De Beque seniors each personally recognized during commencement

De Beque High School’s three graduates relax on stage Saturday as they watch video presentations of each other during the ceremony. From left are Dakota White, Dusty Daniels and David Aiuto.

It’s a thought that infuses every milestone event at a small school, every moment when the kids are exceptional and the town gathers to acknowledge them.

Saturday morning, De Beque School District 49-JT Superintendent Alan Dillon expressed that thought aloud: “It takes a whole village to raise our children.”

Behind him on the stand, David Aiuto, Dusty Daniels and Dakota White — the De Beque High School class of 2014 — were resplendent in their royal blue caps and gowns, smiling at the gathered family, friends and community who could not have been more proud.

Theirs was a graduation in which parents and grandparents accompanied them across the stage to receive their diplomas, in which heartfelt hugs for teachers, administrators and school board members replaced the often perfunctory handshakes usually seen at graduations.

“All three of you have an incredible capacity for compassion and for love,” English teacher Michael Zimmerle told the graduates during his commencement address. “Don’t ever lose that. If there’s one thing our world needs now, it is compassion, it is understanding and it is critical thought.”

Remarking on what he said makes each young man special, Zimmerle noted White’s love of music and the arts.

“Some people might say Dakota wears his heart or his emotions on his sleeve and I say, good,” Zimmerle said.

“Dusty has the capacity to see patterns, to see ways of thinking, to see connections between some of the strangest things. He’s experienced some big changes in his life and he’s handled them with a grace that puts us all to shame.

“And David, not only is he incredibly smart, he’s been a leader since the day he was born. People look at and look to him for direction and leadership. He has the ability to look into worlds that are not our own.”

In his valedictory address, Daniels compared high school to a labyrinth that the three had navigated with their choices, “but now there are no more walls, it’s all open fields,” he said.

“Our possibilities are endless. We have overcome the labyrinth. Congratulations to us and congratulations to our fresh start.”


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