Cortez Graduates Finish With High Spirits
The Panther Stadium bleachers overflowed with spectators as graduates from the Montezuma Cortez High School Class of 2016 filed into the stadium to the drumbeats of the the Red Sky Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Drummers.
RE-1 School superintendent Lori Haukeness introduced the ceremony, and Dr. Jason Wayman, the principal of the high school, shared his memories of the past year. After that salutatorian Rachel Zetts gave a speech sharing her optimism and hope for the graduating class and for the future, and then Cortez High School Math Teacher Susan Wisenbaker gave the guest address. She had been selected to give the address by the student body, and at the beginning of her speech she introduced herself in Spanish, Chinese, and Dineh before switching to English.
Wisenbaker went on to share her own memories of the year, and talk about the improvements that the new high school had made on the morale of the class. Valedictorian Laurel Chappell spoke after Wisenbaker's speech and the introduction of the Top 20, and mentioned some of the negative comments she and her classmates had heard throughout their time at school.
But in the rest of her speech she described the accomplishments of her classmates, including sports, band, theatre, and choir, and that they had defied those descriptions of Millennials.
The graduates were then awarded their diplomas, and acknowledged by School Board President Jack Schuenemeyer. They then lined up to sing the school song "Halls of Montezuma" before being greeted by the audience, with the song "Stressed Out" by Twenty One Pilots playing in the background.