Hayden sends off 31 graduates

Matt Stensland

— Hayden teacher, coach and rancher Ty Zabel wasted no words telling the class of 2015 what lies ahead.

“Yes, life,” Zabel said. “That’s what you’re about to start for real.”

This year, 31 graduates walked across the stage and stepped down ready to chart their next course in life.

Many will continue their education or enter the workforce, while Koa Cash and Taylor Colding are enlisting in the military.

Zabel told all the students not to be afraid of detours in life and to not lose sight of the destination.

“In life, you can’t make a U-turn,” Zabel said. “You must move forward. There is no reverse.”

Zabel used analogies to the life of a cowboy and told the graduates to do what needs to be done.

“When you make a promise, keep it,” Zabel said. “A man is only as good as his word.”

The Hayden class of 2015 earned more than $254,000 in scholarships.

“The support these students have received is exciting,” counselor Heather Rau said.

For the first time, West Routt Fire Protection District firefighters raised $1,000 of their own money to give Tanner Guire and Chancey Graham each $500 scholarships.

Five students earned welding certifications through the school’s Babson-Carpenter Career and Technical Education Center.

Millie Delaney was recognized as this year’s valedictorian.

Throughout her speech, Delaney individually recognized classmates, such as those who moved to Hayden during high school.

“Throw yourself into things,” Delaney said.

Delaney showed pride in her town and told her classmates to make the most of what the community and life have to offer.

“Now it’s time to show the world what the kids from small-town Hayden, Colorado, are capable of doing,” Delaney said. “Honor the past, live the present and prepare for the future.”

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

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