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Class of 2016: VRHS Marks Milestones, Considers Future

Bryan Romero
Valedictorian Bryan Romero
More than 300 Vista Ridge High School graduates received diplomas May 28 during a commencement ceremony at The Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs.

Principal Bruce Grose read a list of historic accomplishments, from local to national academic and athletic distinctions. He recognized the district’s first student to earn an associates degree while enrolled in high school.

“This class, the 2016 class, there are 38 students that had a 3.75 for all four years of high school,” said Grose. “That’s the largest number in Vista Ridge (High School) history.

“To my fellow graduates, here we are on the cusp of greatness, at a point where we are no longer children yet not quite adults,” said valedictorian Bryan Romero, speaking from the arena’s podium, facing hundreds of classmates and their families.

“Take a moment to reflect on your high school experience,” said Romero. “Look back on all the moments you’ve been though, both the good and the bad.”

“The last four years have definitely been the hardest of our lives,” he said. “We’ve all experienced trials and tribulations, both individually and collectively, and have gone through so much. And, personally, I’m so proud that we’ve gotten this far.”

“Shifting from high school to whatever you have planned for yourselves is no simple feat. It is a complex process. One that will likely require more energy and effort than previously seen in your lives.”

“However, life from now on will also be much more exciting, in a myriad of ways. That piece of complexity will only add depth to your life, as you go through this part of your existence. So, don’t think of the future as something to be feared. Rather, embrace it, in all of its complexity.”

Salutatorian Yasmeen Hack, preparing her classmates to turn their tassels in recognition of their high school graduation, gave a brief speech that echoed much of Romero’s sentiment.

“Looking back on these past four years, one of the biggest things I’ve learned, especially this year, is that rejection is OK,” said Hack, who talked about applying to five colleges and getting accepted to one.

“As fickle as those rejections may seem to some of you, I’m not one to fail academically,” she said. “Those rejections hurt like hell. It’s one of those things that stops you, and makes you question who you are, and what you’ve done. It makes you question your worth.”

“But these rejections set me on a path that I was actually dreading only a few months ago. Every journey has a reason, even though we may be lost as to what that reason is. So my message to each of you is to get rejected, but don’t dwell on it. Throw your success in rejection’s face.”

Dustin Senger