Gateway graduate enjoys power of one

Rusty Sanford will have it easy when planning high school class reunions for the next couple decades because he would be the only one coming to any of them. Heck, he’d be the only one invited.

On Monday, Sanford graduated from Gateway School as the lone member of the Class of 2009.

“Everybody around here thinks it’s kind of cool that I’m the only one in my class,”
Sanford said. “Except my sister. I think she’s jealous.”

Actually, Sanford had enough credits to graduate last year, but he decided to stay in high school. He used this past year to take culinary arts classes at Western Colorado Community College.

Sanford drove to Grand Junction five times a week for classes at WCCC.

After culinary arts school, a two-year program, Sanford plans to enlist in the U.S. Navy.

Sanford’s interest in the military was reflected in the class motto, “Live Fast, Fight Hard.”

He picked the motto without class discussion because he was the only one who voted on what the motto would be.

Same for class flower — black rose — and class colors — black and lime green.

Per tradition, Aggie Wareham presented every Gateway graduate with a homemade quilt from Wayside Chapel.

Sanford proudly accepted his lime green and black quilt.

“We are proud of our high school graduates whether it’s a class of one or 12,” Wareham said.

Like Sanford, Wareham was the only graduate in her class in — the Gateway Class of 1949.

Sanford said he enjoyed being the center of attention as he sat on stage next to School District 51 administrators and School Board members Monday.

”I liked going here because I was friends with everyone,” Sanford said.

Gateway residents enjoyed Monday’s ceremony, but they may have to wait two years for another graduation party because there were no juniors this past school year.

Sanford isn’t worried about future graduations. He’s ready to move on with his life, including the planning of future high school reunions. He already has an idea where the
Gateway Class of 2009 — him — will meet in 10 years for the first reunion.

“Hawaii would be nice,” he said. “Or Cancun.”


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