‘We are the Tigers. … This is our time’

JD Swartendruber GJHS Grad is a happy camper.

Urged on to reach for greatness by its co-valedictorians, the Grand Junction High School Class of 2009 graduated Tuesday at Stocker Stadium.

Looking out on the rest of the class of 330, one of the valedictorians, Olivia Moran, said she saw greatness and urged her classmates to improve the lives of people around the world and of generations yet unborn.

“We are Tigers,” said Moran, who led the effort to rebuild and improve the school’s outdoor commons. “This is our time.”

Moran plans to attend the University of Denver.

Kate Lenahan, the other valedictorian, urged her classmates to seize the moment.

“Don’t become too caught up in the past or in the future,” said Lenahan, who plans to attend Sarah Lawrence College. “You’ll miss what’s happening right now.”

Graduates Eric Law and Kalinda Theobold performed songs they wrote for graduation.

“The future holds so much for us, if we only dare to dream,” Theobold sang as several classmates waved flowers in time with the music. “The road may look impossible, but things are never as they seem.”

Theobold had long wanted to compose a graduation song, and she wrote it in a single take.

Theobold will attend Mesa State College, where she plans to major in music education and vocal performance.

Graduate Chris Rivera said he also plans to attend Mesa State to major in history. His eventual goal is a master’s degree.

“I want to stay in Grand Junction,” he said.

Graduate J.J. Aragon said he wants to attend Mesa State for a year to get his basic education requirements out of the way at less expense and then major in engineering at Arizona State University.

Brionne Griffin, the senior class president, didn’t know until April where she would go to college until she was called down to the office, where her mother was waiting.

“I thought I was in trouble,” she said, but her mother instead exclaimed, “You got it!”

“It” is a Daniels Scholarship, and Griffin said she will study broadcast journalism at the University of Texas.


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