An unmatched class at AHS |

An unmatched class at AHS

Steve Benson

There was something different about the 92 graduates staring out at a sea of friends and family at Aspen High on Saturday – something that didn’t quite fit the clique-ridden, ordinary image of a high school class.

They certainly looked like the typical group of slightly awkward, excited 18-year-olds, each searching for their own identities and self-expressions – short hair and long hair, flip-flops and high heels.

Even on paper, they fit the image of a normal class of high school graduates, with the assorted collection of honor students, athletes, musicians and class clowns.

And like every class of graduates, they identified themselves as unique and special.

But what’s unusual about this class is that they actually may be.

One speaker after another discussed the uniqueness of the class, but just how, or why, it was different remained a mystery.

Graduate Katie Hyman, who delivered the salutatory address, said she “did not find an answer to the question.”

Other speakers, including Valedictorian Katie Cumnock, also discussed the character of the class, but couldn’t discern what made it unique.

Maybe they were looking too hard.

Following the ceremony, which was held at the Aspen Music Tent, the fresh graduates mingled outside with friends, family and each other – there were no cliques. When some were asked to define their class, each graduate had a similar response. Here are a few:

“We’re all pretty different, but really close,” Sean French said. “Every single kid is a friend.

“Whether we’re in school, or ditching school, we’re always hanging out together.”

Alina Roberts: “We’re all individuals, and we’re not afraid to speak up in support of each other. Some of us have known each other since the hospital beds.”

Stefan Zedlacher: “We’re all so diverse, but we have good common grounds in our beliefs. We don’t take a lot too seriously – we try to enjoy life.”

Scott Evans: “We’re a bunch of individuals, but we all get along. Most of us have been together since kindergarten.”

Trevor Clapper: “We love each other. We’ve gotten over the clique thing – we know we’re all the same.”

Paul Andersen, a local journalist who delivered the commencement speech, spoke with several members of the class prior to graduation. What he found, he said, was a group well ahead of the curve.

“They really know what’s going on,” said Andersen, an Aspen Times columnist, following the ceremony.

“They get it.”

Steve Benson’s e-mail address is

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