"Bud's Last Report Card"

This is a letter that I have been meaning to put up for a while now, I have just been so darn busy that I haven't had time. Now that I have school, an internship and a job on lock I have a little bit of time to get my ducks in a row and cross off some of the "to do's" on my long list today. This is a piece composed by my high school head master, Warren Witherell. It definitely put a smile on my face, and I hope you all enjoy it too (especially if you have been able to watch my life transition over the last 5/6 years). Enjoy. 


Warren, Thank you!


                                                  --   Remembering Elizabeth Reeder  --




              Warren Witherell,


                             Head of School, Crested Butte Academy 2004-2006

We first met at Crested Butte Academy in the spring of 2004. You were an 11th grade student; and I was the “newest kid” in school – a 69 year old Interim Headmaster. My first assignment was to meet (and learn the names of) all students, staff and parents. Your name -- “Bud” -- was as easy to remember, as your face was hard to forget.

When you were in a happy mood, you had the brightest and largest eyes I have ever seen, and a smile that lit up a room. You were the shortest girl in school, but always stood out in a crowd. To speak plainly, you weren’t just the cutest girl in Crested Butte – but probably in all of Colorado as well.

Such stunning beauty is almost always a mixed blessing – one that opens many doors in social and business worlds; but leads also to jealousy among females (who get mean), and to the intimidation of males (who get stupid). Your high school years had their ups and downs. Smiles and Frowns. I’ll spare you the memories in any more detail. Your mom could surely provide a long list.

On the “smile days,” you were always a joy to have around – fun, funny, thoughtful, productive, and creative. But on the “frown days,” you were often less fun, less thoughtful and less productive.  To be honest, you were a pain in the butt some days – like when you didn’t want to go to school meetings even though they were required for all students. You were pretty good at pouting when the real world wasn’t going your way.

On your worst days, you often frustrated this Headmaster and many of your teachers. This said,
a large part of me was always laughing at you on these days. I appreciated and respected your trying so hard to be your own person, to be independent, to impose your 16 year old will on older folks in positions of authority. Stubbornness can often be a virtue. It shows strength and self-confidence and a strong will. You had all three. You took great care, some days, to assure the world you were not a “push-over.” I usually enjoyed your stubbornness and thought it was a trait that would serve you well as you grew older and became an adult. Time, I think, has proven this judgment correct.

During your years at CBA, you were never the smartest kid in your class, or the best athlete on your sports teams, or the kid who would be elected a class officer, or a captain of the ski team.   BUT –

You were always the most interesting kid at Crested Butte Academy. You were more fully engaged in your life than most of your peers; and your brain was always in high gear.

You were a fascinating young girl, Bud!  It was a delight, every day, to watch you stretch and grow and explore your world.

You had amazing artistic talent, an indomitable spirit, and a creative mind.  Your imagination was usually bigger than the real world gave you permission  to exercise it in. This often frustrated you, fascinated me, and was completely missed by many of your teachers (and your student friends, too). I always thought you would become the most successful adult in your graduating class.

I especially enjoyed helping you get into UNR – because I knew you would be a success there; and your teachers and other students would enjoy and appreciate you. You were a bright light in a too often dull world. And now, look at what has happened …………………………………………….

Elizabeth Reeder is the first graduate of the CBA Class of 2005 to complete four years of college, and then (HELP!) go on to Graduate School. And not just any graduate school, but FIDM  -- one of the best art and design schools in America. That was a dream you had way back in high school. And you have made your dream come true. Good for you, Bud. Is this stubbornness rewarded? Yes!

Crested Butte Academy (if it was still alive) would be very proud of you.

So please accept this “Report Card” as formal recognition by your CBA Headmaster that you are, from this day forth, and forever after, to be recognized as the:

                               “MOST ACCOMPLISHED GRADUATE”
                                           “OFFICIAL SUPER STAR”    
                                                             of the 

                                                   CBA Class of 2005

                                                 !   Congratulations  !            

                                              A VISUAL REMEMBRANCE


                                                              Bud Reeder

In closing, I would like to share an image I have of you from our CBA days. It lives in my memory as a symbol of the faith I have that you were (and still are) “the most interesting student, athlete, and person” I was privileged to know at CBA.”

Whenever I think of you Bud, this image comes as clearly to my mind as things that happened yesterday. Here is the image:

The last time I saw you in Crested Butte was in the late summer of 2006. You stopped by my office at school to say “Goodbye” before you went west to Nevada, and I moved east to Vermont. It was a quick visit to wish each other well in the new lives we were embarking on. We walked together to the front door, stepped outside, wished one another “good luck,” and -- as you turned to go -- I added:

“Keep in touch.” It was a throw away line, not something I had thought carefully about. But as you walked away, the idea expanded rapidly in my mind. You turned left and walked down Whiterock Avenue toward the Community School. You never looked back; but I kept looking forward. I watched you intently for as long as possible, until you disappeared from view. I watched every step you took -- with a mixture of fascination, appreciation and respect.

I was completely surprised by the intensity of my emotions and my desire to know how your life would evolve. I cared to know this with a depth of curiosity that I couldn’t explain to another person, or even to myself.

As you walked away, I felt I was watching the end of a Hollywood movie where the heroine walks (or rides a horse) off into the distance, and her image fades, and the theatre lights come on. Those who have been fascinated by the heroine in a movie want to know more -- want to know if there will be a sequel to the film. It is really difficult when a character, whose life you have shared for a limited time, just disappears.

Watching you walk away, I wondered if I would ever see you again, or know how your life turned out. I wanted very much to know. I have said “goodbye and good luck” to many hundreds of kids on graduation days – kids I knew and loved and cared about because they were students in my classes, and players on my teams, and special partners in building communities at the schools where I worked. But never have I wanted so much to know how one kid’s future life would turn out.

I have had five years to think about this Bud, and I still can’t explain it. It just is.

As I turned to walk back to my office, I hoped I might keep in touch  with your mom and get occasional reports from her on “what Bud is doing.” Never, in my wildest imagination, did I think that one day I could click on an internet blog and know almost everything that is going on in your very interesting world. What a gift! Especially to an old school man who loves to watch kids grow. I smile every day when I read your blog and observe your growth. It’s both fun and inspiring to watch your life unfold. Most of all it is fun to see you fulfilling so much of your potential. 

I have taken time to write of this so you can know how privileged I feel each day to be a witness to so many of your thoughts, experiences, and emotions. Talk about “keeping in touch!” 

But most important – as you are heading to a new school and turning new pages in your life story – I want you to know how strongly I feel that you are an extraordinarily talented young woman. I’ll bet my last dollar, Bud, that you will be the most interesting student at FIDM. You should walk into your new environment with enormous confidence that you are going to be someone very, very special in the design world.

I believe you will be a “most accomplished graduate” of your class at FIDM, and truly a super-star in the design world. You have extraordinary gifts of personality, imagination, energy, and beauty, (and, when needed, stubbornness). Stubbornness is a useful trait in a competitive world!

Enjoy every day of your new life, Bud. And always believe in your extraordinary talent and imagination.

Take Los Angeles by storm!

And keep in touch.

With love and respect,


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