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All summer I had been speculating about the first day of high school, but not for the same reasons as my peers. While others were perfecting their “summer bods,” I was worried about one particular class and one particular teacher. As I took a front seat in the classroom, 23 pairs of knowing eyes watched me, and my sweaty palms and red face felt exposed. The teacher stepped up to the front of the room, but my classmates’ eyes stayed on me. “Hello, freshman geology! My name is Travis Moore...” My peers would call him Travis, but to me, he would always be Dad. He smiled, and my shoulders relaxed.

Being his student was something I’d experienced all 6,387 days of my life. Dad taught me not just about geology, but about living a wholesome life. A fourth generation Aspenite, I was raised in the mountains right outside my door. Here, I discovered my zest for the environment and learned to embrace the small town experience. On Christmas morning, I’m not concerned with the presents, but with carving seamless tracks through the silky snow. My family races to the lift in anticipation of our annual ritual. We tromp up “Highlands Bowl,” carrying cheese and sausage, to picnic at 12,392 feet, overlooking the magnificent Elk Mountain range...

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