Farewell, Ouray School Class of 2023

Morgan Clark plans to attend University of Northern Colorado in Greeley to study music education and vocal performance. Her life plan is to be happy. In Ouray, she lettered in volleyball and soccer, starred in Cabaret and other plays, and made lots of friends. Her parting words: “Being negative is embarrassing.”

Cason Coats heads to naval boot camp on July 31. He hopes to become a Master at Arms on bases all over the world, and to make a career in the Navy as long as they will have him. In Ouray he managed the basketball team, works at Ouray Brewery, and enjoys lifting weights. His parting words come from the video game Dawn of War II: “Show me what passes for fury among your misbegotten kind.”

Co-Valedictorian Mica Hart plans to attend Colorado College in Colorado Springs on a scholarship package totalling $232,000. She will major in biology, and hopes eventually to go into research, be a professor, and deeply appreciate every moment of life. She led Ouray’s Honor Society, climbed competitively, performed aerial silks with Weehawken, volunteered with Voyager Youth and Ouray Trail Group, and spent lots of time outdoors, climbing mountains. “People are beautiful,” she wants to remind us, “and the more you lean into loving their (and your own) beauty, the better life feels.”

Nate Kissingford plans to attend Molloy University’s CAP21 Conservatory in New York on a scholarship package totalling $92,000. They will study Musical Theater Performance and hope to pursue a career in theater. While in Ouray, Nate took advantage of every opportunity to perform: with Weehawken Arts, Ouray Drama Club, UpstART Theater, No Holds Bard, and Montrose Magic Circle, among other groups. They live by advice from the Critical Role Liveplay: “Don’t forget to love each other!”

Anna Krickbaum plans to take a gap year and work locally, hopefully at Citizens State Bank, where she presently interns. Afterwards, she hopes to go to college and study either forensic psychology or business. In her spare time, she works with horses. At Ouray School, she managed the volleyball team. Jaggi Vasudeva’s words mean a lot to her: “Self-transformation means shifting yourself to a completely new dimension of experience and perception.”

Co-Valedictorian Pallen McArdle plans to attend Colgate University in Hamilton NY on a scholarship package totalling $348,000. She will study international relations, and hopes eventually to work for an international non-profit in the realm of humanitarian aid. She has helped to lead Ouray Honor Society, Sources of Strength, FBLA, knowledge bowl, drama club, and student council, and was outreach coordinator for Ouray County Pride. She played volleyball and basketball. “Let’s embrace and be excited for change,” she said, “and look forward to the opportunities it will bring.”

DC Miller plans to attend the University of Arizona in Tucson AZ on a package totalling $34,500. He will study Natural Resources with a concentration in Wildlife Conservation, and hopes eventually to find a job that will contribute to the preservation of wildlife ecosystems. He lettered in basketball, where he earned 1st team all-conference honors. He is grateful to “all the teachers that have gone out of their way to help me,” he said. “And Joe Condotti deserves a significant raise.”

Brayden Patterson plans to attend Tri-County Technical College in Murphy NC. He will study automobile mechanics, and hopes someday to work at a car dealership and own his own land and house. He enjoys motorcycling, mountain biking, hiking, and all other ways of exploring nature. His parting words come from Travis Pastrana: “My strengths and weaknesses are the same: I've got the willingness and stupidity to try anything.”

Aaron Pitts plans to attend Colorado Mesa University, where he will major in macrobiology. He hopes never to have a forever job, and would like to explore paleontology, maybe. He competed in knowledge bowl, and enjoys reading books, playing video games, and using old timey words. He embraces the wisdom of Marcus Aurelius: “You can sooner divert a river from its course than deny my nature.”

Luna Sandoval plans to attend Western Colorado University in Gunnison on a Chang Chavkin scholarship of $8000. She will study History and plans to go to law school; she hopes to grow up to be an environmentally-conscious people person and keep smiling, loving, and being happy. She has been a member of Sources of Strengths and Communities That Care. She lettered in basketball and volleyball. Her parting words: “If you feel like you have nothing to give, give your love.”

Clifford Utech plans to attend the University of Colorado in Boulder on a scholarship package of $25,000 in freshman year. He will pursue Environmental Studies and minor in film/photography, and hopes eventually to find a job in conservation. He lettered in basketball and is an avid photographer. He wanted to remind us to “cherish the connections that you make in Ouray as the real world isn’t as welcoming.”