Joy beats back the rain as Boulder County graduates celebrate

If you go

What: Boulder Valley high school graduations


Fairview High, noon Sunday, 1stBank Center, Broomfield

Arapahoe Campus, 6 p.m. Thursday, Monarch High School

Boulder Prep, 9:30 a.m. Friday, The Chateaux at Fox Meadows, Broomfield

New Vista High, 10 a.m. May 26, Chautauqua Auditorium

Gloomy skies and persistent rain could do little Saturday to dim the joy of hundreds of high school graduates as the commencement season hit full stride in Boulder County.

Boulder High School‘s ceremony was a bit soggy thanks to Saturday morning‘s steady dousing, but still filled with advice, cheers and optimism as more than 480 graduating seniors received diplomas.

Ian McGuire gives school counselor Dave Platt a hug during the Centaurus High School Commencement at Coors Events Center on CU Boulder Campus on Saturday. For more photos go to dailycamera. ()

Graduating senior Carolina Lechuga suggested embracing change, something she learned by attending eight different schools and leaving her parents to live with her sister to pursue a better education in a new country.

“Change comes so we can make the future better than the present,” she said.

Most Boulder Valley School District seniors graduate this weekend. Boulder, Peak to Peak, Centaurus, Broomfield, and Nederland high schools all held ceremonies today. Fairview seniors will graduate on Sunday.

At Boulder High, cold drizzle started just as the purple-robed seniors walked across Recht Field to take their seats in the stands.

Luke Regnier, student body president, kicked off the ceremony with humor, poking fun at graduation cliches.

He noted the graduating senior group likely included some future felons and those who would go on to rely on family trust funds and urged them to “keep your expectations low so disappointment hurts less.”

Another student speaker, Daisy Ellis, took a more serious approach, including a moment of reflection for students who are fighting to make schools safer and those who lost their lives in school shootings.

“I‘m resoundingly confident in our ability to build a world even better than the one we were born into 18 years ago,” she said.

The ceremony highlighted the seniors, with five class speakers and several student musical performances.

The senior class orchestra — huddled under a canopy of umbrellas to protect their instruments — performed “Good Riddance” and “You‘ve Got a friend in Me,” while the school‘s High Altitude Choir sang “Imagine.”

Boulder High‘s ceremony also included the traditional alumni guest speaker. Entrepreneur Max Wessell, who graduated from Boulder High in 2010, talked about the lessons he learned as a high school and college wrestler.

He suggested they search for fulfillment instead of more fleeting happiness and shared the advice of a past Boulder High coach: “If you quit, you‘ll never find out what you can do.”

From left to right, dad, Fernando Martinez, mom, Rosanna Ramirez and sisters Nicole and Emily cheer on graduate Maria Martinez Saturday at the Boulder High Commencement on Recht Field. For more photos, go to dailycamera. ()

Before presenting the diplomas, Principal James Hill joked that his email was broken in anticipation of complaints from parents unhappy that the school didn‘t use one of several back-up plans in case of bad weather.

He went on to thank staff and teachers, including the 14 staff members leaving the school at the end of the year, and the parents. For students, he urged them to remember the power of positivity and to reach out if they feel overwhelmed or alone.

“I ask that you never hesitate to ask for help when you need it,” he said. “All the people who are here and are braving the elements with you, love you.”

‘Make the most of it‘

Later on Saturday, the Coors Event Center on the University of Colorado Campus filled with family and friends of the 2018 graduating class of Centaurus High School and students, many of whom decorated their mortarboard caps with the names of college they are moving on to and the occasional bouquet of flowers.

Parents and family could be heard hooting and hollering as individual students walked onto the floor.

Student Julianna Rosling-Francisco likened the coming lives of graduating seniors to the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series of books wherein the reader can flip to various pages depending on where he or she wants the story to go. Sometimes it works out; other times it doesn‘t, but if a reader doesn‘t like the way the story is going, he or she can start over.

“The world might seem big, bad and scary,” Rosling-Francisco said. “Sometimes we just need to remember. It‘s our story, our adventure and our lives. Make the most of it, because no one likes to read a boring story.”

Angevine Middle School teacher Chad Rosin — who was recognized as a Middle School Honored Teacher — joked that the roughly 250 graduating seniors should follow their hearts in whatever they do, be that protecting kangaroos in Australia from bad drivers (like himself) or becoming a great rapper like his idol Sir-Mix-A-Lot.

“And second, I know this world needs a lot of things right now,” he said. “But in my heart, what this world needs more than anything else is more kind, compassionate, honest, empathetic people, no matter what your choice is.”