Soroco High School seniors, clockwise from top right, Cody Miles, Matt Watwood, Gage Achtner and Alex Estes will be graduating during today’s ceremony at the high school.

Photo by John F. Russell

Soroco High School seniors, clockwise from top right, Cody Miles, Matt Watwood, Gage Achtner and Alex Estes will be graduating during today’s ceremony at the high school.

Soroco High School’s Class of 2010 graduates today

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Soroco High School Principal Dennis Alt talks to seniors about the graduation ceremony during a practice Friday at the school.

Scholarships

■ Alex Estes

Egeria Lodge: $500

Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs: $1,000

Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors: $1,000

Soroco High School Booster Club: $500

P.T.O. Presidential Freedom Scholarship: $500

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.: $1,000

South Routt Economic Development Council: $500

County Sheriffs of Colorado: $500

Wes Millway Memorial Scholarship: $500

■ Amber Larsen

Egeria Lodge: $500

■ Julia Luciano

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.: $1,000

Doak Walker Memorial Scholarship: $1,500

Colorado Northwest Community College Dual Enrollment Student Award: $500

■ Cody Miles

Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs: $1,000

Soroco High School Booster Club: $500

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.: $2,000

Doak Walker Memorial Scholarship: $1,500

South Routt Economic Development Council: $500

Blue Eagle Halterman Memorial Scholarship: $500

Fort Lewis College Academic and Athletic Scholarship: $3,500

■ Matt Watwood

Boettcher Foundation Scholarship: $180,000

Total: $199,000

— Soroco High School senior Alex Estes said next year would be different.

He and Gage Achtner, Cody Miles and Matt Watwood have known one another since kindergarten at South Routt Elementary School, and each senior plans to attend a different college next year.

“I’ve been with these guys forever,” Estes said. “It’s going to be weird being away from them. It’s going to be different, but I’m looking forward to a change.”

Miles also said it’s going to be tough next year.

“But I have good faith I’ll be hanging out with these guys quite a bit,” he said. “Even though we’ll be a ways apart, I think we’ll still spend a lot of time together.”

Estes, this year’s salutatorian, is considering an academic and athletic scholarship offer to attend Adams State College in Alamosa. Achtner plans to attend Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Miles has accepted an athletic scholarship to play football at Fort Lewis College in Durango. And Watwood earned the Boet­tcher Foundation Scholarship and will attend the University of Denver.

Estes, Achtner, Miles and Watwood will join the rest of the Class of 2010 that graduates at 11 a.m. today in the high school gymnasium.

In addition to the four of them growing up, Estes said most of the 23-member class went all the way through the district or started early in elementary school.

Because of that, Estes said the class is pretty close. But he said there are a lot of different personalities. Lisa Omori, counselor for the high and middle schools, agreed. She described the class as a friendly group from different backgrounds that got along with everyone.

“We do kind of see this class as a conglomeration of a lot of individual personalities,” Omori said. “Somehow, they’ve managed to come together as a class and get along and be accepting of each other. They all have a lot of resolve; they’re very self-sufficient in a lot of ways.”

Omori also called that resolve stubbornness. She said many of the seniors already had mapped out their post-graduate plans and couldn’t be swayed, no matter what anyone told them.

Of the 23 graduates, she said 12 have enrolled in a four-year college or university, five will attend vocational school and six plan to enter the work force. Omori said the class earned $199,000 in scholarships, including Watwood’s $180,000 Boettcher Scholarship, which covers the cost of his education for four years.

When describing the Class of 2010, Principal Dennis Alt said the group significantly affected Soroco. He said in addition to several students who played key leadership roles for the entire school, the class performed well academically. He said the senior class also took major strides in athletics — leading teams that succeeded instead of just merely competing.

“They’ve changed the culture quite a bit and expected quite a lot from themselves, academically and athletically,” Alt said.

Estes said the Adams State offer is a good fit for him. If he attends the school, which he plans to visit next week, he will be a member of the track and field team and possibly play basketball. He said it would fulfill his goal of competing athletically in college.

Despite the split of his group of friends, Estes said graduating high school was the next step in their lives and one they’re excited about.

“It’s cool,” Estes said. “Even if we’re all leaving, going our separate ways, I know I’ll always talk to those guys. Their families have always been my second families. They’re like my brothers.”

This year’s graduates are: Gage Achtner, Derek Crawford, Danielle Donaldson, Alex Estes, Alonso Garcia, Conor Gray, Jarrod Hange, Tyler Kelliher, Amber Larsen, Bethany Leu, Andy Linden, John Lipsie, Joseph Long, Julia Luciano, Ashley Mason, Bret McElhinney, Nate Meadows, Cody Miles, Patricia Richmond, Brittany Schneider, Shelby Viele, Matt Watwood and Anthony Zywicki.

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 871-4203 or e-mail jweinstein@steamboatpilot.com

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