Clear Creek graduates celebrate accomplishments, reflect on unique high school experience

Corinne Westeman
cwesteman@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 5/22/21

The Class of 2021 lost some of those little moments that make up the high school experience. But, each loss taught Clear Creek High School seniors the value of love, valedictorian Elsie Gothman …

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Clear Creek graduates celebrate accomplishments, reflect on unique high school experience

Posted

The Class of 2021 lost some of those little moments that make up the high school experience.

But, each loss taught Clear Creek High School seniors the value of love, valedictorian Elsie Gothman posited.

“COVID helped us learn who we are,” she said. “ … We chose happiness on the hard and easy days.”

Gothman and her 50 classmates received their diplomas and turned their tassels Saturday morning at Clear Creek's graduation ceremony at Golddigger Stadium. Several graduates said they appreciated having the ceremony outside on the new field and celebrating with their families and the community as a whole.

“I'm just happy to be here,” Ceci Davies said. “ … I'm excited to be done with high school.”

Members of the Class of 2021 had to handle unique challenges during their junior and senior years. During the ceremony, Hugh Pettitt-Kenney described how it was difficult for them to decide their futures while navigating COVID-19 procedures.

Clay Robertson felt that the experience only brought his classmates closer together. High school felt so long in the moment, he described, but now it feels like it passed in the blink of an eye.

Kiefer Zabel listed this year's prom as a highlight of his high school experience, because it was an opportunity for everyone to celebrate together, especially after last year's prom was canceled.

“For the most part, we were able to enjoy things,” Zabel said, “just in a different fashion.”

He added that he and his classmates were defined by their ability to break down walls and not be held back.

Members of the Class of 2021 will need that determination and bravery as they begin new chapters in their life, parent and commencement speaker Laura Robertson told the graduates during the ceremony. She advised them to dream big and embrace whatever happens next.

“The adventure begins now,” she said.

Robertson and Principal Chris Gould both thanked the graduates' family members in their speeches, and instructed the graduates to appreciate their parents and others who helped them reach this point.

In the stands, parents Dan Costello and Faith Costello-Wolff cheered for their son, Reno Wolff, who's pursuing a career as a mechanic.

Faith described how remote learning was very difficult for Reno, and she was both excited and relieved to see him earn his diploma Saturday.

Since moving to Blue Valley from Wisconsin two years ago, the family has enjoyed seeing new traditions form at Clear Creek High School. Both Faith and Dan said they liked Friday's graduation parade through Idaho Springs, with Faith saying, “It lets the community be a part of (the celebration).”

Dan said his post-graduation advice to Reno would be not to take life too seriously

Faith counseled: “Hard work always pays off.”

Also among those smiling in the audience was Evergreen's Paula Egan and her husband, who were supporting their granddaughter Naomi Egan.

Naomi will be attending the Laguna College of Art and Design in California next semester, Paula said, describing her as a very talented artist. In addition to designing the commencement programs' artwork, Naomi has done other projects around the community, Paula described.

Paula added that her advice to Naomi would be to remember her family and to keep following her goals.

“She's such a sweet girl,” she continued. “ … We're very proud of her.”

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