Yampa Valley High seniors get ready for next step

Graduation ceremony is Friday

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— Yampa Valley High School counselor Molly Lotz said the Class of 2012 has something very special in common.

“They were great leaders,” she said. “They did what they needed to do and got the job done. They made the school a positive place, and they’ll definitely be missed.”

Four of the five seniors who will graduate Friday during an intimate ceremony at Yampa River Botanic Park have successfully completed college courses at Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus, Lotz added.

As he sat in the alternative high school’s computer lab last week, Gaven Van Pelt said time will be his ally after the Friday ceremony.

“For me, it’s great looking out and seeing I have my whole life ahead of me,” he said. “I have my whole life to pursue my own dreams and to figure out the world and experience life.”

The senior plans to work full time in Steamboat while taking basic college courses at CMC.

Senior Sarah Shwebke plans to study business at Colorado State University. She said she enjoyed learning in the small high school that serves an average of 18 students a year.

“You learn a lot more when you have so much one-on-one time with the teachers,” she said. “You get to speak out and have a voice and an opinion.”

The school was started to serve students who were at risk of failing or dropping out of traditional high school. But its graduates say they chose to attend because it offered them a better learning environment.

“People get the wrong impression of it,” said senior Tamika Morris, who plans to study to become a nurse. “People look down on us and think we’re rejects and we got kicked out of high school. But it’s better here. We have small classes. We get more attention. A lot of people don’t know we have a lot more rules here than in high school. It’s legit and a lot of people don’t know that.”

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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