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High Plains Elementary second graders wrote letters to Airman Spencer Koerner while he was away at boot camp. The airman answered the students’ letters and read them almost nightly.Photos courtesy of High Plains Elementary School
In September 2012, Airman Spencer William Koerner of the U.S. Air Force Reserve went to boot camp at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas, for six months. His mother, Diane Koerner, the secretary at High Plains Elementary in Greenwood Village, missed her son and mentioned her son’s experiences in the armed forces to several of her colleagues at school. One of the people she spoke to was Carson Rose, a second grade teacher at High Plains.
Rose was in the middle of a writing unit with his class that focused on letter writing. Once he spoke to the children about Airman Koerner, the kids began to understand that he might be lonely because he was away from family and friends for such a long time. The kids thought it would help Spencer get through some of his tougher days and they were also very interested in asking him questions about boot camp.
The students wrote him letters and 20-year-old Airman Koerner answered all of their questions by sending his mother a handwritten letter. Diane Koerner then typed it all up and emailed Rose so he could read the response to the class, and they were all so thrilled that he “answered all of them.”
Now stationed at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Spencer paid a visit to Rose’s second grade class at High Plains Elementary to thank them for their letters. He had kept their letters and brought them with him to show the class how much the letters meant to him. While visiting the class he talked to them about how all the letters were so nice and thoughtful, and how they helped get him through basic training/boot camp. He also told the kids he would read all of their letters almost every night.
During his visit, he passed around his dog tags so the kids could look at them. Airman Koerner explained to the kids that his favorite part is putting on a uniform every day and protecting people.
Airman Spencer William Koerner talks to second graders in Carson Rose’s class at High Plains Elementary about his experiences at boot camp in Texas.
Centennial resident Sarah Moore will participate in the National America Miss Colorado Pageant, June 30.
Sarah Moore, 18, of Centennial, has been chosen as a state finalist in the National America Miss Colorado Pageant to be held June 30 at the Denver Marriott. The National Miss pageants are held for girls 4 – 18 and have five different age divisions. Moore will be participating in the Teen division.
She attended Grandview High School and now attends Aurora Community College. She will be entering Colorado State University in the fall.
Her activities include yoga, hiking, running cooking and she enjoys volunteering at her local community garden and participating in speaking competitions at ACC.
As first in Class, Lt. Zeb Hanley was the first to receive his diploma from Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley.
Zebulon Hanley, a 2009 graduate of Cherry Creek High School, graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the Air Force. Hanley graduated first in the Academy’s Class of 2013, which graduated 1,024 cadets, by achieving the highest overall point average (consisting of grade point average, military point average and athletic point average). Lt. Hanley was on the Superintendent’s List for honors in academics, athletics and military duties for all eight of his semesters at the Academy.
Lt. Hanley received Bachelor of Science degrees in both Operations Research and Economics. In addition to the receiving four Outstanding Cadet in the Order of Graduation Awards, Lt. Hanley received the Top Academic Award and was named the Outstanding Cadet in Operations Research, Economics, and Basic Sciences. His name was added to the Academy’s 100 Year Honor Roll plaque in Arnold Hall at the Academy.
Lt. Hanley was on the Falcons Cycling Team, having individual finishes of eighth, ninth and 17th in national collegiate cycling championships, as well as second place finish in the team time trial. He is a member of the Academy’s “500 Club” for the highest possible score on the aerobic fitness test.
Next fall, he will begin working on a graduate degree in operations research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Lt. Hanley is the son of the Cindy (“All-World Mom”) and Paul Hanley, a corporate attorney at Spencer Fane & Grimshaw and a former member of the Board of Education for the Cherry Creek School District. Lt. Hanley’s sister, Mariah, was a 2007 graduate of Cherry Creek High School, and is currently a graduate student at Harvard University in Chemistry.
Cherry Creek High School graduate Zeb Hanley graduated first in the U.S. Air Force Academy Class of 2013 by achieving the highest overall point average of all students.Courtesy photos
Assistant Superintendent Eric Flor and Superintendent Mary Chesley, both honored as Asset Champions by the Community Asset Project .
Submitted by CCSD
Cherry Creek Schools Superintendent Mary Chesley, Assistant Superintendent Eric Flor and parent volunteer Ian Miller were recently honored as Asset Champions by the Community Asset Project.
CAP is a nonprofit partner of the Cherry Creek School District and positively impacts more than 51,000 students and their families through youth leadership training, Positive Behavior Supports, drug and alcohol abuse prevention, suicide prevention and other important programs.
At the annual Parent Information Network Brunch, May 7, the CAP board presented Asset Champion Awards to Chesley and Flor, who are both retiring at the end of the school year.
