Soroco graduates 24 in Saturday commencement | SteamboatToday.com

Soroco graduates 24 in Saturday commencement

Austin Colbert

— On the outside, Soroco High School seniors Cala McCollum and Kali Constine looked as if they had everything under control during Saturday's 2016 class graduation in Oak Creek.

And to their credit, each of their speeches — McCollum's as valedictorian and Constine’s as salutatorian — were delivered with the efficiency of an experienced orator. But, below the surface, it was anything but calm waters.

"You have no idea how nervous I was," Constine said. "I don't do a lot of public speaking, so I was like shaking and just trying to hold my voice steady. But I think it went really well. It's exciting. We are finished, but we've been waiting for this for so long."

Soroco celebrated the graduation of 24 seniors inside the high school gymnasium, a class that, to date, has brought in more than $200,000 in scholarships. Among the biggest hauls is a $60,000 academic scholarship for Chance Beaty, who plans to study astrophysics at Carthage College in Wisconsin.

Also bringing in a sizable scholarship was Storm Veilleux, who was awarded $52,000 to attend Cedarville University in Ohio. The son of a pharmacist, Veilleux plans to go into nursing, at least initially.

"They kept sending me letters, and I kept ignoring them. Finally, I decided to give them a chance," Veilleux said of choosing Cedarville. "I was going to go for pharmacy, because they've got a good pharmacy program, but I was thinking about it, and I kind of want to be a missionary, too. It's harder to be a pharmacist out in other countries, and it would be easier to get a job as a nurse around the world."

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Sabrina Ray earned the third-largest scholarship among graduates with a $38,000 award, which she will use to attend Hawaii Pacific University to study marine biology.

Constine, the class vice president and three-sport athlete, also plans to enter the medical field, but will remain closer to home. She will attend Colorado State University next fall with the goal of becoming a pediatrician.

"My grandpa is a doctor, so I've always kind of liked the medical field," Constine said. "It started my freshman year. I just knew that's what I wanted to do. Which is good. It kind of gave me some motivation to do well in class."

As the class valedictorian, McCollum is taking a less traditional academic route. She will attend Colorado Mesa University in the fall to earn her associate's degree in baking and pastry, with the dream of owning her own store in Grand Junction.

"I've just always loved it and have the passion and the dream to open up a bakery," McCollum said. "I've just always been passionate about baking. It started with my best friend. I would go over to her house, and we would bake a lot."

Absent from graduation was class president Eric Logan, who is competing in the Colorado State High School Rodeo Association finals in Lamar this weekend. Logan, who is headed to Odessa College in Texas on a full ride-scholarship and will become part of the college rodeo team, delivered the closing remarks via video.

The remainder of Soroco's 2016 graduating class includes Benjamin Bratton, Lucy Carlson, Matthew Childers, Shad Covalt, Chandler Crawford, AshLee Gingerich, Morgin Harding, Warren Hayes, Megan Kelliher, Jackie Montgomery, Tristan Paxton, Briana Peterson, Devan Pryor, Shannon Ragan, Shiloh Rozell, Taylore Schalnus, Tanner Tritz and Tyler Wofford.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert

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