Kelly Walsh High School

My niece, Liz Masterson, doesn’t realize what an inspiration she is to a lot of people, or if she does, she is just so not conceited, that she would never acknowledge that she knows. She is a journalism teacher at Kelly Walsh High School, and as such, she also teaches English, and puts out the yearbook. Her younger English students may or may not realize how much she does for them, but her journalism students, and the students she works with on the yearbook, know very well, how special she is. The friendships she has made with those students, and yes, I say friendships, have and will last for as long as they live. How many people keep in touch with and even spend time with their teachers after high school? Not very many, if any, but Liz is special. She treats them like the amazing people she knows they can become, when they are still students, and later when they start out in their lives, they remember that she was always there for them…cheering them on. There is no greater tribute a teacher can receive than to have a student say that if it wasn’t for this teacher, I might not have lived to my full potential. Liz has been that teacher to her students, and they have told her so.

Another part of Liz’s job as the journalism teacher, is photographer, and she is an amazing photographer. She captures such precious moments in the students’ lives. Everything from sports, to team pictures, to dances, and other functions, have been captured by Liz’s lens…and in perfect detail. She has also taken many of the Senior pictures for the yearbook, including the family members who have gone through the ranks of high school. She has also taken many other family pictures, and recently, the pictures for our church’s website. Her photographic talents are endless and ever expanding. Liz stays up on techniques and styles, and so her photography changes with the times…becoming more amazing.

Liz has many interests, not the least of which is traveling, and of course, her babies…puppies, Luka, Scout, and Buffy, and her cat, Piper. She mothers those babies just like you would a child, and they love her like she is their mom. It is a beautiful relationship. They love her as much as she loves them. Liz has a well rounded, happy life, and she is an amazing inspiration to all who know her. Today is Liz’s birthday. Happy birthday Liz!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

12715206_1175223339188897_2978391435475579814_n12107240_1115900998454465_8738245837586863430_nI know that lots of people have been in long distance relationships, but I don’t know of a lot of people, aside from soldiers and their families, who have been in one that is quite as distant as my grand nephew, James Renville, and his girlfriend, Julia Vergnes. James lives here in Casper, Wyoming, and met Julia while she was an exchange student at Kelly Walsh High School. They began dating in January of 2015, and their relationship has continued even though she is back home in Heemstede, North Holland, Netherlands, which is near the capital city of Amsterdam. I can’t imagine how hard it is for them to be so far apart, both of them going to college, trying to concentrate on their studies, and yet missing each other so much. The short visits they have had to each others homes must have seemed way too short a time, but it is what they have. Time will tell where their futures will take them from here. Time and distance can take their toll, or they can solidify a relationship. Time will tell.

I never would have expected James to become a world traveler, but life takes us all in different directions. As he did last year, James will travel to Amsterdam in July to visit Julia. I think that it’s a very cool thing that he gets to make the trip. The Netherlands is a beautiful country, but I don’t know how much James cares about the scenery. Because he has been there with Julia, he has had the opportunity to make a lot of new friends there as well. I’m sure the adventure of traveling is a big draw for James too.

James is such a personable guy, and has a really kind heart. He has always been one person all the little kids 423193_10151136257657237_1789342987_n10645039_10153167063182237_3064778472184452754_nlove to hang out with, or just hang on. He is a good older cousin, and he makes them feel important. That is what is important when it comes to little kids. Kids don’t like to always be treated…well, like little kids, and James gets that, so they like him. James hasn’t totally decided what he wants to do with his life yet, so at this point he is taking the reqired courses at college. Whatever he decides to do, I know he will be successful at it…no matter where his dreams take him. Today is James’ birthday. Happy birthday James!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

ElizabethLiz and SiaraOver the years, my niece, Liz Masterson has been our go to person for many different types of things, but probably none of them bigger than for photography and videos. Liz is a Journalism and English teacher at Kelly Walsh High School, which is her alma mater, by the way, and that is just the beginning of her many talents. Liz heads up the Kelly Kall and the annual yearbook too. She and her yearbook staff members have put together some of the most amazing yearbooks ever seen. Every year, our whole family looks forward to taking a look at them…even if we don’t know anyone who is going to Kelly Walsh that year. They are just too good not to have a look at.

