This week is packed with turning tassels as area high school seniors bid farewell to high school with commencement exercises.

For those wanting to join those seniors as they move into the bright future, here is a graduation guide.

Congratulations to the class of 2019!


8:30 a.m. Monday, May 20, Stocker Stadium, 12th Street and North Avenue

Graduates: 280.

Commencement address: Phil Johnston, STEM teacher at Central High School.

Distinguished scholar: Josue Acevedo.

Details: If all the handicapped parking spots are filled, individuals can be dropped off in the loop near those spots or seek help from security personnel who will be driving golf carts around the parking lot and who can help you to the stadium.

There will be handicapped seating along the track and in the breezeway below the stadium's hospitality suite.


6:30 p.m. Monday, May 20, Stocker Stadium, 12th Street and North Avenue

Graduates: 220.

Speakers: The guest of honor will be Carly Harper, the class of 2004 valedictorian. Harper attended the University of Portland and New York University and is a senior clinical research project manager for a cancer research company. She also does stand-up comedy.

Valedictorian: Gareth Rader.

Details: Seating is available in the stadium's hospitality suite, where the ceremony will be live-streamed and light dessert and beverages will be served. Tickets cost $15–$25. Contact the school for information.


8:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 21, Stocker Stadium, 12th Street and North Avenue

Graduates: 280.

Speakers: Makayla Moran, valedictorian; Anela Cronk, senior class president; and Diane Sirko, District 51 interim superintendent.

Details: The class song is "Time of My Life" by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes.


7 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, Stocker Stadium, 12th Street and North Avenue

Graduates: 383.

Speakers: Trystan Carruth, valedictorian; Ernesto Vargas, senior class president; Stele Pavlovsky, teacher of the year; Todd McClaskey, principal; and Diane Sirko, District 51 interim superintendent.

Details: American Sign Language signing will be available during the entire ceremony. A student will sign the national anthem and a Fruita staff member will sign the remainder of the commencement.


9 a.m. Thursday, May 23, Caprock Academy, 714 24 1/2 Road, south field

Graduates: 20.

Speakers: Kylie Drake, valedictorian; Sierra McPherson, student body president; and Raluca Liles, former faculty member who will be flying in from Dallas.

Details: Park in the school's south parking lot, which will be closest to the graduation site.


10 a.m. Thursday, May 23, Avalon Theatre, 645 Main St.

Graduates: 45.

Speakers: Seniors Bailey Myers and Emily Simpson.

Special recognition: Senior Destyn Steer will receive a certificate of completion for welding from Western Colorado Community College.

Details: There will be two recipients of the school's Against All Odds award that will be presented by Nicki Hunn.


2 p.m. Thursday, May 23, University Center Ballroom at Colorado Mesa University

Graduates: 21.

Speakers: Retired U.S. Army Maj. Patrick Stobbe will be the special speaker. Stobbe served in special operations. One of his children was commissioned last week and another is in special ops training. Most of his children were graduates of the Mesa Valley program.

Details: Four graduates have a 4.0 or higher GPA and over half the class has 3.75 or higher GPA. During commencement a video will be shown with photos and music selected by each graduate. A reception will follow the ceremony.

Parking is available in the University Center garage off 12th Street and area parking lots.


6 p.m. Thursday, May 23, Gateway Community Center, 43200 Colorado Highway 141, Gateway

Graduates: Morgan Hamm and Aubrie Swezey.

Speaker: Jane Burton, retired teacher.

Details: A number of District 51 board members will attend as will Diane Sirko, interim superintendent.

The class quote is "Every moment matters; class song, "Strange" by LP; class flower, sunflower.


9:30 a.m. Friday, May 24, Brownson Arena, Colorado Mesa University

Graduates: 120 (The official number may change before gradation.)

Speakers: Five graduates will tell their stories during the ceremony.

Details: The Mount Garfield Middle School band will perform for the processional and recessional. The Central High School Color Guard also will be at the ceremony. Parking is available in the lots and parking garage east of the arena.


