Leadville News – May 22

Class Day, Graduation on The Horizon

LCSD_gradsIt’s a week of endings and new beginnings for the 45 graduating Lake County High School (LCHS) Seniors. Congratulations to the Class of 2018! Best wishes for your future endeavors!

This Thursday, May 24 is Class Day at the high school auditorium. This event will begin at 1 p.m. and is an inspiring program of scholarships distributions and awards. Come and celebrate the class of 2018’s accomplishments. Then, this Saturday, May 26, the tassels will be turned at the LCHS Commencement Ceremony starting at 10 a.m. in the LCHS gym. Congratulations!

LCHS Junior Earns College Degree

By Heather McGregor, Special to Leadville Today

When she was a Lake County High School (LCHS) freshman, Bianca Gonzales took her first college level academic class. Two years later, as the Leadville teen finishes her junior year of high school, she has completed an associate degree from Colorado Mountain College (CMC).

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Colorado Mountain College graduate Bianca Gonzales, right, is congratulated by Rachel Pokrandt, vice president and campus dean at commencement on May 4. Photo Andy Colwell

“For my family and for me, this is a big achievement,” Gonzales said. “My parents only got their high school education, and they have always encouraged me to further my education. It’s like me taking on their dreams and my dreams too.”

Gonzales achieved this academic head start through the concurrent enrollment program offered by the college.

High school students can take college-level academic classes at their school, at the local CMC campus, or through CMC’s online classes. Tuition for the CMC classes is paid for by the local school district.

Gonzales’s first college-level class, taken in the spring of her freshman year of high school, was U.S. history.

“It was challenging at first, because it was an online class. But I got into my routine with it, and it worked out well,” she recalled. She finished the class with an A.

In her sophomore and junior years, she took three to four college classes per semester, plus a couple over the summer, covering the academic subjects that college students typically study during their freshman and sophomore years.

Direct path to jobs, too

Colorado Mountain College’s concurrent enrollment also offers career-oriented technical classes, so high school students can earn certifications that lead directly to jobs. In Leadville, students can take welding or basic culinary skills.

This fall, CMC Leadville will also offer basic electrical certification, said Kristen Voegtle, CMC’s concurrent enrollment coordinator. A dozen students are already lining up to enroll.

About one-third of the students enrolled at Lake County High School are taking CMC academic and technical classes, said Voegtle. Of the school’s 291 students, 89 took concurrent enrollment classes during the 2017-18 academic year.

Of this year’s 45 graduating seniors, five are graduating with an associate degree from CMC, and nine have completed technical certificates.

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This Thursday it will be the LCHS Class of 2018 (2017 pictured here) gathered in the high school auditorium for Class Day where students will receive scholarships and awards. Congratulations! Photo: Leadville Today/Cooper Hudson.

Summer in the city

While Bianca Gonzales could graduate this year too, she plans to wait until 2019 to graduate with her class. Meanwhile, she will spend the fall semester at The Masters School in New York City, enrolled in the City Term program.

For a teen born and raised in Leadville, spending four months in New York is a special opportunity.

“I want to meet new people, and I am excited to get familiarized with the city, and to take classes that are integrated with the city,” Gonzales said.

Beyond the coming year, she hopes to earn a bachelor’s degree at an Ivy League university and go to law school.

In the meantime, Gonzales is mentoring freshmen at her school through Link Crew, along with participating in Student Council, competing in track and serving as vice president of FBLA.

She wants to be sure the students following her understand the opportunity of CMC’s concurrent enrollment program.

“When I started, a lot of people weren’t familiar with it,” Gonzales said. “Now a lot of people are, and that’s really cool.”

Leadville News – May 21

All Aboard! Specials and Packages on the Rails

Facebook_Cover_Opening Day 2018If you’ve ridden the Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad‘s in the last couple of years you probably noticed the upgrades at the water tower stop, a favorite picture-talking spot, as well as new gazebo at the historic depot. But this season, 2018 rail-riders will see changes on-board.

Although the Leadville tourist railroad has been offering food and drink for years, guests will see a bigger section of food offerings, and an expanded spirits selection  as well.

“We are going beyond hot dogs this season,” said Kirstin Ayers, LCSR President, explaining that the train has expanded its concession car for 2018 and will be offering sandwiches and other food options for passengers. But guests can still find a good, old-fashioned hot dog for their journey as well. 

Now of course, when it comes to food, what goes in, well, er, must come out. To that end (pun intended), the railroad has now constructed its own potty caboose. Not only will guests see shorter, if any, lines to use the restroom, but all of the bathroom facilities will be dedicated to one rail car. This upgrade certainly makes the Leadville train #1 in the number two business!

Train Opens for Summer on Saturday

This Saturday, May 26 is Opening Day for the the Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad‘s 2018 season.  They have some incredible special packages and rides but many sell-out, so if you’re looking for something special, you’d better plan ahead and make reservation now. It’s All Aboard for the Leadville Train!

The Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad‘s (LCSR) will blow the whistle on its 30th year in business on Saturday, May 26. So come along for the #AllAboard for what’s happening on the Leadville train. Daily train rides will begin over Memorial Day Weekend, with an afternoon ride leaving at 1 p.m. until June 15, when things kick into high gear with two-a-days, departures at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

This year, there are more packages and special rides than ever. If you and your family/group are looking for some Rocky Mountain adventure, take your pick from the “Raft and Rail” or the “Rails and Zip Line Tour” package deals.

On the zip line combo, guests will enjoy a scenic train ride up through the San Isabel National Forest. Then once at the end of the line, your group is taken up for Zip Line fun, traveling all the way down to base camp at Top of The Rockies Zip Line. This five-hour tour is perfect for adults and children, giving them an opportunity to see untouched wilderness. This package deal is available throughout the train season, for more information and to book your Zip/Train tour visit the Top of the Rockies website: HERE.  


The popular Rails and Zip Line 5-hour tour returns for the 2018 season.

Or maybe you’re up for some white water adventure, with a half-day with Noah’s Ark Colorado Rafting; afterward kick back on a 2 ½ hour scenic train ride in the afternoon. The “Raft and Rail” packages run daily between May 26 and August 16.

If you’re looking to add some lip-smackin’ flavor to your train experience, choose from one of these special rides. The Devil’s Tail BBQ Train features an evening train ride, on July 7, departing the depot at 6 p.m., as well as August 31 and September 14, departing the depot at 4:30 p.m. All Aboard for a 2 1/2  hour evening ride, enjoying some award-winning BBQ along the way. Last year, these trips sold out, so make reservations now.


Come and get it on the BBQ ride aboard the Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad! 

Of course, the 2018 season will also see the return of the train’s popular Wildflower and Photo Special rides. Join their experienced wildflower tour guides for a 20-minute hike through pine forests, aspen groves and open meadows. View a multitude of varieties of wildflowers at the water tower. Some flowers sighted include Indian Paintbrush, Lupine and wild strawberries. You may find anything from the “local” deer to a mushroom in a wet marsh. Remember hiking shoes, a water bottle and camera. The train ride will depart at 10 a.m. and arrive back at the depot at 1 p.m. This hike is for people of all capabilities and interests please. Wildflower Specials will be July 21, July 28 and August 4.

The Fall Photo Specials are offered three different weekends in September when the aspens are putting on a show all their own. Get that special shot framed by Colorado’s autumn beauty! This tour goes all the way, an additional mile and a half allowing you to see the full beauty of the Arkansas River Valley and will take 3 hours. Bring your camera and your jacket!

So plan ahead for your next vacation or summer visitors. It may be just what gets you through a snowy spring! For more information on any of these special packages check out the LCSR website.

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