CMC students will graduate Friday
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
DILLON ” Darren Atkins, a member of Colorado Mountain College’s international honor society, completed his degree while notching more than 160 snowboarding days this season.
Friday, he will celebrate graduation alongside 61 other students. He will receive an associate of science degree and was accepted at the University of Colorado where he will start in August working toward a bachelor’s degree in geology.
A resident of Dillon, Atkins moved to Summit County a veteran of the U.S. Navy. He grew up in Arvada and immediately after high school entered the military with the hopes to grow and experience the world. He was stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
And for six years he traveled and worked in rescue and sonar technology.
“The Navy definitely made me who I am now,” he said. “Discipline is half the battle with school.”
When he returned a veteran, he moved to the mountains to snowboard, enjoy the outdoors and start taking classes. That was about a year ago.
“Classes are later in the evening so I was still able to snowboard everyday,” he said with a smile. “The locations of CMC is one of the best parts.”
He’s looking forward to the next educational challenge and will be in school with his brother, Alan Seilaff, six years his junior. They will graduate at the same time. And in the future, Atkins hopes to use his degree to study volcanos and earthquakes and possibly move back to Hawaii.
However, before starting at Boulder, he is making sure to get in an outdoor adventure. This summer, he and his wife, Jessica Atkins, will spend about four or five weeks riding the entire Colorado Trail from Durango to Denver.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but it will be fun,” he said.
DILLON ” While at Colorado Mountain College working toward a new career, Wes Hyde watched how an online purchase drastically changed the life of one of his friends. As a result of that purchase, someone stole his friend’s identity.
Now, more than a year and piles of money later, his friend is just starting to get her life back together, he said. Hyde, an information, data and technology security student, realized then that he wanted to enter an aspect of the field he is studying to help protect people from similar situations.
“Everything is becoming virtual based. … There are so many caveats people have to be aware of to be safe online,” said Hyde who will be the master of ceremonies at CMC’s graduation tonight at the Keystone Conference Center.
He moved to Summit County in 1988 from Lakewood where he grew up, took EMT and paramedic classes and received his first degree from CMC. For several years, he worked as a supervisor at Summit County Ambulance Service.
However, even as a child he had always enjoyed technology. So two years ago, with the encouragement of those around him, he decided to go back to school.
“The quality of instructors has really impressed me,” said Hyde, giving the example of his math classes. Before he never liked the subject and now it is something he truly enjoys. “There are some brilliant minds here.”
Hyde, who lives in Silverthorne with his wife, Kristi, is also a full-time student at Regis University. And this past semester, between Regis and CMC, he took 25 credit hours while working three jobs.
He is the network administrator for Peak Performance Copier and Supply, a part-time paramedic and part-time system analyst for Centura at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center.
He is hoping to have his two bachelor’s degrees from Regis in computer science and computer networking this time next year and then pursue a master’s degree and possibly a doctorate.
After graduating, there are a number of avenues he’s considering, but whatever he decides, he wants to be able to help people understand technology security and not experience the crime that left his friend having to put her life back together.
“I can’t think of a worse torture,” he said, shaking his head.
The degree he is receiving, an associate of applied science Cisco networking technology, is a new one at the college. “I’m really glad they offer this sort of educational path … I think the variety is great,” he said.
COPPER MOUNTAIN ” Scott Randolph moved to Summit County as a ski instructor, but discovered his calling when he starting volunteering with the fire department nearly 20 years ago.
Now, he has been the chief at Copper Mountain Consolidated Metro District Copper Mountain Fire for 11 years. And since 1989 when he took an introduction to fire science class at Colorado Mountain College, he’s been working toward an associate of applied science degree in fire science technology.
Tonight, Randolph, who has taught fire science classes at the college, will be among those in blue graduation gowns honored for their educational achievement at CMC’s ceremony at the Keystone Conference Center.
Throughout the years, Randolph used the college as a resource when he needed it. One class in particular that required him to design fire apparatus, helped him when he was ordering the $850,000 worth of equipment ” two engines and a Hummer ” for the department about 10 years ago.
“There’s a lot of very interesting classes that you’ve got to take,” said Randolph who will be celebrating his graduation with wife, Susan, and daughters, Alexis, 25, and Hallie, 17.
“It’s a finish,” he later added about the degree. “I’m done with that page, but the learning never stops with fire science.”
Randolph, who was born in Wisconsin, moved around quite a bit growing up and finished high school in Evergreen. After that, he began college in Durango before an advanced skiing class drew him to the mountains. He spent 14 years as an instructor, which included time as the director at Wolf Creek Ski Area, and then finishing up at Copper Mountain Ski Resort.
He started volunteering with the fire department to contribute to the community, he said. Now, he is working on a major project of his career ” the new fire station that will celebrate a groundbreaking this month.
“That’s a 10 year project,” he said pointing to the design.
It should be complete in about a year and at that time, Randolph is hoping the current building will get to be used for fire or rescue training before it is raised.
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