by Nate Kissingford

Morgan Joan Clark was born in Middletown, Connecticut and, after going to Ridgway school for 5 ½ years, has attended Ouray for the last 2 ½. Morgan loves fried rice and everything bagels with cream cheese, and she hates seafood: “Here's my thing,” she quipped: “Seafood can die. Which doesn’t make any sense because it’s already dead.”

I’ve known Morgan since elementary school and, due to the close relationship of our parents, I see her as my sister. She’s always been creative, connective, mischievous, competitive, and smart. With a style she characterizes as “super swag” that is never without a profusion of rings, Morgan is a unique and vital presence in the school.

Morgan loves to spread joy. “I love it when I say something and a group of people laugh, or I can brighten somebody’s day,” she said. Some of her favorite memories are of this type of connection. “I enjoy spending time with people and having inside jokes or sitting in class and laughing at our goofy teachers who are amazing and awesome. I’ll miss that connection”

This love of connection has impacted Ouray’s students. Freshman Hadley Choate reflected that “she’s a really good team player, she’s really nice to everyone and is always there for people.” Classmate Ella Vann chimed in, saying, “she’s a really supportive person, she cares and has a really big heart.” 

She wasn’t always able to connect with Ouray School, however. “The first year I came here, I was really depressed and didn’t have many friends. Connecting with people was really hard for me and I really missed my people in Ridgway, but I’ve come to appreciate that I love and have people who love me in both Ouray and Ridgway and I feel like I’ve created a really solid community for myself here.”

When asked about an individual who inspires her, Morgan  couldn’t choose one at first. “My inspiration kind of bounces around like a fairy. It’s just like ‘oh, that’s kind of cool, let me do that.’” In the end, however, she settled on her mom, Heather Toth, because “she’s a hard worker and she speaks her mind and stands up for good things and she’s kind and loving and patient most of the time and she puts up with my s***. She started two different businesses and she’s very well-versed in the world. I feel like she’s lived, like, five different lives.”

She’s inherited her mother’s work ethic and passion for life. During high school, she’s thrown herself into volleyball, voice lessons, ukulele, soccer, music production, theater, and a teaching internship, giving each the attention and commitment it deserves. Through it all, she stays motivated. In her words, “It’s less exhausting to be positive.”

In the fall, she will start “studying vocal performance and music education at the University of Northern Colorado. I’m very excited to be surrounded by people who share the same passions as I do.” Even though she’s leaving, she hopes to leave a legacy based in “my positivity and my love for everything. I hope people aren’t afraid to enjoy things.” 

This has been her way of being since I have known her, but one force that galvanized this philosophy is her late friend, Max Schuetz. “I’d like to think that he loved life and we went on a lot of adventures together,” she said. “We were always outside. He loved everyone unconditionally and he was always willing to be a goofball with me. I’ll carry his impact on me forever.”

Morgan has a unique ability to gently but effectively guide any group, be it a team, a cast, or an entire high school, to be more supportive, loving, silly, and appreciative of life than it was previously. As for the rest of her life, her grandest ambition is simple: “to love myself and be happy with where I’m at, wherever that may be.”