Always been a Mustang

Colt Henricks, Reporter

Building relationships with peers, especially in school, can be quite challenging. When students face the challenge of moving from a different school and integrating into a tight-knit community, breaking into already formed friend groups is difficult. Staying in the same school district your whole life is incredibly challenging as well. In a small community, like Manitou Springs, Colorado, students are known well by their peers and teachers. According to senior Sofija Cirko, “everyone knows everyone and if you make a mistake everyone learns about which can negatively hurt you.” It can also be challenging to navigate significant life changes, when others feel like they “know” the student. However, being a part of the Mustang “Herd” has more upsides than challenges. No one knows this better than the 31 seniors who have spent their entire school career in MSSD14.

Senior Sofija Cirko has felt the joys and challenges of being a student in Manitou since Kindergarten. Cirko started her education at Ute Pass Elementary School. Cirko recalled a story about her and Sophie McKeown (12) from those days. In Kindergarten, the two girls would meet up and spend hours at the local library talking to each other in different languages. At the time, Cirko wasn’t fluent in English as she had recently moved to Green Mountain Falls from Croatia. “Our moms would look at each other like they know what they’re talking about?” said Cirko. Though Cirko was born in Chicago she moved to Croatia when she was 2. She would return back to the States when she was six. Cirko eventually learned English at Ute Pass Elementary School, where she would also form some lifelong friendships.

Kianu Luna, another senior here at Manitou Springs High School has also been here since the beginning. Luna built up great relationships with a group of friends starting at Manitou Springs Elementary. To this day, he is surprised most at Thor Flett’s transformation. At MSES, Luna recalls that he and Finn Evans were great friends and were in the planning stages of creating a future business that revolved around Marvel. They both especially enjoyed Ironman where the two of them would build things using Legos. “Finn used to be really into origami and he made Ironman costumes and characters, Luna said. Luna also remembers receiving an iPad where additionally they would start filming. To this day, he gives credit to Evans for continuing to use iMovie with his parkour and acknowledged his edits on Instagram.

When Cirko and Luna reached middle school at MSMS, both recalled memories of playing football on the upper activity field together with Wally Hoehne, Caden Harris, Caden Salladay, Dana Gutierrez, and Lars Marquardt. When they all reached their freshman year at MSHS, they would continue to play games outside on the track. These freshmen would go on to make their mark on Manitou Springs High School, all as athletes; and Harris, Gutierrez, and Salladay as leaders in STUCO.

Now, as their high school careers end and their college careers start, Luna along with most of his friend group plan on attending college at Colorado State University in Fort Collins where their goal is to move into a house and split the money to save on expensive dorms. The friendships formed as they grew up in the shadow of Pikes Peak will continue to grow.

Christi Marquardt