Broomfield’s seniors start day in celebration

[Originally Published in the Daily Camera and Broomfield Enterprise, May 18, 2013]

For 316 anxious high school seniors on the floor at Broomfield’s1STBANK Center, one final act lay between them and a well-deserved vacation.

On stage, reaching for the royal blue board atop his head, graduating senior Jacob Bellendir said to his peers, “May your caps fly as high as an eagle.”

On Saturday morning Broomfield High School, home of the Eagles, celebrated the commencement of the class of 2013.

Senior Class President Kevin Rhinesmith said in his speech, “We’ve all been on our own personal journey and it’s a journey I’ll never forget.”

The class of 2013 includes 14 Summa Cum Laudes with a GPA of 4.4 or above and 53 members of the National Honor Society. The class collectively has received $8 million in college scholarships.

Hannah Price blows bubbles during today's 2013 Broomfield High School Commencement ceremony at the 1stBank Center. ( David R. Jennings )

Hannah Price blows bubbles during today’s 2013 Broomfield High School Commencement ceremony at the 1stBank Center. ( David R. Jennings )

Following the ceremony, many students had to rush for state finals and semifinals in soccer, swimming and track. All the seniors were ready to be cut loose.

“I’m not kicking you out of the nest,” said Principal Ginger Ramsey, “but it’s time for you to fly.”

The only glitch to the otherwise decorous ceremony occurred midway when students began inflating beach balls and balloons that were batted around the crowd. When administrators started seizing the balloons, many students and crowd members booed.

“They tape on the inside of legs so they don’t find them when they pat them down,” said Katie Mann, who graduated from BHS in 2010.

The beach balls are a tradition for graduating seniors at Broomfield, to the dismay of administrators. Besides the inflatables, seniors in 2010 shot off fireworks during their ceremony, prompting the event to be moved indoors and to the morning.

“Our class kind of ruined it for everyone,” admitted fellow 2010 graduate Kelsey Rogers, “But it’s the seniors’ day so they shouldn’t be so harsh.”

Despite official disapproval, a new balloon appeared whenever the last one was taken. By the end, even Principal Ramsey was teasing seniors for not hitting the balls hard enough.

Soley Nazemi walks to receive her diploma from her wheelchair to a standing ovation during the 2013 Broomfield High School Commencement ceremony today at the 1stBank Center. ( David R. Jennings )

Soley Nazemi walks to receive her diploma from her wheelchair to a standing ovation during the 2013 Broomfield High School Commencement ceremony today at the 1stBank Center. ( David R. Jennings )

Maricruz Neidig’s son Eduardo was among the graduates. “I was not able to graduate myself,” said Neidig. “I am very happy and proud of him for being able to fulfil my dream.”

As is typical with such milestones, there was a sense of the bittersweet for students, parents and teachers alike.

Eric Dattore, 18, who is studying computer science at the Colorado School of Mines next year, said “It’s exciting to finally be done, but it’s a little sad I won’t be able to say ‘see you in the fall’ to all these people.”

Mindy Kaye Happs is all too familiar with this feeling. Besides working at the school for 22 years, Happs also graduated from Broomfield High 40 years ago, as have her brothers and three daughters.

“This was a very lively class of amazing kids,” Happs said, “and I’ll never forget the neat experiences they gave me.”



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