Moving On: Graduating Senior Ezra Tebbenkamp

By Hayden Entress

Senior year is a time of reflection and preparation. The future can be an intimidating thing to think about for seniors, but, it can also be exciting and motivating.

Ezra Tebbenkamp, an 18 year old senior at Yampa Valley High School, is planning the next steps in his life after graduation. He has realized that this means embracing new responsibilities and challenges. Millions of high school seniors have to go through this process of letting go, moving on, becoming an adult and realizing what is important to them. For Ezra, although he wishes he would have started thinking about these things earlier, he still has goals and ambitions for his future.

Ezra´s high school experience shows that there is more than one way to go through high school. He has had different experiences at several schools that have helped shape who he is today.

Ezra started high school at Steamboat Springs High School.  He then did a year of online school, but after realizing that those were not a good fit for him, he willingly decided to give Yampa Valley High School a try.

¨ I started out at the public high school and that wasn’t going so well. So, I left in the second semester of my sophomore year and started doing homeschool. I did homeschool for my sophomore year and the beginning of my junior year, but I was not doing well so. Since I was not doing well, my mom had the idea to put me in the alternative school. So far it has been a really good experience. It was my own choice to Yampa Valley High School even though my Mom brought it up first,” said Ezra.

Yampa Valley High School has helped Ezra to see the potential in his future.

“They (YVHS) have reminded me that I can do well in school. When I was a freshman, I just messed around a lot and didn’t care about school. And I skipped lots of classes. Now I am realizing that it is important to go to classes and try to get good grades. And YVHS makes that possible,” said Ezra.

Ezra´s plans after he graduates include going to the New Mexico Firefighting Academy and getting his own apartment, which he will be able to pay for himself.

¨I am going to have some new responsibilities like paying rent and buying my own food. I think I am going to realize all of the things I should have known once I am totally independent,” said Ezra. After he graduates from the academy, he is going to find a department to work at.

Some other goals that Ezra has are to have a steady and reliable income and be able to have money to retire with. Ezra knows that goals are an important part of staying focused and for succeeding after he graduates.

Ezra said, “If I don’t have goals I will just mess around and do pointless stuff.”

In his earlier high school years, Ezra did not know what he wanted his life to be like after he graduated.

When asked when he started thinking about what life was going to look like after high school, Ezra replied,  “It took me longer than it should have. At the end of my junior year, I was thinking I about how I should probably figure out what I am going to do. I wish I would have thought about it sooner.”

Ezra is looking forward to being able to go out into the world to accomplish his goals and make them a reality. He wants to be able to look back at his hard work in high school and feel accomplished.

Other than his friends and family, Ezra will not miss high school.

“It will be nice to create my own schedule. I’m ready for something new,”  said Ezra.

Ezra hopes that his story can motivate, inspire or help students who are getting ready to graduate.

Some words of advice from Ezra to other students are, “I would say to think about what you are going to do after high school before your senior year. I think I waited too long and now it is a lot more stressful.”

Ezra is ready to accomplish his goals and to move on to new, exciting things. One of the most important things that Ezra has learned in high school is that procrastination does not work. It is better and easier to just do your work and to not get behind.

“Being a senior puts the steps I need to take to accomplish my goals into perspective. It makes them more clear because the future is becoming a reality.”


Moving On: Graduating Senior Hayden Entress

By Ezra Tebbenkamp

All adults remember the feelings of their senior year coming to an end and having to began to think and provide for themselves and survive in the real world. Some people transition smoothly from high school and others have trouble. I think that the idea of transitioning from high school to the real world can be scary and overwhelming, so I sat down with a fellow student, Hayden Entress, who is also graduating this year and asked how she felt high school had been for her, and what she’s been feeling as we reach our second semester.

Hayden Entress is a student currently finishing her high school education as a senior attending Yampa Valley High School(YVHS).  Ms Entrance has many big goals for her life as an adult, and as the end of her final year comes steadily closer she is beginning to realize the steps she will have to take to achieve these goals. Hayden has enjoyed her high school experience for the majority, but it’s time for her to leave her home, memories and family to start her own adventure.

As a freshman Hayden attended the Steamboat Mountain School for the purpose of pursuing her love for ski racing. After two years of this, however, she suffered a severe knee injury.

“I was frustrated and upset after my accident,” Hayden told me.

A combination of realizing that she wouldn’t be able to ski the next year and the strenuous amount of time needed to complete classes at the Mountain School soon had Hayden looking for a new school.

“At first I looked into both the alternative school (YVHS) and the regular public high school. In a follow-up appointment she was told by her doctor she would have to undergo an important surgery which would have her missing too much school to successfully attend the Yampa Valley High School or Steamboat Springs High School (SSHS).  With the only other real option for Hayden being online school, she completed her junior year at home on a computer.

After finishing her junior year at home Hayden decided the come to the Yampa Valley High School.

When I asked why, She answered, “I like the way the YVHS is run with their curriculum and schedule, along with the small classroom environment.” Now that Hayden is attending YVHS and has had time to experience it firsthand for herself she says that she enjoys, “No homework and the personal time to think about what I want to do after high school. It also frees up more time for activities I enjoy doing.”

Hayden shared with me that after high school she would like to become apart of the medical field including, specific interests in bio and neuroscience.

When I asked her how her parents had influenced her decision making regarding plans after high school she replied, “”They have been very supportive in my decision making, but has felt some pressure to look at certain colleges.”

Hayden told me she knows things will change when she no longer lives under her parent’s roof and realizes that there will be new challenges that she must face.

When I asked Hayden what she felt she was most excited and worried about for the future without the parental guidance she answered, “I’m definitely worried about finances and the responsibilities of being on my own, but also excited for the chance the manage my own schedule and time”

If Hayden could go back and give herself any advice at the beginning of her high school adventure she said, “I  would tell her- don’t doubt yourself because if you doubt yourself then you won’t accomplish your dreams, set the bar high.”

Hayden still has a long adventurous journey ahead of her, but with her continued hard work and dedication she can reach any goal she sets. This will all continue at BYU-Idaho pursuing what life has planned next.

Opportunities for YVHS Students at CMC

George Decorte– At Yampa Valley High School (YVHS) the juniors and seniors have a class every Tuesday for a hour and twenty minutes at Colorado Mountain College (CMC).  There is only one teacher for this class and her name is Hadley Nylen.  When asked the purpose of the class Hadley said, “Students learn about time management, empathy and diversity, learning styles, degree and certificate programs available, communication skills, healthy lifestyles, and money management”.

The reason they’re taking this class is so they know about what college life is like and skills they’ll need later in life. So, if they take this introduction class when they’re in high school they don’t have to take it when they go to college in Colorado. Also, if they take it they get college credits and that can be transferred to any other college in Colorado. To pass the class you have to get a grade of C or higher.

Students have said that they have enjoyed taking this class.  YVHS Student Jack Ringer said, “I enjoy the class because I get to learn new life skills like healthy lifestyles and money management.”

Also, the teachers have said the class is beneficial because it gives students an opportunity to know what CMC is like.  YVHS teacher Greg Johnson said, “This class is beneficial because it gives them an idea of the CMC campus and see what a college education would be like.”

Dawson Van Pelt, a student from YVHS said, “I like the class because it’s moving me towards a college education.”   

The class has happened eight times starting in October and ending in December.  The class is for mature students getting ready for life after high school, so that’s why it’s only juniors and seniors.  This is the first time YVHS has had the opportunity for students to take this class and they hope to do it every year. This class is very beneficial to the students that take it because it teaches them things that can be very useful later on in life.