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Eads High School Sends 14 Out Into The World

Cover: 2021 Eads Grads toss their caps in the air.
Photo: Van Hollis

By Betsy Barnett

2021-06-04 19:31:03

This group of seniors, the Eads High School Class of 2021, may have had to endure perhaps some of the most difficult hardships in a large chunk of their high school years due to the more than year-long mandates associated with the Covid-19 virus.  They, above all, dealt with firsts and lasts in a whole new world of reality.  But, by the end of the year, with many of them still playing sports because of Covid-19 controls and schedules they proudly marched down the gym floor at Eads High School on Saturday, May 29, 2021.

There were 14 of them and together they represent a talented group of athletes, intellects and personalities who are prepared to take the first step towards their next journey.  The future for them is hard to define and many are taking a trade school route with the hope to begin making money soon.  Others still yearn for the experience of attending a university --- even if those universities have changed drastically in the last decade.

Damien Barnes was an exceptional athlete while at Eads High School.  He plans to attend Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska in the fall to pursue a degree in Physical Education.  He also plans to continue his football career at the collegiate level while there.   

Victoria Carey plans to get a job after graduation and attend college next fall online.    

Zack Fowler is planning to take a gap year and then attend Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kansas where he will earn his diesel technician certification.    

Cayce Grant plans to attend Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colorado next fall as a part of the nursing program there.  She will earn her Associate of Science in Nursing degree and become a Registered Nurse.

Joe Haase plans to attend Embry-Riddle (Rid-el) Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida to major in aeronautical science and obtain his pilot’s license.  Joe has been awarded the President’s Scholarship from Embry-Riddle for $16,000 per year for four years, for a total of $64,000.    

Mollie Kelley plans to attend Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado  in the fall to major in Hospitality Management with an emphasis in Culinary Arts.  She will earn her Bachelor of Applied Science while there.  Mollie has been awarded a housing scholarship and merit scholarship from Colorado Mesa.  Mollie is also one of this year’s Daniels Fund Scholars, which means that she will be awarded up to $25,000 per year for four years, for a total of $100,000 over the course of her degree.  Mollie was also awarded the Daughters of the American Revolution Eads High School nomination, as well as the Zonta Girl 2021 nomination.  Mollie was honored earlier this year as one of the Society of Women Engineers recognition recipients.  Mollie is also one of the two recipients of the William Glover Memorial Scholarship provided by the family of William Glover.   Additionally, Mollie is one of two recipients of the Kiowa County Conservation District’s Book Scholarship for $250.    

Amber Kopasz plans to attend Western Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado as a part of their 3 + 2 Master’s Program.  She will earn her Bachelor of Arts degree in Public History and her Master’s in Museum Gallery Management while there.  Amber has also been accepted into the Honors Program there and will receive the Slate Merit Scholarship for $9,000 per year, for a total of $45,000 over the course of her degree plan.  

Brandon Lening plans to attend the University of Texas at San Antonio next fall to begin earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Sports Management.  Brandon is a one of the recipients of the GN-Bank Scholar-Athlete scholarships for $750.  

Lexi Lopez will attend The Toni and Guy Hairdressing Academy in Colorado Springs next fall.  This is a special program that students cannot apply to until they have graduated high school, so her scholarships and financial aid awards are pending.  Once she earns her certification, she will apprentice under a licensed hair specialist in the company before branching out on her own.

Bradley Musgrave plans to attend Western Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado to major in mechanical engineering next fall.  He has received a Western Colorado University Assist Scholarship Award for $1,000 per year for $4,000 total, the Freshman Scholarship Award for $2500 annually, renewable up to $10,000, and a first-generation scholarship for $500.   

Hatch Nelson, another strong athlete and FFA student, gave the Salutatorian address. He plans to attend Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado to earn his Bachelor of Science in Soil and Crop Science, with a minor in Natural Resource Management.  Hatch is also a Daniels Fund Scholar and will receive up to $25,000 per year for four years, totaling up to $100,000.  Hatch is a recipient of the McClave State Bank Scholarship for $500, the Colorado Conservation Tillage Association Scholarship for $1,000, the Southeast Colorado Power Association Tri-State Scholarship for $1,000, the Lamar Elks Scholarship for $500, the William Glover Scholarship for $500, and the Colorado State Knowledge Bowl Tournament Scholarship for attendees of CSU for $1,000.  The Colorado State Knowledge Bowl Scholarship was offered to students who had competed and placed at the state tournament and were planning to attend either CSU in Fort Collins or UNC in Greeley.  Hatch is the second recipient of the Kiowa County Conservation District’s book scholarship for $250.