4 p.m. Saturday, May 25, De Beque High School main gym, 730 Minter Ave., De Beque

Graduates: 18.

Speakers: Jentery Largent, valedictorian; Nataly Castro, salutatorian; and Dustin Sandidge, school board president.

Details: During the ceremony a video will be shown featuring photos of each graduate growing up while music he or she selected is playing. There also will be scholarship announcements and the giving of Gratitude Stoles.

Each graduate has written a letter of gratitude to someone they are grateful for. Those letters were transferred to the fabric of stoles and during commencement the graduates will present the stoles to the people to whom they wrote the letters.


11 a.m. Saturday, May 25, Plateau Valley School auditorium, 56600 Colorado Highway 330

Graduates: 24 (This is one of the school's biggest classes).

Speakers: The class valedictorian and salutatorian.

Details: The class will show a 15-minute video created from interviews the students did with school staff — most have known the graduates since kindergarten — with memories, advice and well-wishes.

Those attending the graduation should enter the school through the side door by the gym. After the commencement ceremony, the graduates will be in the gym to meet and greet family and friends.


Arrive early.

Carpool if you can, and don't be afraid to park north of North Avenue. Watch for pedestrians while finding that parking spot.

And wear walking shoes just in case the spot you find isn't as close to the stadium as you would like.

Again, arrive early.


If the graduation you are attending is outside, putting on sunscreen and having a bottle of water with you are good ideas.

If you don't find sitting on a metal chair or bleachers for hours all that comfortable, you also may want to bring a cushion to sit on.

No fireworks.

No alcohol, cigarettes, cigars or vaping.

No pets (service animals are permitted).

No confetti guns or confetti, please! It costs thousands of dollars to vacuum up the confetti from the field at Stocker Stadium.


School District 51 graduations taking place at Stocker Stadium will offer live-stream video at The link will activate 15 minutes before each commencement ceremony.

Following each graduation, the video will be posted to and can be downloaded for viewing.

The district will not have DVDs of graduations available this year.


Do you have family and friends in town and need something entertaining to do?

Here are some suggestions:

■ The Four Peaks Downtown Music Festival + Grand Junction Off-Road wraps up today. You'll find music and the vendor expo open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Main Street. The bluegrass/Americana band Stray Grass will play from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the Main stage on Fourth Street. Grand Junction Off-Road awards will begin at 1 p.m.   Info:

■ Also wrapping up today is the Grand Valley Scottish Games and Celtic Festival from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mesa County Fairgrounds, 2785 U.S. Highway 50. You'll find heavy athletics (think caber toss, stone throw), pipe bands Whisky Tasting, live entertainment, games for children and more. Tickets and info:

■ Stray Grass will lead off the Music in the Grapevines concert series at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Two Rivers Winery and Chateau, 2087 Broadway. Gates open at 6 p.m. Take chair and a picnic, purchase wine at the event and enjoy yourself. Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased at the winery and at The Art Center, 1803 N. Seventh St.

■ The Rhythms For Africa concert featuring Hazel Miller will be Wednesday at Two Rivers Winery and Chateau, 2087 Broadway. A reception will go from 6–7 p.m. with the concert from 7–10 p.m. Take a chair, purchase food and drinks and check out the silent auction at this concert to benefit HopeWest Africa Partnership. Tickets cost $30. Info:

■ Grand Valley Food Truck Friday will be 5:30–8:30 p.m. Friday at Lincoln Park, 910 N. 12th St. Place your order at one of the food trucks there and then relax and listen to live music from the Terry and Roger Duo. Info:

■ If you are a blues, R&B, funk or jazz fan, then check out Cup-A-Jo playing at  7:30 p.m. Saturday at the KAFM Radio Room, 1310 Ute Ave. Bittersweet Highway will open the show. Tickets cost $18.

Info or tickets:

■ Take in a baseball game in the Junior College World Series (JUCO) at Suplizio Field. The first game is at 9 a.m. Saturday. There are four games Saturday, three on Sunday, and games will continue through the week. Look for the JUCO tab in Friday's Daily Sentinel. Info and tickets:

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