A mountaintop sendoff for Peak School seniors

Peak School seniors ride on a Copper Mountain Resort ski lift to celebrate their graduation Friday, May 27. The school graduated seven seniors this year.
Tripp Fay/Summit Daily News

Gratitude, reciprocity and community were the tenants of the Peak School’s graduation. The seven seniors graduating Friday at the foot of Copper Mountain Resort heard these words at the end of an unprecedented time to learn.

“During your four years in high school, which were my years in college, we lived through a lot of personal and societal trouble,” keynote speaker and 2017 alumnus Grant Morgan said. “And I see that. Going to high school when you did was not easy.”

Despite the challenges, the students made the most of their high school experience.

“Our seniors really have tried to take advantage of the limited opportunities they have,” head of school Travis Aldrich said.

The seven graduating seniors completed a range of senior projects during the COVID-19 pandemic, from making an animated movie to raising awareness for ​​chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Each one combined a personal interest with an area of study.

“These are kids that are trying to figure out how to operate under these new guidelines and create experiences for themselves that are truly unique,” Aldrich said.

Families could ride with graduates at the Peak School’s graduation Friday.
Tripp Fay/Summit Daily News

Morgan tied each student’s project to two ideas — gratitude and reciprocity — and the Peak School annual guiding question, “What impacts community?”

“Good communities don’t make themselves … and we all have to do our part to keep it going,” Morgan said.

Graduate Maximillian Duffy raised awareness for traumatic brain injuries, making the world a little bit safer for those around him, Morgan said.

Graduate Jessica Canter made an animated movie and gave it to the world for others to enjoy.

Graduate Lucas Caniglia made a business plan for a guided fly fishing business.

Graduate Kamilla Stone traveled to Costa Rica and connected cultures.

Graduate Jacob Hood learned about the manufacturing of skis and making goods for others.

Graduate Chaney Walker became a certified yoga teacher and helped others feel calm and present in their bodies.

Graduate Alexander Elston learned foreign language, and, as Morgan said, reciting an Arabic proverb, “Learn a language and you avoid a war.”

Each student selected a representative to speak on their behalf. They could choose a friend, teacher, councilor or someone else with a personal connection. Speakers highlighted unique personal traits, hardships and quirks about each student.

Students also received tote bags intended to carry toiletries for the students headed off to college dorms. The students from this class are headed to Colorado State University, Westminster College, Colorado Mountain College, Utah State University and Full Sail University. Some will be taking a gap year.

“Peak cultivates a special and unique human, and nothing defines that better than this class,” teacher Steven Craig said.

Following speeches, students and families hopped on Copper’s Super Bee lift to receive their diploma at the top of the mountain. The novel tradition began during the pandemic to keep the event outdoors and socially distanced. The tradition continued this year with the addition of in-person speeches and gatherings.

“One of the nice things about this format is that you graduate, get your diploma and then as you’re coming down everyone’s coming up and they can cheer for you on the way down,” Aldrich said.


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