Allyson Spady is the Class of 2021 Valedictorian.  She plans to attend Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado next fall to earn her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Science.  She will then pursue her Doctorate of Physical Therapy to become a Physical Therapist.  She hopes to someday work with veterans and/or children in a children’s hospital setting.  Ally would also like to continue her basketball career at the collegiate level while at Adams State.  Ally was honored earlier this year as one of the Society of Women Engineers recognition recipients, as well.  Ally has been awarded the President’s Scholarship for $3,000, renewable for four years, totaling $12,000 and the Valedictorian Scholarship for $1,000.  Ally is also a recipient of the GN-Bank Scholar-Athlete Scholarship for $750.  Ally was selected as the Ethel Johnson Memorial Scholarship winner for $500, as well.  Ally has also been selected as the Eads FFA Alumni Association Scholarship winner for $1,000.  The Weisbrod Employee Fund Scholarship committee has chosen Ally as this year’s recipient of their $500 scholarship.  Finally, Ally will receive one of the two Eads Alumni Association Scholarships for $500. She also received a $500 scholarship from the Women Empowered group who works to improve the community through various projects and events.

Colby Stoker plans to attend Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colorado next fall to earn her Phlebotomy Certification.  She is a recipient of the 3.0 Scholars Scholarship at OJC for $1,000 per semester, for a total of $4,000.  Colby is the second recipient of one of the Eads Alumni Association Scholarships for $500.  

 Bryson Watne plans to spend some time exploring his post-secondary options during a gap year where he will determine his path. 

The grand total for scholarships for the Eads High School class of 2021 was $351,000.

Eads High School Class of 2021 (front l to r) Victoria Carey, Amber Kopasz, Colby Stoker, Caycee Grant, Lexi Lopez, Mollie Kelley, Ally Spady (back l to r) Brandon Lening, Hatch Nelson, Damien Barnes, Bryce Watnew, Joe Haase, Zack Fowler, Bradley Musgrave. (Eads High School Photo)

The following speech was given on stage by the Eads High School Valedictorian Ally Spady:

Man, what a feeling to finally be graduating. The past umpteen years of school, countless assignments, and tons of “I can’t wait to graduate” groans have brought us to this day. Yet, the unforgettable friendships and life-long memories have brought us to this day, too. Graduation day. How did this all happen so soon? It seems like time has flown these last few years, and really, time does fly by when you’re having fun. But today is the day we’ve all been waiting for, counting down the days since the first day of Senior year. And it’s finally here.

I can almost guarantee that everyone in this room has heard of the phrase, “It’s all about who you know.” This couldn’t be more true and we all have seen that firsthand in many situations. Growing up these past years, our class has been surrounded by endless love and support, from the community, school, and friends that have turned into family. The connections with these people that we have created run deep, and the connections are strong. Those people we know have allowed us seniors sitting here today to be molded and shaped into who we are. But, undoubtedly, the internal connections that each and every one of us has created within ourselves and to ourselves is far more important than any other bond we could have formed. The opportunity to truly know ourselves and to be able to trust our own hearts, minds, and souls is my biggest hope for us all.

 High school is one of the most fun, yet most challenging, times of our lives. But simply, it is a time when we all start to understand and know ourselves as a person, an individual, a human. We begin to find ourselves and what we hold to be valuable and important in our lives. We begin to truly know the ins and outs of our minds. Our personalities, our characters, our values, our strengths -- everything about us -- all come together like puzzle pieces -- puzzle pieces that fit perfectly together to make us our true selves. With that puzzle in place, we can see the entire image of where we have come from and how we got to where we stand today. Then, with that image deeply rooted into every bit of our being, we are then able to venture forward in our lives and towards the future we aspire to create.

It’s a guarantee that we will see good fortunes and opportunities come our way in the future. But, it’s also a guarantee that we will be faced with challenges and obstacles that truly test our abilities. In those times of hardship, or discouragement, or struggle, our true self will be tested. Will you remain steady with your values or character? Or will you crumble under pressure and feign who you truly are and what you believe in?

 I have seen a spark in each and every one of your hearts, a spark that tells me your spirit won’t weaken when tested. Staying true to yourself and to who you are as a person is one thing that I hope you never overlook. Because if we all stay true to ourselves, we will always fall back on who we are, what we believe in, and how we have grown through our lives. If we stay true to ourselves, we will stand confidently in a crowd, in a sea of conformity, shining a light into others’ hearts. If we stay true to ourselves, then we can bravely chase the dreams that scare us, knowing that we will grow astoundingly in the simplest forms of opportunities. If we stay true to ourselves, we will be able to stay connected to who we know -- ourselves and our families -- and how those around us have positively impacted our lives for a long time to come. If we stay true to ourselves, we will be able to do whatever it is that we wish to do, without a single bit of fear within us. Because we will stay true to ourselves, we will stay true to our hearts, our minds, and our souls.

 And because of that, we will always know each other, know those sitting next to us in this room, and we will know ourselves. Everything we have seen and done makes us who we are, and I wish that you will always trust that your intentions come from a good place within your heart. So, never be afraid to do what you desire, what sparks that fire in your heart, what drives you to want to be better, or what will make you grow as a person.

To everyone in here, thank you. Thank you for your endless support throughout the years and thank you for accepting my family into this community. I know many of you will always have my back if I ever needed it, and for that, I am forever grateful. To my family, I love you all the most. I confidently stand up here today because of all you guys have taught me, even you Porter.

