Caps fly as 158 graduates are sent off |

Caps fly as 158 graduates are sent off

— Sunglasses and sun-shading umbrellas were the preferred accessories during Saturday’s Steamboat Springs High School graduation ceremony.

Under clear skies and temperatures in the 70s, the school this year decided to move commencement ceremony from the gym to Gardner Field to send off its 158 graduates.

Scholars Charles Beurskens and Logan Sankey were chosen as this year’s distinguished speakers and offered words of wisdom to their graduating class.

“It’s OK if you fail,” Beurskens said. “It’s preferred that you fail because — well — that’s the only way we’ll make progress.”

Beurskens will be attending Northeastern University in Boston.

Sankey, a U.S. ski jumping team member who will be attending Dartmouth College, urged her classmates to build relationships by taking advantage of opportunities.

“We are the class of 2016, and we will thrive,” she said.

Before Doug Tumminello’s daughter, Alexandra, walked across the stage to receive her diploma, the local adventurer delivered the commencement address.

Tumminello was part of a eight-person team to row 3,600 miles in the Indian Ocean. He also had led an expedition to Mount Everest and attempted to ski across the Antarctic to the South Pole.

“In your adventures, recognize there are obstacles along the way,” Tumminello said. ” Not every adventure will be successful, and that’s OK.”

Tumminello spoke about his life experiences and how gifts come from challenges.

Tumminello was on track to become an elite Army Green Beret in the early 1990s when he lost his job due to staffing cuts.

“It was a dreary, dark and sobering time in my life,” Tumminello said.

The challenging time would lead to a successful career as an attorney and the opportunity to explore the outdoors. He also met the love of his life and raised a family.

Steamboat Springs School District Superintendent Brad Meeks spoke about the graduating class’s accomplishments.

He said graduates received 160 local scholarships worth more than $160,000. The graduates will be attending college in 28 states, with 70 percent going to four-year schools.

The class received an impressive 2,202 acceptance letters from colleges. With each student averaging 40 hours of community service, Meeks described the class of 2016 as intelligent, athletic and having a willingness to give back to the community.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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