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VRHS Graduates Encouraged to "Take Calculated Risk to Build and Dream"

More than 360 Vista Ridge High School graduates received diplomas May 27 during a commencement ceremony at Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs.

“If you can find your own personal missions, you will find happiness,” said Mike Pickering, POWER Zone leader, in a welcome to the Class of 2017.

“This class is pretty resilient,” said Evan Mahon, student body president, standing before his classmates and hundreds of family and friends. “Strive to be the best version of yourself.”

“Fly through turbulence and soar.”

“This class is full of accomplishments,” said Bruce Grose, principal. “There are too many to list here, but I’d I’ve broken them down into three categories, academics, arts and clubs, and athletics.”

According to Grose, the graduates earned 137 academic letters, the most in school history. The group took more than 123 advanced placement courses and had 27 members of the National Honors Society.

The Class of 2017 excelled at art, earning best in show at the District 49 art show in the 2D and 3D categories. The marching band earned the school’s first state finalist qualification. VRHS choirs earned a superior rating for large group at state.

Athletically, the Wolves recently the boys’ track and field team earned three sprint relay state championships and the school’s second boys’ track and field team state championship. Nearly two dozen student athletes earned athletic scholarships.

“You must take the calculated risk to build and dream, to fail and to succeed,” said Alexander Stallings, valedictorian, in an address to his classmates.

“Try not to trade freedom for goodness and not your dignity for a handout.”

“Face the world boldly and say, ‘This I have done,’” said Alexander. “This is what it means to be an American.”

Each year, the VRHS graduating class selects an educator to provide the faculty address. Jordan Kober, Spanish instructor, was chosen to address the Class of 2017.

“Thanks for choosing me and my awkwardness to speak to you today,” said Jordan.

“I have revised this speech probably a dozen times. If 300 seconds is all I have to make an impact on you, this better be good. So here you go.”

“I want to leave you with a piece of my soul, that is my objective here today,” he said.

“There have been countless days when I have failed at this job,” said Jordan. “Guys, three minutes ago they called my name and I didn’t even stand up!”

“I want you to wrap your heads around the fact that you are probably going to fail a lot in the next decade. It’s how we figure out what we want in life.”

“To everyone that wrestles with self-doubt, let it go,” he said. “You are enough.”

“There is light inside of every single one of you.”

“I’m telling you guys straight up,” said Kober. “Life is hard, you will fail a lot."

“Fail forward. Fail forward. Fail forward again and again.”

“Go live the life that you want to live,” he said in conclusion. “Do you because nobody has ever done it like you.”

Matt Meister