Saying goodbye to Strawberry Park |

Saying goodbye to Strawberry Park

The Lowell Whiteman School honors its 51st graduating class

Melinda Dudley

Members of The Lowell Whiteman School's Class of 2008 share a moment after graduation Saturday. From left are Molly Leonard, Emily Polster, Lauren Ventrudo, Sophie Leonard, Whitney Holtan and Caitlin Colgan.

— As they accepted their diplomas Saturday, The Lowell Whiteman School graduates were honored for academics, athletics and – in some cases – achievements as varied as stylistic telemark skiing and being a dorm’s undisputed champion of Dance Dance Revolution.

The Lowell Whiteman School honored its 51st graduating class at commencement for its 18 members of the Class of 2008. The class is not only one of the school’s largest, but its 10 four-year seniors are the most in school history.

“I’m very excited to see what all of you do with your lives,” class-selected speaker Brady Findell said. “As a class, I think we have a heck of a lot of potential, and I’m proud to graduate with you.”

Student speakers reflected fondly on their years at Lowell Whiteman – on campus, abroad, on the slopes and in the wilderness.

“Though it will deprive you of sleep, and it will turn you into a procrastinator caffeine-junkie – trust me, I know – it goes by too fast,” Findell said.

Graduates’ unique high school experience will provide them with plenty of excellent conversation pieces, best recalled in socially awkward situations, commencement speaker Will Bishop said.

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“You can always just use the excuse ‘I went to a really small school,'” said Bishop, a 1998 Lowell Whiteman graduate and current master’s student at the University of Northern Colorado.

Although Lowell Whiteman students may have had a wholly different experience than their future collegiate peers, their teachers and their environment have taught them patience, internal motivation, compassion and creativity, Bishop said.

Each student was awarded a diploma after being honored by a faculty member they personally selected to speak to their accomplishments. Teachers reflected on students’ struggles and victories, and what made them unique.

Lauren Ladley was remembered for her strength of character, and Findell for his feisty belief that learning small details destroys intellectual curiosity.

Natay Storie was honored for the 100 points she scored in the Dolphin Olympics, and Courtney Cox for her spot-on gaper radar, used to spot awkwardly dressed people on ski slopes.

Although they will separate for the summer, all 18 members of the Class of 2008 are heading to college in the fall.

Bishop shared with them lessons learned during his years in college, warning future freshman from taking astronomy as an easy general education course and impressing upon them to attend their office hours, if only because their professors really will give them better grades.

While students were spending their final day on campus, Bishop urged them to celebrate the day and live in the moment.

“The future can wait, and you’ve all worked hard to find your feet in the exact place they sit right now,” Bishop said.

– To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203 or e-mail

The Lowell Whiteman School seniors receive big money

Out of a graduating class of 18, seven Lowell Whiteman School seniors were awarded a total of $127,800 in college scholarships.

The school also awarded the following students during a May 29 ceremony:

English award – Brady Findell, ’08

Math award – Jennings Anderson, ’08

Physical Science award – Christine Wolfe, ’10

Life Science award – Bobby Rankin, ’09

Geography and History award – Sean Kuusinen, ’09

French award – Daniel Wright, ’09

Spanish award – Lauren Ladley ’08

Technology award – Dennis Kinder, ’09

Film award – Findell and Anderson

Art award – Janis McLaughlin, ’08

Community Service award – Natay Storie, ’08

Friend to All award – Sophie Leonard, ’08

CU Outstanding Junior award – Kuusinen

Residential Student award – Kevin Allan, ’09

Competitive Ski/Snowboard award – Michael DeGrandis, ’11

Foreign Travel award – McLaughlin

Academic Dean award – McLaughlin

Steinberg Scholar award – Willow Fitzgerald, ’10

Out of the Box award – Fitzgerald

Faculty Scholarship award – Charlie Von Thaden, ’11

Colorado School of Mines award – Gavin Parsons, ’09.