Steamboat Springs Pointing toward Mount Werner’s bare but clearly defined ski runs Friday, Peter Perhac talked about the importance of the classrooms that stood behind him. Perhac, the campus CEO at Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus in Steamboat Springs, knew the mountain would be a large temptation this winter for his students.
“You need to balance your life with the mountain as much as you can,” Perhac told 150 students gathered for the school’s academic convocation. “It’s time to focus on your academics.”
Friday’s convocation at the Alpine Campus marked the end of a busy week that had new CMC students making frequent trips to Walmart and moving into their new dorm rooms.
CMC professors told their new students that the decisions they make in the coming weeks would be instrumental in shaping the rest of their lives.
“Last week was just the prep work,” said Pam Burwell, who teaches history and philosophy classes at CMC. “Today is when we put everything together and these students start to forge their own destiny.”
Steamboat resident Craig Kennedy delivered the school’s convocation address and talked about what he called the most important decision of his life.
He said that after he was injured in a skiing accident at Steamboat Ski Area in 1996, he had to face the reality of living his life in a wheelchair. Lying in a hospital bed, he had two choices.
“It was cut and dry for me,” he said. “I could be happy or I could be miserable.”
Kennedy decided to return to Steamboat and hit the ski slopes once again. He said that a positive attitude has allowed him to become the writer and speaker that he is today.
“I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason,” he said.
He told the students that each one of them had a unique story.
“You need to go for broke when it comes to creating your own story,” he said. “If I didn’t have my accident, I wouldn’t be a speaker and I wouldn’t be a writer.”
Kristin Parker, a new CMC student who moved to Steamboat from Iowa, said she could use the advice Kennedy shared at the convocation during her first week of classes.
“I just moved to a place where I have no friends,” she said. “I’ll need that positive attitude to meet new people and start having fun.”