Liz is definitely multitalented. She has loved sports since she was old enough to speak, and she can sit and discuss just about any sport with anyone. The truth be told, she could have easily been a sports writer or an announcer, but she had a calling to teach, and her students will tell you that they are all very glad she chose to teach, because she is a phenomenal teacher, and one they are friends with for life.

But, one of the best talents Liz has is for public speaking. It’s not that she should be a public speaker, but she has the definite ability to write her own speeches and execute them with grace and purpose. Liz gave the eulogies for both of her grandparents funeral service, and while a tear might have choked her voice a time or two, she was able to stay on task nevertheless, and both were just beautiful, with the perfect mix of humor and love. I know that I could not have done them, and I was very moved by her ability. Not only did Liz take the time out to write out the eulogies, but she set herself to the task of scanning all the necessary pictures, downloading the music, and putting together the slide shows for both funerals. And those are not the only slide shows she has done either. She also did my father-in-law’s and Bob’s cousin’s. She is very talented at all things that have to do with photography.

Teacher LizLiz and LaceyWhich brings me to another of Liz’s many talents. In recent years, Liz has been the school photographer for Kelly Walsh High School, photographing all the sporting events, social events, and anything else school related. This has blossomed into her own photography business, in which she photographs weddings, baptisms, senior pictures, and family photographs. With everything she can do, she is definitely our Multitalented Liz. Today is Liz’s birthday. Happy birthday Liz!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Casper Fire Department July 4, 1891While I am not a real Casper native, I have lived here since I was 3 years old. In a city that is 125 years old, that means that I have lived here for 44% of the years that Casper has existed. During my years here, I have learned that Casper was named after the fort that had existed here, called Fort Casper. Fort Casper was named after Lieutenant Caspar Collins, who was killed by Indians near the fort in 1865, but the Army misspelled his name. For anyone who has lived here very long…or at least attended public school here, that was common knowledge, as well as a school field trip most of us took. That fact was one of the first things a young student in Casper should know.

When the people of Casper first decided to incorporate, this was a pretty wild town. It was filled with mostly saloons, dancing girls, and prostitutes. That was really quite typical of most early wild west towns. The residents Casper asked the officials of Carbon County, where Casper was located until Natrona County split from Carbon County, if they could incorporate the town of Casper. The request was approved on July 8, 1889…125 years ago today, and Casper was born. Of course, the citizens of Casper knew that things would have to change because there Pioneer Drug Store 1892were things that made a town a proper town, and things that made it a lawless hangout. A proper town needed water, streets, schools, a fire department, a library, and a government to assure its stability. The people of Casper elected George Mitchell as mayor, and Robert White, Peter Demorest, Alexander McKinney and John Adams as councilmen. Before long Casper would be home to three county courthouses. The first one on David Street built in 1895, the second in the middle of North Center at A Street built in 1908, and the present county building on Center between A and B Streets was built in 1940.

In the early years cattle and sheep ranching was the main source of Casper’s wealth, and the most successful ranchers built the fine houses in Casper’s mansion district located south of the downtown area. Soon, however the wealth shifted more to oil, when the Salt Creek Field, 40 miles north of Casper, a rich source of oil, was discovered. Soon refineries went up, and Casper became a boom town. Much has changed over the years, and I’m sure that very little about Casper is like it used to be. I suppose that if the city founders could see it now, they would be amazed…or maybe they could see that potential all along. Casper 1As for me, I can recall many changes too. I remember when Walsh Drive was the edge of town. Kelly Walsh High School was almost on the prairie. I also remember when Kmart was being built…at the current Hobby Lobby location, and when it was built in its current location. I remember when the Texaco Refinery closed, and a lot of its workers, including my Uncle Larry took the transfer that would move him and my Aunt Jeanette to Louisiana for a number of years. Many businesses have come and gone over the years, as have people, but Casper has remained and thrived. Today is Casper’s 125th birthday. Happy birthday Casper!!!

