockey, $1,000; Kitchen Perfection in Memory of Angela Dawn Haight, $500

Erica Gale: Rotary Club, $1,000; Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, $750

Jasper Gantick: Routt County Soil Conservation District, $500; 4H Don and Elaine Lufkin, $3,500; 4H Shiner Family Leadership, $1,000; Home Ranch Education, $500; Steamboat Springs Chamber Ambassadors, $2,000

Graham Geppert: Ski Town USA Lion's Club, $500

Jorid Halsnes: SS Volunteer Fire Dept/Dave Linner Memorial, $1,000

Meghan Hanrahan: Ski Town USA Lion's Club, $500; Kiwanis/J Scott Wells Memorial, $1,000; Poogie Dawes Memorial, $5,000; Rotary Club/Judge John Wilkinson Honorary, $500

Meghan Hartley: Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, $750

Andraea Hessenberger: Routt County 4H, $1,000; Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, $750; Frank Leonard Memorial, $625

Sean Hill: Ski Town USA Lion's Club, $500

Darcy Hornstein: SSEA, $1,000

Mary Rachel Hostetter: Neville Family from SSWSC, $1,250; Steamboat One, $750; Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, $750

Jace Hvambsal: Terry Sports, $2,000

Katherine Ingalls: ACZ Laboratories, $500

Sean Kuusinen: Hockey, $1,000; Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, $500

Michelle Lichtenfels: Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, $500; Angela Dawn Haight Memorial, $500

Brittany Long: Doak Walker, $1,000; Frank Leonard Memorial, $625; Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, $750; Steamboat Springs Booster Club, Pio Utu, $1,000; Rotary Club, $500; SS Volunteer Fire Dept/Rusty Chandler Memorial, $1,500; Ski Corp., $1,000; Steamboat Springs Chamber Ambassadors, $2,000

Cierra Lorenz: Jim Milligan 4H, $1,000

Elizabeth Lyons: Routt County 4H, $1,000; Terry Sports, $2,000

Ryan McConnell: Neville Family from SSWSC, $1,250; Ski Corp., $1,500

Matthew McIntosh: Yampa Valley Construction Trades, $500; Charles S. Johnson, $1,000

Catherine O'Brien: MWH, $1,000; Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, $500

Haley O'Brien: Steamboat One, $750; SSEA, $750; Wal-Mart, $3,000

Ben Paley: Joe Bonney Tennis, $500; Yampa Valley Construction Trades, $500

Cody Poirot: Steamboat Masonic Lodge Art, $1,000

Dustin Reed: Rotary Club, $1,000

Michael Ricker: Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, $500

Mary Rose: Haken Memorial Nordic Fund, $750

Alexa Ruppel: Ski Town USA Lion's Club, $500

Emily Sackett: Neville Family from SSWSC, $1,250

Leo Starbuck: TIC, $1,000

Parker Stegmaier: Ski Town USA Lion's Club, $500; Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, $500; Steamboat Masonic Lodge Art, $500

Bryn Stillwell: Dance Showcase, $1,000; Terry Sports, $2,000

Kevin Stokes: Doak Walker, $1,000; Ski Town USA Lion's Club, $500; Ski Corp., $1,000

Janie Townes: Strong Insurance Agency, $1,000

Zach Valicenti: Joe Bonney Tennis, $500

Sierra Weir: Steamboat Masonic Lodge Art, $500

Taylor Weisshaar: Routt County 4H, $1,000; Landmark Consultants Excellence in Engineering, $1,000

Torre Wilkinson: Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, $750; Grease Monkey and Big O Tires of Steamboat Springs, $500

Cole Worsley: Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, $750

photo

Steamboat Springs High School valedictorian Charlie Stoddard does a fist pump as he is introduced to give a speech.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected from its original version. Graduate Oren Pierce is joining the Marines. He was incorrectly identified during the high school's graduation ceremony and subsequently in the original published version of this story.

What now?

Steamboat Springs High School Salutatorian Jamie Gay posed that question to her classmates Saturday afternoon at the school's graduation ceremony.

Friends and family packed the high school's gymnasium, including the upper viewing area, to honor the 122-member Class of 2009. The ceremony included several more speakers in addition to Gay, including valedictorian Charlie Stoddard, along with recognition of more than $340,000 in scholarships and the presentation of diplomas.

Answering her question to classmates, Gay said, "This is one of the most beautiful and the most frightening things in life. You can't ever know the answer completely. Answering that question is a journey, and having advice can make it a lot easier."

Gay said teachers, parents and friends will help guide the way, but sometimes all that advice is overwhelming. The easiest advice to follow is the kind you give yourself, she said.

With that, Gay quoted several of her classmates from the yearbook's senior quote section. She said they advised the class to seize opportunities, ask questions, have confidence and keep trying. But the best thing about the quotes, Gay said, was they didn't have to provide an answer to the question because it wasn't important to have an answer. She said eventually, everything gets figured out along the way.

"So make your own journey and try to answer 'What now?'" Gay said. "You may not get where you thought you were going, but you'll get somewhere. Make that somewhere and your journey to it something special, something uniquely yours."

Different advice did permeate the ceremony, as Gay predicted.

Lisa-Marie Baker, a youth pastor at Holy Name Catholic Church, presented an unconventional piece of advice to the graduates as she gave the class dedication.

"If you wish to be great, be content to be thought foolish and stupid," she said quoting the Greek philosopher Epictetus.

Baker said the point was that each of the graduates would make the world and the lives of those around them better. And she said it was up to each one to determine how he or she would be great - not according to someone else's definition.

Mike Donahue, a motivational speaker who owns R5 Productions, of Omaha, Neb., which provides motivational school assemblies, told the graduates they could accomplish anything in life if they learned the tricks to use along the way, during the honorary presentation.

One trick, he said, was exhibiting moral courage, the ability to do what's right at the right time.

"If you want success, if you want to be happy, you have to embrace moral courage," he said.

During his address, Stoddard said without a doubt, graduating from high school was an accomplishment, the greatest academic achievement for the class, so far. He said the class had yet to do what it was meant to accomplish. Stoddard said each individual person defined success.

He asked the class to imagine each of their successes as a brick. As success is gained, Stoddard said, another brick is added, laying the foundation for the next to create a "magnificent castle" their lives represent.

"It's the overall impression of the castle that creates who we are as people and defines our lives as successful," he said.

Those successes could start with college. Before diplomas were handed out, Superintendent Shalee Cunningham recognized the graduates for earning $110,000 in local scholarships and $230,300 in freshman scholarships from universities they'll attend next year.

Cunningham also recognized four graduates who soon will leave for basic training in different branches of the military. Scott Frank, Nathaniel Greenwall and Oren Pierce, who will join the Marines, and Alyssa Rogers, who is joining the Navy, were given a standing ovation.

After the ceremony, Principal Kevin Taulman stood in the high school commons area, shaking hands with students and their families. He summed up, simply, how he felt about the Class of 2009.

"I've been in education for 15 years," he said. "This is one of the best classes I've seen, top to bottom."

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