Oak Creek Graduation is about celebrating accomplishments, and Soroco High School had a lot to celebrate Saturday in Oak Creek.
“We as a class knew how smart we were since Day 1 of high school,” class valedictorian Mackenzie Carnahan told a gym filled with family and friends.
Their academic successes were validated this past fall when it was revealed the class’s average Colorado ACT score was 23.9 out of a possible 36. It was the third-highest average in the state.
Carnahan and her brother Cole helped contribute to the high average, and the siblings shared the title of valedictorian.
The Carnahans were homeschooled until seventh grade, and there was a healthy rivalry between them when they started receiving report cards, Cole Carnahan said.
“We always had to do our absolute best,” he said after the graduation ceremony. “It seemed anything below an A was unacceptable.”
In the end, the siblings had the same grades and both graduated high school with an accompanying associate degree from Colorado Northwestern Community College.
Cole Carnahan received an $84,000 scholarship to attend New York University. He is going into the honors program and will spend his first year studying in Florence, Italy.
Mackenzie Carnahan received a $54,000 scholarship and will attend Truman State University in Missouri. She hopes to run her own business someday — possibly a bakery, she said.
There are 13 Soroco graduates going on to college this fall. Another will attend WyoTech trade school in Florida; two are entering the workforce; one is undecided; and another has enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Teacher Jenny Lewis was chosen by the 18-member senior class to deliver the commencement address. She described the students as the “Dream Team” because in addition to academics, the class also excelled in their athletics and extracurricular activities. The student-athletes defied the dumb jock stereotype, she said.
“At Soroco, athletics and academic excellence go hand in hand,” Lewis said.
While Lewis always stressed perfection in her English class, on Saturday she told the students to make mistakes and to never stop learning.
“The day you stop learning is the day you start dying,” Lewis said.
While the students may have received their high school diplomas Saturday, Lewis told them their work has only just begun.
“Class of 2013, we will be watching you change the world,” Lewis said.
Soroco Class of 2013 scholarships
Billie Bratton — $3,000 per year, Colorado Mesa University Trustees Scholarship; $500, Wes Milway Memorial Scholarship
Cole Carnahan — $500, Friends of Soroco PTO; $1,000, Ski Town USA Rotary Club; $1,000, Yampa Valley Construction Trades; $83,920, New York University; $500, Wes Milway Memorial Scholarship
Mackenzie Carnahan — $53,980, Truman State University; $500, Wes Milway Memorial Scholarship
Amber Garrity — $100, Optimist Club
Zoe Hart — $43,000, Denver University
Abigail Horn — $2,500, 4-H Luck Scholarship; $1,500, Routt County CattleWomen; $1,000, Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs; $1,000, Ronald McDonald House Charities; $32,000, Kansas State Purple and White Honors Scholarship; $4,000, Kansas State Alpha of Clovia 4-H Scholarship House; $2,000, Kansas State College of Agriculture; $1,000, Colorado Future Farmers of America State Proficiency Winner; $100, Optimist Club
Shelby Meyer — $500, Egeria Lodge; $500, Ram Fans Booster Club; $500, Soroco Future Farmers of America chapter; $1,000, Blue Eagle Halterman Memorial Scholarship
Nicholas Paxton — $1,250 per year, University of Northern Colorado Provost Scholarship
Brittney Romero — $1,000, First Impressions of Routt County
Josie Rossi — $2,500, 4-H Dunn Scholarship; $28,000, Colorado Masons Scholarship; $500, Routt County CattleWomen; $500, Rams Fans Booster Club; $1,000, Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs; $1,000, Steve Maloney Memorial; $1,000, Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors; $1,000, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.; $600, Glen Werner Memorial; $1,000, The Industrial Company; $1,000, Ski Town USA Rotary Club; unknown amount, Colorado Mesa University
Cassandra Schmid — $500, Egeria Lodge
Jaelyn Whaley — $3,500, 4-H Lufkin Scholarship; $500, South Routt Economic Development Council; $500, Louis and Wilma Rossi Memorial; $1,500, Routt County CattleWomen; $27,000 Rocky Mountain Scholars Award
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com