Mountain Mayhem: Commencement Day

May Selby
Mountain Mayhem
George Beck, Caden Klein, JP Viola, Taiga Moore and Christian Kelly.
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Heading to the top of Buttermilk on commencement day.
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Emily Kinney and Kaelyn Kroeger.
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Tom, Edie, and Michelle Sherlock.
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All in the family – Heather, Grace, Kaelyn, Rocksy and Rocky Kroeger.
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Storey Balko (co-salutatorian) and Annika Nichols.
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Bryce Cordts-Pearce and Pearl Soderberg.
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On Saturday, June 5, Aspen High School’s class of 2021 gathered on the field at the Aspen School District campus for their commencement ceremony. Afterward, they made their way to Buttermilk to continue a new tradition of riding the Tiehack lift to the top to receive diplomas and take photos with friends and family with scenic Pyramid Peak in the distance. That evening they took part in Project Graduation programming as the final celebration of the week.

While I personally didn’t attend the momentous occasion, friends who did were so moved that they shared photos and impressions from the big day. Rocky and Heather Kroeger’s middle daughter Kaelyn was part of the graduating class and will be heading to Montana State University this fall as a freshman.

“We moved to Aspen literally the day before Kaelyn started high school and seeing her thrive in the mountains and make such wonderful friends has been truly gratifying,” Rocky shared. “Many people visit Aspen for all its beauty and recreational opportunities, but it’s also a town where you can have a home and live a real life. We hoped that would be the case and now we know that it’s actually attainable. So proud of her and all her extraordinary friends.”

Added by Kaelyn, “Aspen High School graduation was definitely one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had in my 18 years. I was astounded by the collaboration and effort put in by the Aspen School District, the parents, and everyone else that contributed; they made it amazing for the seniors and our families. Everything about the graduation was beautiful, energetic, and positive. The Project Graduation Committee made an experiential stepping stone in our lives – moving from adolescence and high school and the beginning of adulthood to embarking upon the real world at college and beyond. I talked to a couple of older family members and family friends that attended, and they all stated that it was the most magnificent high school graduation they had ever attended, so I think that says a lot about much meaning it held for all of us. We are eternally grateful.”

Echoing her husband and daughter, Heather Kroeger noted, “There are always silver linings to be found! Thinking outside the box for Covid safety, the class of 2020 had to resort to riding the chairlift to receive a ‘touchless’ diploma experience. The cool thing is this will likely remain a tradition as the backdrop of the mountain landscape on Buttermilk made for not only unforgettable and incredible scenery for picture taking, but a perfect and appropriate place to celebrate the seniors’ commencement. Buttermilk mountain is the perfect setting for such an occasion – graduation, Aspen style.”

Aspen Times Weekly

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