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Monday, September 20, 2021

100 set to graduate in Saturday ceremonies

Photo courtesy Sally Riggs
The Pagosa Springs High School class of 2021 gathers for the traditional class photo recently. The Saturday, June 5, commencement ceremony is slated to include the graduation of 84 students.

By Randi Pierce
Staff Writer

An anticipated 100 Archuleta School District (ASD) seniors will graduate in a pair of ceremonies Saturday, July 5.

Pagosa Springs High School

The first of the day’s ceremonies will be for Pagosa Springs High School (PSHS), with 84 students set to graduate in a ceremony beginning at 10 a.m. at Golden Peaks Stadium.

Due to continuing COVID-19 precautions, the ceremony will be by invitation only, PSHS Principal Sean O’Donnell explained.

Each graduate, he noted, is allowed to invite up to 10 friends and family members to attend, and the current guidelines for outdoor events will be following, meaning individuals who are vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear a mask, while masks are recommended for those who are not vaccinated. 

PSHS’s class of 2021 chose a motto befitting their final high school years: “Control the Controllable.”

The senior class flower is the lavender, and the students chose “Break My Stride” by Matthew Wilder as their senior class song.

Darian Dominguez earned the distinction of being the class valedictorian, and Ivory Carpenter earned the title of salutatorian.

Cam Hinger is the head boy and Maya Nasralla is the head girl.

Senior class officers included Kylie Keuning, president, and Ella Blechman, vice president.

“It is hard to put into words how proud I am of the class of 2021,” O’Donnell wrote in a statement to The SUN. “They have persevered through their senior year while so many of the things they looked forward to were taken away. I know the graduating class of 2021will go on to great things, and on behalf of all the staff at PSHS, I would like to say good luck and we love you!”

San Juan Mountain School

Later that day, at 3 p.m., San Juan Mountain School (SJMS), Archuleta School District’s new alternative high school, will present its inaugural graduating class, at the PSHS auditorium.

According to SJMS Principal Stewart Bellina, the inaugural graduating class is anticipated to be 16 seniors, with the ceremony having no attendance restrictions.

As its class motto, the SJMS seniors chose a quote by Nova Ephron: “Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead.”

The class chose lilacs as its class flower, and the students chose “Good Feeling” by Flo Rida as their class song.

Nick Roth earned the distinction of being the class valedictorian, while Kellen Wilkison is the academic salutatorian and Caleb Calabaza is the 6-pillar salutatorian.

“I don’t think anybody expected us to have 16 students in our first graduating class, and I could not be more proud,” Bellina wrote to The SUN. “I’m not sure of the last time Archuleta School District graduated over 100 students, and this weekend they will, thanks in part to our numbers. Not only am I proud of our graduates, but I am equally as proud of each of our underclassmen and our staff, Scott White, Andy Guinn, and Krisha Fuchs, who helped create such a successful school during such a crazy year. As a result of their hard work, we know we are effectively supporting the Archuleta School District’s vision of providing an engaging and well-rounded education to every student. By placing valuable resources into San Juan Mountain School, the district has proven it truly cares for all the students in our community.”

For more information on the class of 2021, see next week’s issue of The SUN.

randi@pagosasun.com

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