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MSU Denver Alumna Veronica Barela joins with President Stephen Jordan in the ceremonial groundbreaking. Photo by Jessie Taves
By Cliff Foster
Following an appreciative toast by Metropolitan State University Denver Athletics Director Joan McDermott, President Stephen Jordan, members of the Board of Trustees and others donned hard hats and grabbed shovels to officially break ground June 5 for the MSU’s $12 million Athletic Complex.
“For the greater MSU Denver and Auraria communities, this complex will provide a comfortable place to come together as colleagues and as Roadrunner fans and to cheer our warm-weather teams,” Jordan said.
But Jordan stressed throughout his remarks that the complex, which is taking shape south of the Colfax viaduct adjacent to Shoshone Street, east of I-25, is “about more than MSU Denver and future Roadrunner glory”—a theme echoed by other speakers.
“It’s about creating a park in an urban desert, a place where neighborhood seniors can walk in the morning and where children can safely play sports and develop a love of teamwork and physical fitness,” he said. “From here we can develop relationships with the nearby neighborhoods—La Alma, Lincoln Park, Sun Valley and Val Verde. From here we can develop partnerships with community organizations and rec programs. From here we can inspire kids, who meet our athletes and play on our fields, to see the promise of higher education and aspire to it.”
Rob Cohen, chair of the Board of Trustees, noted that the complex fits into the vision of preeminence for MSU Denver by benefitting students, student-athletes and the community by raising the university’s profile and by promoting more public-private partnerships “that are a foundation of MSU Denver’s role as an urban land-grant institution.”
In keeping with this role, he said, the Athletic Complex will partner with community agencies, including the Denver Parks and Recreation Department citywide tennis program to use the courts in the summer for instruction and camps. Cohen said MSU Denver is in partnership discussions with the Colorado Youth Soccer Association and with Major League Baseball and the Colorado Rockies to host their RBI—Returning Baseball to the Inner-City—program on the baseball field.
“We’re also discussing how the Denver Public School College Readiness Program, which our Center for Urban Education hosted for the first time last year, could take advantage of the complex’s facilities to expand the college experience for the program’s young DPS students,” Cohen said.
The Athletic Complex will be built in phases. Work began in February with environmental clean-up—the site once held various fuel, food and cold-storage facilities—and site preparation. Plans call for eight tennis courts and a fitness trail encircling the 12-acre site scheduled for fall, said John Kietzmann, assistant athletic director for marketing. Next comes fields for soccer, softball and baseball, though the sequence could change.
“It’s a very fluid project,” he said.
Future plans call for locker rooms, a multipurpose room, a concession area and an outdoor plaza.
District 9 Denver City Councilwoman Judy Montero said the groundbreaking reflects “five years of smart planning and cooperation” among all three Auraria Campus institutions and the Auraria Higher Education Center.
“My hope is that this public asset with help to inspire neighborhood people of all ages to pursue a university degree at nearby MSU Denver,” she said. “Here’s to the continued growth of our partnership within the campus community, the neighborhood community and the city of Denver.”
And those neighbors appreciate the partnership.
“Beyond revitalizing this area, the Athletic Complex will bring opportunities to children, to senior citizens,” said Veronica Barela, (’77) president and CEO of NEWSED, a nonprofit organization that supports and promotes economic development, neighborhood revitalization and housing opportunities.
Also helping Jordan, Cohen, Montero and Barela in the ceremonial groundbreaking were other members of the Board of Trustees: Barbara Weiske, executive vice president of administration and chief executive officer of AHEC; Tami Door, president and chief executive officer of the Downtown Denver Partnership, who chairs Auraria’s board; and Saunders Construction Chairman and CEO John Beeble.
Four fourth-grade students from Lenski Elementary School in Centennial took honors in the statewide spring Stock Market Experience Competition. Grant Zeleny and Christian Todd placed first in their age division, and Karina David and Hannah Waldvogel placed second.
The Stock Market Experience is a state-of-the-art, real-life simulation program in which students, working in teams, manage their own virtual $100,000 investment portfolio. They research and invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and commodities over the course of a semester.
The program is sponsored by the Colorado Council for Economic Education.
SkyView Academy, a preschool – 12th grade public charter school in Highlands Ranch, hosted its grand reopening on May 10 to celebrate the completion of a nine-month construction project to repurpose the remaining square footage of the former Home Depot to accommodate SVA secondary students. More than 1,000 people enjoyed carnival-style games, dinner provided by local food trucks, and guided tours of the recently completed 153,000 square foot school facility.
“As a founder, board member, and now an employee, I can’t express how proud I am at the accomplishments of our young charter school,” said Lisa Nolan, SVA’s interim executive director. “In only three years of operation, we have built an impressive space to deliver the comprehensive program we dreamed about for children ages 3-18 years.”
