Fruita Monument sends off class of 418

Fruita Monument High School graduate Aliczander Boice, who compiled a 3.7 grade-point average despite being abandoned by his mother and stepfather, shakes hands with School District 51 board member Harry Butler while receiving a diploma.

Throngs of families and well-wishers Tuesday night at Stocker Stadium didn’t include the parents of graduate Aliczander Edward Boice.

And that was just fine by him.

“Really, I just have apathy toward them,” said Boice, 18, who walked with Fruita Monument High School’s class of 2010.

In the middle of Boice’s junior year, he walked into a school office in January 2009 with news his counselor hadn’t heard before from a student: Boice’s mother and stepfather had left town, leaving Boice behind and providing no explanation as to why or where they were headed. They remain estranged.

“I was supposed to go pick up my tax returns that day, and when I came home, they were gone,” Boice said. “It wasn’t very easy the first two to three months, but over the summer I guess I just got back on my feet and did it.”

Boice walked Tuesday night among what Fruita Monument Principal Jody Mimmack claimed to be western Colorado’s largest graduating high school class, 418 graduates, whose supporters brought an overflow crowd and forced some onlookers to stand in the first-base line bleachers of Suplizio Field.

Class valedictorian Chad Hotimsky told the crowd the class was the first to have also completed Fruita’s 8/9 School, while bragging that Fruita Monument students comprised nearly half of the crowd of honorees at a recent School District 51 ceremony recognizing graduates with 4.0 grade-point averages.

“Take a moment to appreciate how far you’ve come,” Hotimsky told classmates.

Boice, chief among them.

Catharine Mudd, a Fruita Monument counselor who worked with Boice, said the boy stayed with several families in the immediate aftermath of being abandoned, before settling in the home of Kim and Greg Mueller. Boice still lives with the couple. Boice’s parents never contacted school officials after they left town, Mudd said.

Holding down several jobs while minding his 3.7 GPA, Boice was left with worries different from any other student she’s worked with over six years, Mudd said.

“He had to track down his birth certificate, a new Social Security card just to get his driver’s license,” she said. “But you wouldn’t have known what was going on just looking at him, and I’d bet many of his teachers didn’t know his story.”

Boice successfully applied for a $6,000 scholarship at Mesa State College, where he aims to major in business.

“There are a lot of resilient kids out there who persevere, but he kind of epitomizes the kid who could have gone one way or another,” Mudd said. “There was no wavering with him.”


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