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Mountaintop Farewell to Peak School Seniors

Peak School seniors ride on the ski lift at Copper Mountain Resort to celebrate their graduation on Friday, May 27. The school graduated seven senior students this year.
Trip Fee / Summit Daily News

Gratitude, reciprocity and community are the tenants of Peak School Graduation. Seven seniors who graduated Friday at the foot of the Copper Mountain Resort heard these words at the end of an unprecedented learning time.

“During my four years in high school, which were my college years, we experienced a lot of personal and societal problems,” said keynote speaker and 2017 alumnus Grant Morgan. “And I see it. Going to high school when you were doing it wasn’t easy.”

Despite the challenges, the students made the most of their high school experience.

“Our seniors have really tried to take advantage of the limited opportunities they have,” said Travis Aldrich, principal of the school.

The seven alumni have completed a range of senior projects during the COVID-19 pandemic, from making an animated film to raising awareness of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Each one combines a personal interest and a field of study.

“These are kids trying to figure out how to work with these new guidelines and create truly unique experiences for themselves,” Aldrich said.

Families can ride with the alumni at the Peak School Graduation Ceremony on Friday.
Trip Fee / Summit Daily News

Morgan linked each student’s project to two ideas—gratitude and reciprocity—and the Peak School’s annual guiding question, “What Affects Society?”

“Good societies don’t make themselves… and we all have to do our part to keep it going,” Morgan said.

Morgan said graduate Maximilian Duffy has raised awareness of traumatic brain injury, making the world safer for those around him.

Graduate Jessica Kanter created an animated film and gave it to the world for others to enjoy.

Graduate Lucas Caniglia has developed a business plan for a fly-guided business.

Graduate Camilla Stone traveled to Costa Rica and Connected Cultures.

Graduate Jacob Hood learned how to make skis and make goods for others.

Alumnus Chaney Walker has become a certified yoga teacher and has helped others feel calm and present in their bodies.

Graduate Alexander Elston learned a foreign language and, as Morgan said, reciting an Arabic proverb, “Learn a language and avoid war.”

Each student chose a representative to speak on their behalf. They can choose a friend, teacher, counselor, or anyone else who has a personal connection. The speakers highlighted the unique personality traits, struggles, and quirks around each student.

Students also received carry-on bags designed to carry toiletries for students heading to university dorms. This class’s students head to Colorado State University, Westminster College, Colorado Mountain College, Utah State University, and Full Seal University. Some will take a gap year.

“Peak grows a special and unique human being, and nothing defines that better than this class,” said teacher Stephen Craig.

After the speeches, students and families hopped in the Super B lift in Cooper to earn a diploma at the top of the mountain. The new tradition has started during the pandemic to keep the event outdoors and social distancing. This year the tradition continued with the addition of sermons and personal gatherings.

“One of the cool things about it is that you graduate, you get your degree, and then when you get off everyone comes to cheer you on the way down,” Aldrich said.