Lake County School District graduated the Class of 2021 over the weekend with a ceremony honoring not only Lake County High School seniors, but also those graduating from Cloud City High School. The 139th annual commencement marked the district’s first time combining the two schools.

Lake County High School (LCHS) graduated 45 students who will take a number of different paths this year. Principal Ben Cairns said several will continue their education at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction and Colorado School of Mines in Golden. A few are headed to Wyoming, and a good portion have already earned placement in the workforce.

Cairns added that despite a difficult year with the COVID-19 pandemic in which several schools saw drops in enrollment, LCHS was able to retain nearly all of its population.

Cloud City High School (CCHS), which formed as its own entity within the Lake County School District last year, graduated 18 students. CCHS Principal Heather Moutoux said that 15 of those students are directly entering the workforce, with the other three attending a technical trade school or a two-year degree program.

Those who spoke at last weekend’s ceremony, including Class of 2021 Valedictorian Michaela Main, echoed Cairns in expressing how difficult the 2020-2021 school year was. Throughout the year, students lived an anything-but-normal experience, with virtual classes and fragmented social lives.

During her speech, Main encouraged her peers to lean on one another even after the pandemic has ended and to not forget the strength they’ve realized throughout this past year.

“We’re super proud of these kids,” said Cairns. “They made it through a tough year.”

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