SkyView Academy opened its doors to preschool through fifth grade students in the fall of 2010 in a single story, 44,000 square foot renovation of the current building. Construction on the remaining space began in July 2012, and the vision for the building’s renovation is now complete, thanks to the tireless efforts of the SVA leadership and community and strategic partnerships with Fransen Pittman General Contractors, SLATERPAULL Architects, and Inline Management.
New features to the building include 43 new secondary classrooms, a 15,200 square foot gym, a Cafetorium, a 2,265 square foot library with expansive views of the mountains, science and computer labs, art and music facilities, and an outdoor artificial turf field. For more information, visit www.skyviewacademy.org.
SMA Alumna Sarah Castle
St. Mary’s Academy Commencement Ceremonies were held May 18, where their now fellow alumnae, Sarah Castle, who preceded them by 11 years, delivered the commencement address. When considering Castle’s resume, it is overwhelming to consider the powerful and varied experiences she has had in just over a decade.
First her education: After graduating from St. Mary’s Academy, Castle went to the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she earned both a bachelor and master degrees. She has a JD from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law. While in law school, Castle participated in Moot Court competition and in 2012 Castle was inducted into the National Order of Barristers, an honor society in recognition of strong oral arguments. After interning with then Sen. Ken Salazar and clerking and interning in the legal field, today Castle works as a Special Assistant United States Attorney, Western District of Missouri, Kansas City.
That’s the first part of Castle’s resume. She is also an accomplished Paralympic athlete. To borrow words from the blog that she kept while she was in London last summer playing with and serving as captain of the U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team.
“In 1995, I became partially paralyzed when my body thought my spinal cord was a disease, attacked my nerves, and permanently damaged them. Three years later I made my first international team and I have been competing at the Paralympic level since.”
As a swimmer, Castle competed in the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia, where she captured a silver medal in the 100m breast stroke and 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece, where she finished fourth. From 2000-2002, Castle set, held and reset the World Record in the 1500m freestyle. She was competing at this level during her sophomore through senior years of high school.
While earning her BA and MA at Illinois, she played with the school’s Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team and helped them earn five National titles. In 2004 Castle’s shoulder injuries had compounded and her swimming career came to an end.
In 2005, Castle was selected as a member of the USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team and has since competed and helped the U.S. win Silver at the 2006 World Championships, and win Gold at the 2007 and 2011 ParaPan American Games, the 2010 World Championships, and the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, and most recently in the 2012 London Games.
Castle is a dedicated disabilities advocate. In 2009, she served as Lead Organizer for a statewide action called “Freedom Quest 2009,” which brought people with developmental disabilities from around Illinois together to advocate for their rights; the event included 13 stops in 13 different cities and more than 250 participants.
On her resume, Castle describes herself as a “federal criminal prosecutor and four-time Paralympic athlete dedicated to the administration of justice and equality, educated in the law, civic leadership/public policy, and disability. Actively involved in helping children with disabilities understand and accomplish independence through athletics and academics, and an active advocate for people with disabilities.”
SMA is committed to educating young people who will find their voice, find their path and be powerful agents of change. Castle cited the lessons beyond the classroom that she learned at SMA, “rules, respect and responsibility, three R’s our world needs.” She encouraged the students to “treat every day as a day to make the world a better place, dare to be different,…try new things, …and to focus on the process, not the end result.” She reminded students about gratitude and humility and that there were many people who help along the way. St. Mary’s Academy is grateful for our community, present and past, and we are humbled.
Smoky Hill High School Science teacher Mark Paricio, recipient of the $10,000 Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence, pictured with his wife, Cheryl, also a SHHS science teacher, and their children Lindsey and Eric, who are SHHS students. Photo courtesy of CCSD
Submitted by CCSD
Mark Paricio, a National Board Certified physics teacher at Smoky Hill High School, is a 2013 winner of the Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence. An Amgen representative made a surprise visit to one of Paricio’s classes on May 14 and presented him with a check for $10,000. Paricio can use half of that for personal use and the other half to enhance science programs at Smoky Hill.
Paricio is one of nine science teachers honored with the award in 2013. They were selected by an independent panel of judges on the basis of creativity of teaching methods; effectiveness in the classroom; and plans for the use of grant money to improve science education resources in their schools. All have demonstrated an outstanding ability to inspire their students and produce results in science education.
Paricio is the second Cherry Creek Schools teacher in three years to receive the Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence. Overland High School science coordinator Jennifer Nass-Fukai received the award in 2011.
Amgen, an international biotechnology company with U.S. operations in Colorado and four other states, sponsors the Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence to recognize teachers in K-12 grade levels in public and private schools whose dedication to their students’ education has had a significant impact on the learning and interest of the next generation of scientists.
