Storm clouds threatened the graduation ceremony for Ponderosa High School for the second year in a row. But the school's staff, families and graduates beat the weather by holding the ceremony at EchoPark Automotive Stadium in Parker at 5 p.m., two hours earlier than originally scheduled on May 17, leaving more time for post-ceremony celebrations.
"It was just amazing, it summed up high school for me. Everything just made me think of how much fun I had in high school," graduate Kobe Gray said.
Gray especially appreciated the commencement address by valedictorian Ellie Houseworth.
"Ellie's speech, how she reminded us to take a deep breath, and just slow down," Gray continued. "It just reminded me of all the times I was so stressed and had to try to take it easy."
Graduate Kayleigh Rodenbaugh said the significance of the event will sink in, eventually.
"It still doesn't feel real, it still feels like a more advanced summer break," said Rodenbaugh, who will attend the University of Northern Colorado in the fall to study theater arts. "I'm looking forward to making new relationships with new people."
Lindsay Butler, sporting a Hawaiian lei composed of candy bars made by a friend from church, expressed excitement, and relief, at joining her classmates for one last school function.
"It's awesome, I'm finally done," she said. "I'm looking forward to sleeping in."
Photos by Tom Skelley