Class of 2021, it’s been real, and it’s been fun, and it has definitely been real fun. Thank you for all the memories that I’ll have forever. Stay true to yourself as you end one chapter of your life today and begin another chapter tomorrow. We will always be Eagles, and we will always be family. Never forget who you are. Love on love for you all. Thank you.



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It was a golf season full of triumphs and pitfalls and—most of all—overcoming obstacles. Both the Eads and Cheyenne Wells golf teams had competed well throughout the 2022 season and were looking forward to the state-qualifying Region 1 Tournament this year despite the fact it required a 7-hour drive and 3 days on the road.

But just days before the anticipated tournament in Cortez the Tigers lost their best golfer, senior Blake Gilmore, to a football injury. Gilmore had won or placed in the top three of nearly every tournament he had been in this season and the Tigers had high expectations for him and perhaps others qualifying for the state tournament.

When Gilmore was injured, the Tigers brought Perry Chadwick up to take his place.

Cheyenne Wells head coach Devin Dickey said of the Region 1 Tournament, “The Tigers’ golf season came to a broken and wet end at the regional tournament in Cortez with a rain delay. We finished 9th as a team out of 16 teams in the tournament. After losing the #1 ranked golfer in the region, Blake Gilmore who suffered a broken collarbone in Friday’s football game against Cheraw we picked up Perry Chadwick who filled Blake’s spot with a great finish. We had Carson Noe in a 4-way tie in playoff to go to state. He’ll be first alternate as he came in second in that playoff. We certainly look forward to next year.”

Eads, as a team came in 14th place shooting a 312. Cheyenne Wells’ 290 team score was the best in the area. Las Animas placed 11th with a 298, La Junta was three strokes back in 12th place with a 301. Lamar finished six strokes behind Eads in 15th place with a 318, and Rocky Ford finished 16th with a 376.

Colorado Academy won the team tournament with a 225 score while the hometown team of Montezuma Cortez was second with a 236.

The two top teams and top 13 golfers qualified for the 3A state golf championship tournament.

Seven golfers from the southeastern Colorado area qualified for the state golf tournament including Blake Buchner, senior of Fowler who placed 4th with a +7 over par 79 on the day. In 11th place and qualifying was Nick Paolucci, a sophomore, from Swink who shot an 85. Damien Baca, sophomore, from Las Animas placed 12th with an 85. Harrison Proctor, a Fowler junior shot a 90 and qualified in 19th place. Finally, Hagen McCuistion, a sophomore from Fowler won in a 4-player playoff that also included sophomore Carson Noe from Cheyenne Wells. McCuistion would take a 92 and place in the final state-qualifying slot.

Thayer Plewe, a senior from Montezuma Cortez tore up the his hometown golf course shooting -4 under par 68 on the day. Colorado Academy had two qualifiers place second and third with JT Timmers, a senior coming in even par with a 72 and Colgin Youssi, a junior, shooting a two-over-par 74 in the tournament.

For Cheyenne Wells the rest of the varsity golfers that did not qualify included Zach Dickey with a 98, Perry Chadwick with a 100, and Conrad Ball with a 111.

According to Eads golf coach Justin McLoud, “The boys saved some of their better golf for the regional tournament. JB had a heck of a front 9 but just couldn’t keep it together on the back. He saved his best regional round for his senior season. Brennan struggled all day with his short game but ended up with a personal best regional round. I wasn’t sure how our freshman would do, but he got on a roll mid-round and finished with a respectful 117.”

Eads did not have any qualifiers, as well, but junior Brentley Lening had a strong game and just missed the threshold to get in the qualifying playoff. Lening would tie with 8 other players with a 94 on the day.

Eads senior John Brown was 51st with a 107, Brennan Framel was 54th with a 111, and freshman Karsten Buller was 57th with a 117.

Coach McLoud described how close Lening was to qualifying for the state tournament, “Tuesday was a rollercoaster ride for Brentley. After hitting a tree on his opening tee shot, he bounced back and made a bogey on the opening hole. He had a birdie chip hit off the flag on the second hole and ended up doubling that hole. He comes back with a par and a birdie, and he began to settle in for the mid-part of the round. We talked at breakfast about shooting 91 and after 9 holes he was on that pace. We get to 18 needing nothing more than a bogey to shoot 91 and he hits his tee shot out of bounds. We thought we were out of it and then we went into a lightning/rain delay. We stuck around and when play resumed, the remaining players had to finish up in high winds and wet conditions. He was sitting in 38th place when the delay started, and soon it was 31st, then 28th, and finally he was in an 8-player tie for 26th. When it was over, 92 was the cut-off for the state tournament.”

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With Schmidt and Adamson on the corners, Annabelle Morales then tripled on a scorching line drive to right field scoring both Schmidt and the speedy Adamson.

With one out and Morales on third base, Branom hit a sacrifice fly to center field scoring Morales.

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