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Class of 2016: FHS Hits Military Appointment Record, Honors Alumnus

Anthony Wentz
Salutatorian Anthony Wentz
About 300 Falcon High School graduates received diplomas May 28 during a commencement ceremony at The Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs.

"To the class of 2016, and to the staff, I wish to congratulate you," said principal Cheryl Goodyear-DeGeorge, who’s wrapping up her third year as the high school's principal.

"We hope this is just the beginning of many new titles that will indicate your future success,” said Goodyear-DeGeorge.

With a cumulative GPA of 4.3, valedictorian Rileigh Jones spoke to her classmates about moving into adulthood with new challenges, like college. She’s planning to study biological sciences at Cornell University in New York.

Jones earned a Presidential Volunteer Service Award during her junior year by logging 450 hours of community service, nearly doubling the award’s minimum requirement for young adults. She was named volunteer of the year at the San Luis Valley Animal Welfare Society in Alamosa.

“It’s over, for real-zy,” said Jones. “This isn’t just another dream that I’m going to wake up from because it’s 11:35 and I haven’t submitted another essay for (advanced placement) literature. That happened.”

Salutatorian Anthony Wentz, who graduated with a GPA of 4.26, is scheduled to attend the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. Six classmates received appointments to a military academy. The other five are headed to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

“There’s a long list of accomplishments for the class of 2016,” said Wentz, speaking from the arena’s podium, facing hundreds of classmates and their families.

“The class of 2016 has a bright future when it comes to the Armed Forces,” he said. “We have six military academy appointments, numerous students enlisted in the U.S. military, with many more planning to do the same.”

“It is great that we have so many men and women that care about our country to the point that they would lay down their lives to uphold the Constitution, and all this county stands for.”

A Tribute to 'Worby'

Prior to the ceremony’s completion, Goodyear-DeGeorge explained a basket of donations that the class compiled as each graduate received his or her diploma.

“Every year the senior class decides on something that they want to do, usually to the principal.” Her first year as principal, the school’s graduating class covered her in beads. Her second, “a fortress” was built out of paper.

“This year, the class of 2016 decided that their tribute would be for a very special cause,” said Goodyear-DeGeorge. “We lost a member of the Falcon Nation family earlier this week.”
Class of 2015 graduate Austin “Worby” Worbington is well known at the high school for his school pride, peer support and infectious laughter. 
A freshman football player studying kinesiology at Colorado Mesa University, Worbington died swimming May 11 at a Grand Junction recreational area. He was reportedly swept away by a current outside Glade Park. Worbington was 20 years old.

"I've always been a hard worker — everything I do, I try to do my best at it," said Worbington, after winning a pushup challenge during Month of the Military Child activities. He was a quarterback and wide receiver for the school’s football team, as well as a member of the student council, HOSA and National Honor Society.

“All of the donations today that went into the basket are for an Austin Worbington Memorial Scholarship,” said Goodyear-DeGeorge.

Dustin Senger