imageWhen I picked my grandson, Josh up from Kelly Walsh High School the other day, we drove past the area where they are tearing up the old teacher’s parking lot for the school renovation project that is going on in several schools around town. Josh said, “When I look at that, it makes me sad?” He hated seeing the school he had known change. I found that a little surprising, in that this is Josh’s first year at Kelly Walsh, but when I thought about the fact that Josh’s older brother Chris has gone there for 3 years, it made sense that he would think of this school as a place he knew well. We continued down 12th Street, and past the swimming pool and he mentioned the building that was the entrance to the pool, and it really hit me.

Kelly Walsh High School has been a part of my life since I was a kid. It first opened in 1965, when I was just 9 years old. It wasn’t long after that that my sisters and I began going to Kelly Walsh High School to go swimming, almost every weekday in the summer. We walked past Pineview School to 8th Street, turned on Sally Lane, crossed the foot bridge to Forest Drive, went up to 12th Street and up to Kelly Walsh pool. It was so much fun to go swimming there every summer, and now the building is gone and the pool will follow. All those years of that pool being such a huge part of my summer…and now it will be gone.
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So many changes are about to occur to the school where I spent my high school years. When the work is done, I don’t know if I will even recognize it. After my graduation, my sisters attended there, and then my older sister’s older children, and then when my girls started high school it was at Kelly Walsh, and once again I spent time there. Now, two of my grandsons are there and I am spending time there again. Kelly Walsh High School will always be a part of my life it seems, but it will not always be the school it was. I know it will be a better school when they are done, and I know it is a necessary change, but it still makes me sad too.

Sometimes in life, an opportunity presents itself, and if you work hard…harder that you ever thought possible, something totally awesome can come your way. That is exactly what happened to the Casper, Wyoming, Kelly Walsh High School Cheerleaders this week in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Kelly Walsh Cheerleaders, of which my niece Siara is a member, have been in other competitions, but this one is special…it is The American Grand. It’s the big one…Nationals!!!

The Kelly Walsh Cheerleaders had already won the State Championships this year, so we all knew that they were special, but Nationals is where you separate the best from the rest!! Nerves are raw, the tension is high, your stomach is doing as many flips as the cheer squad, and yet…you know that you have to do your part…you have to pull your weight…you have to stick every landing, and make every move perfect, because only the best will do in this competition. And you are competing against the best squads in the United States.

Our family has been very proud of Siara’s participation in cheerleading. She has a great personality and sense of style, along with a smile that could light up a cloudy day. She has worked hard, and earned her place in this squad each year. Cheerleading is a part of her now. Siara is a senior this year, and knowing that her high school cheerleading days are almost over, has made her sad at times. Still, there is no better way to end your high school cheerleading career that to go out as both a State Champion and a National Champion!! It doesn’t get better than that!

National Champions…it is a title that has rolled around in the minds of these girls ever since they won the state competition and found out that they were heading to Las Vegas right before Christmas. Could they pull it off? Would their hard work be enough to win this competition? Only time would tell. So, they worked hard and prepared…practicing their routines over and over. Then, less than a week before they were to leave for Vegas, one of the members had to have surgery, and everything changed…from the routines, to the hearts of the girls, who were heartsick for their teammate. Again, the girls stepped up and worked hard to re-vamp their routines.

These girls not only proved that they had the ability to work hard…they proved that they are champions!! Against all odds and adversity, they stuck it out, put big smiles on their faces, and wowwed the judges, to take first place in the Varsity Non-Stunt Division. They are and forever will be National Champions!! I am very proud of my niece, Siara and the Kelly Walsh Cheerleaders!! Congratulations to you all!!

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