Evergreen High School’s Class of 2022 has adapted to a lot of craziness over the past four years.
So, Mother Nature gave the 227 graduates a final exam on resiliency and adaptability during May 20’s graduation ceremony at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
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As graduate Kaymen Story described: “It’s Colorado. … It makes sense for it to be snowing at graduation.”
Story and many of her fellow graduates would’ve preferred the previous day’s beautiful, sunny 85-degree weather. But, the spring snow made for a very memorable graduation day experience.
“I think (the weather)’s appropriate for just how my high school experience has been,” graduate Emma Seliskar said. “ … COVID just kind of messed everything up, and it taught us to expect the unexpected and just roll with things.”
Graduate Curran Anderson described how, after dealing with the pandemic since the end of their sophomore year, he and his classmates were grateful to have a normal, in-person graduation — despite the snow.
The stands were a sea of different colored umbrellas, and the parents and EHS staff members were all smiles in their winter coats, knitted caps and rain ponchos. Even some of the graduates decided to forgo heels and formal shoes for snow boots instead.
After four very long years, graduate Darla Vera said she was still in shock that it was graduation day already, and she hadn’t quite wrapped her head around it yet.
“It’s exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time,” Vera said.
Anderson felt similarly, saying, “It’s crazy. It’s all just hitting me now. It’s kind of sad — sad but exciting.”
Story expressed relief after navigating the challenges of a high school career amid a pandemic, while fellow graduate Liam Brennan said he was excited to move onto college.
“I think I’m ready for new beginnings,” Brennan continued.
The future’s so bright, they gotta wear shades
Brennan, Story, Vera, Anderson and Seliskar all planned to attend college this fall, and had a positive outlook for their future and their classmates.
Seliskar, who will study integrative physiology at the University of Colorado-Boulder, said her fellow graduates were very smart and successful people with a wide range of talents. She added, “I’m excited to see what we’re all going to do.”
Brennan, who’s also attending CU-Boulder too but is undecided on a major, likewise believed EHS’ Class of 2022 was definitely going to have a positive impact on the world.
Vera, who’s going to Ohio’s Miami University to study psychology, commented: “I think we went through a lot, like with COVID and everything. And it all turned out OK. … We’re going to be a really great class in the years to come.”
Story believed the future would be “beautiful and have a lot in store for us” despite everyone’s different post-graduation journeys. Hers will take her to Washington DC’s American University to study political science and international affairs.
Anderson similarly commented how he and his fellow graduates were all going onto places where they can succeed. For him, that’s the University of Iowa to study criminology.
“Go Cougars, and go Hawkeyes,” he said.
In his faculty address during the ceremony, first-year EHS teacher Tyler Houston warned the graduates to not be constrictive about their plans and live “too far in the future.” Instead, he said, they should remain flexible and pursue what makes them happy.
Houston recalled his own post-graduation plans to be a doctor in a fast-paced hospital environment. But, he decided to change his degrees and his career paths, and eventually found himself as an Evergreen science teacher.
“As cheesy as it sounds, I followed my smile,” he continued.
He recommended the graduates ignore the white noise of society, which often defines success by status and wealth, and use their happiness and smiles to measure their success.
As the graduates become full-fledged adults amid a very calamitous world, Houston was confident they’d “make the future a brighter and safer place” for future generations. While changing the world is a tall task, he encouraged them to change one person’s world.
“Happy Cougar Day, seniors,” Houston said as he concluded. “… Welcome to the team.”
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