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A curtain call for seniors

Reid Williams

FARMER’S KORNER – The joy that comes with graduation weekend could be summed up with the senior, in cap and gown Friday night, skipping away from Summit High School all the way to her car.

The exhaustion and anxiety the final days of school bring might be exemplified best in the parents, teachers and administrators.

“It’s been a busy time getting all the grades in, getting the seniors checked out … yesterday?” co-principal Peggy Kastberg said Friday while students prepared for the celebratory Commemoration ceremony. “Or was that two days ago? It’s been a little crazy. It’ll be a nice relief when they all have their diplomas in hand.”

The whirlwind week was full of final exams, last-minute English papers, family preparations for graduation parties, and Friday night, students caught enough breath to put on one last show for their friends, relatives and teachers. Commemoration, held in the school’s auditorium, is a student-led performance of music, dance, videos, class favorites and a prelude to Saturday’s more traditional graduation procession. (See photos, page A2.)

“These kids have a lot of talent,” Kastberg said. “It takes a lot of people to make it happen and everybody gets to have fun.”

The two-hour program featured the combined choral groups singing Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” a Beethoven bass guitar solo, a saxophone duet, two vocal soloists and two dance soloists. Senior friends Lisa Wallace, Sally Gentling and Kelly Moberly presented a video they produced for the school’s production class dedicated to the young women’s friends.

“It was an assignment for class, but it turned out really well,” Wallace said. “So we wanted to show it off to our friends.”

Aurora Santos presented another video dedicated to her brother, Carlos Ebert-Santos. Ebert-Santos, a senior, was critically injured in Summit High’s homecoming football game in 2000 and has struggled the past two years to learn to walk again. The film, including footage of the quarterback as a child and his stay in the hospital, brought tears to the eyes of many in the audience and a standing ovation from the auditorium.

“I’ve been to graduations all four years, but this was definitely the most moving, the most emotional,” said senior Nate Brown.

His classmates commissioned Brown to paint a mural in the school cafeteria as part of the class gift. Brown, who also painted a mural in the school’s community room, said he was “very much looking forward to graduation Saturday.”

The highlight for the graduates and the cap to Commemoration is the senior video. The film showcases sports, dances, school events and each of the students in the class, as well as interviews about some of their favorite memories. Many students buy a copy of the video as a keepsake to compliment their yearbooks. For the production crew of Ashley Brandt, Kelly Ahern, Betsy Sodaro and Chris Schaffer, it was a high-pressure job.

“It kind of came down to the wire, and we know that it’s something everybody looks forward to,” Schaffer said. “But we stuck together and we got it done.”

Although Saturday was the end of the student’s high school career, parents said it was only the beginning. With college and a lifetime of experience yet to come, parents such as Pat and Peggy Ryan said they were happy to see the youngest of their three children graduate, but knew more challenges were in store.

“The last one’s out,” Peggy Ryan said, with a symbolic swipe of the brow.

“But it’s never over,” her husband added. “As they get older, the situations just get more complex. But, yeah, it’s a good weekend.”

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 237 or rwilliams@summitdaily.com.


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