Cherry Creek Schools 2013 Verne Shelley Scholarship recipients: Tamara Gaffney, selection committee member, recipient Michelle Manring, recipient Jayla Ponsford, recipient Chelsea Peele, Terry Todd, selection committee chairman.
Three Cherry Creek School District employees were selected from 33 applicants to receive $300 Verne Shelley Scholarships to use for continuing education and professional development. Selection committee chairman Terry Todd presented the scholarships at the May 13 Board of Education meeting.
• Michelle Manring – Before and After Program Director at Creekside Elementary – will use her scholarship to continue her education to enhance wellness in the Before and After Program.
• Chelsea Peele – Instrumental music teacher and orchestra director at Laredo Middle School and Smoky Hill High School – will use her scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in Music Education at the University of Colorado.
• Jayla Ponsford – Dance teacher and Performing Arts Department Coordinator at Eaglecrest High School – will use her scholarship to attend dance educator workshops.
The scholarships are awarded in honor of Verne Shelley, who served as Cherry Creek’s personnel director from 1972 to 1985. Shelley was also a member of the Cherry Creek Valley Optimist Club, which established the scholarships after Shelley’s unexpected death in 1985. This year, 33 Cherry Creek Schools employees applied for the scholarships, which are awarded annually to three people who demonstrate Shelley’s belief that learning is a life-long commitment.
If you would like to contribute to the Verne Shelley Scholarship Fund, make your check payable to the Verne Shelley Scholarship Fund and send it to The Verne Shelley Scholarship Fund, c/o Brad Arnold, Office of Fiscal Services, Auxiliary Services Center, 4850 S. Yosemite St., Greenwood Village, CO 80111.
2013 AJHS Daniels Scholars back row: Erick Escajeda-Estrada, Carlos Ramirez-Naranjo, Luis Treviso and William Major. Front row: Judith Luevano Juarez, Dayana Robles, Jennifer Tamariz Bautista and Melissa Vazquez. Photo courtesy of Arrupe Jesuit
Class of 2013 earn more than $5.5M
Arrupe Jesuit High School announced the senior class has earned more than $5.5 million in merit-based scholarships to date. Among this distinguished achievement are two Gates Millennium Scholars and eight Daniels Scholars.
Luis Salas and Wanda Nevarez have been selected as a Gates Millennium Scholars, and will receive funding to attend their choice of any U.S. accredited college or university. In addition, if graduate studies are pursued in the fields of Computer Science, Education, Engineering, Library Science, Mathematics, Public Health or Science, the two students’ GMS fellowship funding may be applied throughout the master’s and doctoral levels. Salas and Nevarez both will be attending Regis University.
Arrupe Jesuit winners of the esteemed Daniels Fund Scholarship are: Erick Escajeda-Estrada (University of Colorado Denver), Judith Luevano Juarez (University of Denver), William Major (Colorado School of Mines), Carlos Ramirez-Naranjo (Colorado State University), Dayana Robles (Santa Clara University), Jennifer Tamariz Bautista (Loyola University Chicago), Luis Trevizo (Loyola University Chicago) and Melissa Vazquez (Loyola University Chicago). The Daniels Scholarship is not “full ride,” but is supplemental to all other financial resources, including an estimated family contribution, available to the student. By requiring students to apply for other readily available financial resources such as Pell Grants, the Daniels Fund is able to provide even more scholarships to deserving young people seeking to attend college.
Arrupe Jesuit seniors will graduate May 31.
2013 AJHS Gates Millennium Scholars Wanda Nevarez and Luis Salas
Event to assist in enrollment, financial aid and more
Submitted by ACC
Arapahoe Community College will offer an opportunity for anyone to begin the process of enrolling in Fall 2013 classes with the Start Now! event on Saturday, June 8, from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. at all three ACC campuses.
Start Now! will provide all prospective and currently-applied, but not enrolled, students with the opportunity to complete student orientation and placement testing while receiving assistance with advising, financial aid and registration during this one-day session held concurrently at ACC’s Littleton, Parker and Castle Rock Campuses.
Start Now! will include regular tours and staff will be on hand to help answer any questions about ACC’s program. Additionally, the Financial Aid Office and Cashier’s Office will be available to assist new students with the process of applying for financial aid and understanding how to pay for classes. Bring your 2012 tax forms if you are interested in free assistance.
In order to be eligible to enroll in Fall 2013 classes, all students new to the college experience are required to complete assessment testing and attend a New Student Orientation Session. Two sessions will be available on June 8 (9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.).
For more information, or to apply for admission, contact the Admission and Records Office at email@example.com or 303-797-5621.
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