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.
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.”
It was a meeting to determine the conference championship between the two top teams who are highly ranked in the RPI standings in Colorado 1A Baseball. Holly, moving down from 2A, had one productive inning, the first, where they juiced the bases on Eads errors. Holly senior Brigden Parker, who grew up in Eads until his sophomore year in high school, then came to the plate and crushed a Grand Slam over the right field fence.
That would be the only scoring in the contest as the Eagles settled in and went toe-to-toe with the Wildcats after that very shaky start.
The win seeded Holly in the driver’s seat for Thursday’s District 4 Tournament where two teams will emerge into the state bracket at the Regional Tournament. The Wildcats will take on #4 Stratton/Liberty at 10am on Thursday in Las Animas. Eads is the #2 seed and will face off against Cheyenne Wells (#3) at 12:30pm. Winners advance to the championship game at 3:00pm, but even more important, advance to the Regionals.
Over the long week of baseball, the Eads Eagles were busy as they hosted a tri-meet with Otis and Simla on Tuesday. Those games went late into the evening, but the Eagles emerged with two strong wins. They would first defeat Otis, 13-5, and then won the nightcap with Simla, 8-1. Eads enters the post-season with 10-2 overall record.
Junior Cade McDowell drove in four RBIs on three hits against Otis. He would have a double in the first and a single in the second to send his fellow Eagles home.
Eads put together a strong second inning where they scored 9 runs on Otis. Hatch Nelson, McDowell, Ty Wilson and Damien Barnes all drove in runs in that inning.
Wilson was the winner on the bump against Otis going four and two-thirds innings, allowing four runs on four hits, and walking only one. The junior would strike out five batters.
McDowell went 3-for-3 from the plate to lead Eads. Zack Fowler stole three bases of the nine steals the Eagles racked up.
Eads scored a run in the bottom of the first inning when Nelson arrived on base after a Simla error. Nelson then stole second base putting himself in scoring position for freshman Porter Spady’s deep single to center field.
The Eagles added three more runs in the second inning behind the offensive attack by Spady and Fowler, who each had RBIs.
Freshman Brentley Lening was on the hill for Eads in the Simla contest. The righty allowed only one hit and one earned run over five innings of work, striking out nine and walking just one.
Eads got 5 hits in the game coming from Spady, McDowell, Joe Haase, Donte Sierra and Damien Barnes. Spady had 3 RBIs while A.J. Vasquez had one RBI, and Barnes added a second.
Eads had 7 steals in the contest with Spady and Nelson grabbing two apiece. Sierra, McDowell and Fowler each grabbed one.
In the Holly game it was the superior pitching staff that held Eads scoreless. Brigden Parker started on the hill looking strong by going three and two-thirds inning. The senior struck out 10 and walked one.
Eads senior Brandon Lening threw for Eads and minus the first inning where Holly grabbed the 4-0 win off the Parker grand slam, had a strong outing going four innings, allowing four runs on four hits, striking out four and walking zero.
Parker only gave up one hit and it would be to Barnes who hit a single just over second base. Only Vasquez and Sierra would get on base with a walk.
Head Coach Marcus Gilmore commented on the Holly loss by saying, “It’s always tough to take being the losing team in those kinds of games. We proved how confident we were as a team to be able to hang tough and not give up after that first inning. A couple early errors and a big hit in the first inning decided the entire game. That’s baseball! Brandon gave us a chance to get back in it like he’s been doing all year. He had an amazing game for a loss. We just couldn’t get anything going against Parker.”
Eads youth Reese Barnett mowed down the competition in the U.S. Kids Golf 9-10-year-old division on Sunday by shooting a +3 over 39 at the Walking Stick Golf Course in Pueblo with the wind howling upwards of 25-30 miles per hour winning her third U.S. Kids Tour Championship in the last two years.
The Spring Tour consisted of six weekend tournaments held at a number of golf courses along the front range of Colorado. The golfer with the most points, with placings determining point values, wins the overall Tour Championship. Ten-year-old Barnett competed at four of the tournaments during the Spring Tour winning all four and earning enough points to win the overall championship.
On Sunday at Walking Stick Barnett used six pars and a birdie to overcome a triple bogie on Hole #8 after just missing a long putt and sending it long. Despite the wind, Barnett managed to keep the ball on the course and was in good position most of the day.
The summer tour is next for Barnett which means the tour will move to the Denver Metro Area. It also means Barnett will move up in the age division to play in the 11-12-year-old division as she will turn 11 in July. This will be the first set of tournaments where Barnett will compete for the normal 18 holes instead of the 9 holes required for the younger golfers.