Lake County School District hosted graduation ceremonies for Lake County High School (LCHS) and Cloud City High School (CCHS) on June 4, celebrating student accomplishments and their futures.

LCHS had 39 graduates this year, and CCHS had 25. LCHS had two students achieve a seal of biliteracy, marked by red and gold cords. Five students also received associate’s degrees from Colorado Mountain College (CMC) in addition to their high school diplomas.

LCHS Principal Brian Nelson gave opening remarks with his beard dyed purple. He said it’s encouraging to know that the district is sending bright and energetic graduates into the fight for what they believe in, equipped with the knowledge and skills to truly affect change in our society if they so choose.

“It is important to remember that your future is a story untold,” said Nelson. “Nothing is predetermined and you really can achieve anything you want.”

Valedictorian Brenna Allen also addressed the crowd and discussed the meaning of education, emphasizing the value of the skills students develop through learning.

Allen said education is not about being perfect, but developing the ability to think critically as an individual.

“In this way, it doesn’t matter if you never have to factor another quadratic equation for the rest of your life,” said Allen. “The skills you develop learning to do so are what is actually important.”

Allen quoted commencement speaker Ben Cairns, who used to say “Be more like Buddha and less like morons” when he was principal at LCHS. Cairns is now vice president and campus dean at CMC.

“Spend time cultivating care of the right things and attaching to the right things, and work hard not to care about the dumb things,” said Cairns.

Cairns closed his address by acknowledging how the students had their high school experience disrupted, but overcame the challenges. “You’re resilient, smart and I’m hopeful for your impact on our families, communities and for our world.”

Graduate Desmond Sandoval gave a speech to recognize the work of the district’s teachers. “In a world today where being a teacher is increasingly scary and the job is getting more difficult, teachers are given a very heavy task on top of that,” said Sandoval. “We trust them to develop and educate the future of our world.

Maya Mendoza and V Quezada-Rodriguez gave an emotional speech in honor of the parents in the audience in both English and Spanish. The graduates gave sunflowers to their families in the audience while “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King played.

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