Hayden graduates begin dance of adulthood | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden graduates begin dance of adulthood

Hayden High School seniors are recognized during graduation Sunday.

Hayden High School valedictorian Grace Wilkie told the graduating class of 2017 that she hopes they dance.

During her speech Sunday, she referenced the song, "I Hope You Dance," performed by Lee Ann Womack and written by part-time Steamboat Springs resident Mark Sanders.

"I hope you dance and laugh and celebrate," Wilkie said. "Dance even if you don't know the steps and the music."

Hayden sent off a small class of 21 seniors during the ceremony, which was postponed two hours due to weather delays at the state track meet in Lakewood, where Hayden athletes were competing.

Those who attended didn’t seem to mind the delay as they heard about the successes of Hayden athletes on the Front Range.

"It's a good thing for us here," Wilkie said.

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Like most graduation ceremonies, speeches were filled with inspiration.

"There is one thing we are guaranteed in life, and that is uncertainty," Wilkie said. "Life is precious. Don't underrate it."

The students chose teacher, track and football coach Pat Moore to give the main speech.

Moore said the class of 2017 was filled with laughter, and he told stories about overcoming adversity.

As a child, Moore had what he described as a horrible stutter that did not even allow him to pronounce his hometown in Minnesota.

"I'm talking about my stutter, because we all have a stutter of some sort," Moore said.

Moore said the graduates now had many choices to make it in life.

They would have to decide whether to master the art of being a victim or not compete in a race because they were afraid to lose or to quit on their dreams, because the adversity was too strong.

"Choose to race against someone who is faster than you, and learn as much as you can along the way," Moore said.

Hayden High School teachers sat behind the graduates during the ceremony.

"You will never understand the impact you have on people like myself unless you become a teacher," Moore said.

In addition to their diplomas, about $25,000 in scholarships were earned by the class, and five of the graduates earned welding certificates from the Babson Carpenter Career and Technical Education Center.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland