Bittersweet Goodbyes


Durango High School seniors enjoying the “Senior Sunrise” event hosted by student council executives on September 6th, 2022 at 6:27am at Riverview Elementary School.

It’s senior season!! Excitement is in the air as the graduating class of 2023 gets ready to take the stage, dressed in red and white, to say goodbye to their Durango Demon family. The past four years have led up to this and now that the moment is finally here, students are overcome with a variety of emotions and laced with tendrils of uncertainty as to what the future holds for them. Many DHS seniors have chosen their next steps, whether that be vocational school, associates or bachelors degrees at a college or university, taking a gap year, or simply moving away and starting to build their lives, the pathway is shifting and it’s time for them to make a road that is completely their own. 

Senior Ryan Montoya is attending University of Colorado Denver in the fall and he will be majoring in architecture and working. Montoya confessed that he is both “relieved and anxious” about graduating because of “how much is going to change.” This is a common theme among seniors, most of them happy that their time in high school is over but afraid for what their future will look like. However, Montoya is looking forward to starting “[his] new life” in Denver, despite his nervousness around what his life is going to look like “since [he’s] making [his] own choices and decisions now.” I, for one, am terrified about making my own choices and know that I will be calling my mom at least once a day.

Excited to move back to her home state and pursue a certification in cosmetology, Wrigley Ham knew when she was young that college wasn’t where her heart was and that she wanted nothing more than to move back to Texas. When asked if she was nervous for what her future holds she explained that “[she has] always known what [she] wanted to do and [she’s] prepared for everything, from moving away to going to school.” Wrigley decided that a certification, which traditionally is a 9-12 month course, was the best path for her because she is moving away from her family, working, and attempting to go to school and the time requirement needed for full time schooling wasn’t ideal. She is excited for graduation, happy to be done with her high school career, but is upset that she won’t be able to see her friends every day and she will be moving away from her family and those same friends soon. 

Seniors are trying to cram in the best of high school right now while trying to manage the stresses of their academic life and prepare for their futures. The pressure is on this time of year as AP exams are ongoing, finals are coming up quickly and the timeline to get missing assignments is around the corner. As anatomy and physiology teacher Eric Jackson states, “It’s crunch time!” The final day for seniors is May 17th with several events to follow including a picnic, brunch, awards ceremonies and send offs and who can forget the iconic senior prank. Students and staff alike are being stretched thin in these final weeks to make sure that they are giving 110% and not missing out on a single thing from homework, to attendance, to activities. 

The homestretch is here, seniors. It’s time to turn in those assignments, get together a few more times, then put on that cap and gown and walk across the stage. Farewells like this are always bittersweet as students, staff, and parents are excited for our high school departure and what the future holds for us, but it isn’t without the little voice in our heads telling us how much we’re going to miss and how heartbreaking it is to be saying those final goodbyes. Our memories will always remain with us and as DHS mixed media teacher Morgan Kraska claims, “there have been whirlwinds of emotions from everybody in all my classes since you all are graduating.” It’s okay to be upset about moving on from the life you’ve known for so long. It’s okay to be excited for what the future holds and where you’re gonna go and what you’re gonna see. It’s okay to be scared of what’s next. Goodbye, Class of 2023 and see you in ten years!