Snippets from Middle Park High School Seniors.  Class of 2018  by River Lathers



Manny Arellano

There’s a lot of things I learned from going to school in such a small and tight-knit community. I feel like coming from a small school where most of us grew up together really shapes you as a person and allows you to develop an unique sense of self and of the world.

As for next year, I will not be attending college right away. I do hope that my path will lead there eventually, but first I’m going to focus on working, saving money and taking TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) courses in order to be able to travel the world and earn money as a teacher at the same time. My Junior year, I did an exchange year in France, which was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. By becoming certified as a TEFL teacher I hope to expand upon that experience. I want to do this because my passion is to travel and immerse myself in a different culture as well as studying new languages.

Although my plans for next year are fairly well laid out, my future is still to be decided upon. In 15 years from now, I hope to be settled in my career and something I feel passionate about. As of now, my interest is in International affairs and business.




  • Favorite animal- bees, because I’ve never been stung by one and they just do their own thing which I respect.
  • Favorite band- 30 seconds to mars
  • Favorite movie- A night at the Roxbury because it was my dad’s favorite,  my personal favorite is Like Water for Chocolate


Gigi Newcomer-Neeson

I would describe my time at MPHS as a time of growth and learning. I’ve changed and grown so much in the last four years and I couldn’t be happier to have done it anywhere else but here. Going to school here allowed me to learn the importance of community, taking advantage of all of the incredible opportunities provided here at Middle Park High School and finally how crucial it is to enjoy the moment where you are.

After graduation, I plan on attending Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon to study environmental sciences and ecology. As for my future more long term, 15 years from now I truly just hope to see myself content with my job and where I’m at in life. I really hope that I will have traveled a little in those 15 years as well as doing two of the things I love the most, those being listening to music and just enjoying the world around me. The coolest thing I’ve ever done is floating through a natural canal mangrove through crystal clear water, and I hope to have many more experiences just as amazing as that one.


  • Favorite animal: Sloth
  • Favorite movie: Almost Famous
  • Favorite book: 100 years of Solitude


Nic Lawrence

I have had a solid time at MPHS. It’s provided me with countless opportunities, both academically and not, that I otherwise couldn’t have had, and I am very appreciative for that. Going to high school in Grand County has taught me quite a bit. As cliche as it sounds, I think the biggest thing I’ve learned, though, is how great a community we have and how important that is going forward. I think that is something  that not every student can have, so I am very grateful.

After high school I will be attending Colorado State University to study international business, or something along the lines of international sustainability. I didn’t think I would like the school at first, but after looking at other places and taking a tour, this was the school that seemed to have the coolest vibe and the happiest people. That stuff is important, right?

Looking further into the future, hopefully I am doing something that allows me to travel and see new things. I’ll just do whatever feels right at the time in order to get there. The most amazing experience I’ve ever had was going on the high school Junior River Trip. I spent 6 days on a raft with 3 European exchange students, and it molded who I am as a person. I really hope to have more life changing experiences like that.

One of my favorite things to do is going new places and seeing new things, so that no day is the same. Also Netflix.



  • Favorite animal: Red-Eyed Tree Frog
  • Favorite band: Gorillaz and Green Day
  • Favorite movie: The Office. I know it’s not a movie but it’s close.
  • Favorite book: No Country for Old Men


Emily Jensen

Going to school in a smaller school like this allowed me to recognize the importance of keeping your mind open to friendships in unexpected places. In such a small school you may not find people exactly like you, so it’s important to be open to perspectives and values different than your own.

After graduating from Middle Park, I will be attending the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, likely pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering. I was immediately captivated by the honor concepts and high standards of both physical fitness and academics. The career opportunities, coupled with the excellent education, automatic camaraderie with my peers, and opportunity to serve my country solidified my decision.

As for later in the future, ideally I will be flying fighter jets off of aircraft carriers, but I plan to keep my mind open to any and all other opportunities I am exposed to. I got to travel to Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Germany with my family the summer before my sophomore year, and being able to observe and experience so many different cultures, as well as explore the surrounding environment was one of the most eye opening and exciting experiences of my life. I hope to get the opportunity to do more things like that later in life.

My favorite thing to do is to spend time with my family and friends while enjoying the many outdoor activities Colorado has to offer, particularly hiking, camping, and skiing.



  • Favorite animal: my little brother
  • Favorite band: The Lumineers
  • Favorite movie: Top Gun or the Secret Life of Walter Mitty