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Stepping across the stage, diploma in hand

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High school graduation, a monumental step from childhood to adulthood experienced by hundreds of teens throughout the Roaring Fork Valley each spring, was celebrated by communities from Glenwood Springs to Aspen on Saturday morning and afternoon with hugs-a-plenty, hats tossed in the air and countless photos taken with the grads.

At Basalt High School, which kicked off celebrations at 10 a.m. along with Roaring Fork High School and Glenwood High School, the sunshine and cool breeze brought an air of excitement across the football field. Family and friends gathered near the 50-yard line to watch the graduates take the step across stage, with ­diploma in hand and on to the next phase of their lives.

Much of the ceremony was delivered in both English and Spanish. Personalized graduation caps celebrated the individuality of each student with some commemorating their time at Basalt while others wrote an ode to their family. At one point during the ceremony, graduates pulled flowers from beneath their seats and went into the crowds to deliver hugs and flowers to those people who touched their lives in a special way before continuing the ceremony moments later.

Aspen Skiers celebrated graduation at the Benedict Music Tent at the Aspen Institute Saturday afternoon with attendance near capacity. At one point, high school principal Tharyn Mulberry noted the amazing musical performances by a handful of students who shared their talents with fellow students and attendees. Valedictorian Cole Petersen added a spoonful of levity with multiple costume changes and lots of dancing in place during his speech.

Craig Turpin is the chief photographer for the Aspen Daily News. He can be reached at craig@aspendailynews.com or on Twitter and Instagram @acraigslife.