There is bound to be a handful of articles this time of year that begin with the words, “As another school year comes to a close…” It is true – yet another school year is coming to a close, but for me, this year is different. This year is special in more ways than one. My class – students with whom I have spent the majority of my school career – will be walking the graduation stage, receiving our diplomas, and moving on to the next chapter in our individual lives. Our paths, whether we want them to or not, will begin to lead away from where they began, onto the rest of our journeys. As a class, we have mourned, endured, laughed, and experienced both success and failure on platforms from athletics to academics and beyond. As a school district, we have gone through more in the last four years than most school districts would care to go through in their entire history. As I look back on my years as a student in the Woodland Park School District, I can confidently say that I am not only proud of our schools, but also proud of our entire community. I count myself blessed to have been a part of a nurturing, supportive and cohesive community for 14 years of my life.
I find that the more I reminisce, the more I realize that Woodland Park has made my life special. Our community has offered me more than I will ever be able to repay for as long as I have lived here, and it is truly a unique place to live. I cannot begin to count the memories that simply would not be possible living any place else. Woodland Park has taught me important lessons and provided me with lasting relationships. Though I will move on to college at CU-Boulder next fall, it is still difficult for me to truly wrap my head around living anywhere besides our beautiful mountain town.
There just are not many towns where one can drive down Main Street – or in our case, Highway 24 – and witness a sight as majestic as a snowcapped Pikes Peak, absorbing sunlight and reflecting it onto our town. Woodland Park is home to some of the best parks that our state has to offer, and a Parks and Recreation Department that fosters young competitors into athletes that move through high school athletics and activities. Woodland Park produces college athletes, film producers, businessmen and women, doctors, and a multitude of other types of people that experience all walks of life. What is the most special about each of these paths is where they begin – a small mountain town called Woodland Park, known as the City Above the Clouds. Woodland Park has made me who I am today because of all that it has to offer. The small town atmosphere is not for everyone, but through living in a small town, I have learned the value of close relationships and the strength of a community that has experienced hardships as well as fantastic victories. Woodland Park has taught me strength and granted me the experiences that I am entirely positive will be invaluable to me as I move towards the rest of my life. I will never forget or take for granted where my path began, because without this place, my path may not exist at all.