Chesley has served the Cherry Creek School District for 23 years as a teacher, principal, district level administrator and superintendent.
“Mary is known for her integrity, humor, genuine nature and compassionate and inspiring leadership,” said CAP board member Steve Cohen. “She has spread endless wisdom and has gone out of her way to make students, staff and parents feel valued. It is impossible for Mary to do anything but embody the developmental assets with every waking moment, every difficult decision, every interaction she has. We thank her for her dedication to the Cherry Creek mission that inspires our 51,000 students to think, to learn, to achieve and to care.”
Flor has served the Cherry Creek Schools community for 27 years, starting as a teacher and ending as assistant superintendent of Educational Operations.
“Eric is known for his kind and thoughtful leadership, and for taking the time to notice and celebrate the little things that make a difference in a child’s life,” said Cohen. “In 1999, while principal at Walnut Hills Elementary, Eric took the time to read a language arts assignment written by Patrick, a 4th grader who wanted to become a famous writer. He penned a short note saying he looked forward to reading the writer’s first book. That note still hangs over Patrick’s desk, a published poet and doctoral student in English Literature.”
In April, the CAP board visited Cherokee Trail High School to recognize parent volunteer Ian Miller. An executive at Raytheon, an Army reservist and a father of three, Miller still finds time to coach lacrosse, serve as president and past resident of the Cherokee Trail Boy’s Lacrosse Booster Club, and work with young men as a Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader.
“Miller takes being a positive role model to a whole new level,” said Cohen. “He is truly one of those people within our community who exemplify the spirit of the 40 developmental assets through their good works.”
The Community Asset Project was founded on the 40 developmental assets, which help young people develop into successful and responsible adults. For more information, visit www.assetsconnect.org.
Asset Champion Ian Miller with CAP board members Capt. Jerry Rhodes, Steve Cohen, Shawna Allen and Shane Peroceschi.Photos courtesy of CCSD
An initiative designed to serve teachers in Colorado and provide affordable professional growth opportunities begins this summer when Regis University’s School of Education and Counseling in the College for Professional Studies and the Regis College Master of Arts in Education launch the university’s first Master Teacher Series with two workshops featuring nationally-known speakers.
The Master Teacher Series: Regis University in Service of Teachers features presentations by international consultants, authors and educators Richard Cash and Ellin Keene. SEC will sponsor Cash’s presentation titled “Advancing Differentiations: Thinking and Learning in the 21st Century” slated for June 11-12 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Regis University’s Clarke Hall atrium. MAE is sponsoring Keene’s presentation titled “Reimagining Teacher Leadership” July 11 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Mountain View Room of Regis University’s St. Peter Claver, S.J. Hall. Breakout sessions will follow the keynote.
“At Regis University we understand the tremendous pressures that teachers are under,” said Janna Oakes, dean of the SEC, while discussing the reasons for initiating the series. “Calls for increased public accountability in the schools, the substantial weight of learner performance on standardized tests, differentiating curricula to meet the needs of a diverse group of students, and doing the best for students with limited fiscal resources keep good teachers on their toes. “We want to provide these students with professional development on timely topics that impact classrooms today.”
Kathy Nutting, director of the MAE in Regis College, one of three colleges at Regis University, emphasizes that “Now more than ever, there is a need to expand the expertise that teachers hold so they are ready to serve in a variety of leadership roles to address the needs of students, schools and the teaching profession. As educators address new reform measures, teacher leaders will be a catalyst for making change happen while playing a pivotal role in increasing student achievement. These two workshops in the Master Teacher Series provide quality learning opportunities about topics of high relevance to professional learning communities.”
Both workshops offer Colorado Department of Education recertification credit for licensure renewal. The July 11 workshop may also be taken for Regis University Graduate credit with additional tuition applied.
The June 11-12 workshop fee is $75 and includes coffee, lunch and materials. The July 11 workshop fee is $50, includes breakfast, lunch, materials and networking reception. Graduate credit with applied tuition is available for those who pre-register for this workshop by June 7.
For more information or to register, visit http://ep.regis.edu/2013-Master-Teacher-Events.
Carly Sellaro is graduating from Englewood High School this month as the school district’s first all-digital student, meaning she did all of her schooling on an iPad. This fall, Englewood Schools will distribute iPads to all 2,000 of its elementary and middle school students. Photo courtesy of Englewood Schools
District distributes iPads, graduates its first ‘digital student’
By Peter Jones
Englewood Schools has graduated into the 21st century.
As Englewood readies for a state-of-the-art combined middle school/high school campus that is slated to open early next year, the once-beleaguered school district is making technological strides that few could have predicted.
Beginning in the fall, every elementary and middle school student in the district – 2,000 in total – will receive a district-issued iPad for use at school, home and anywhere else the learning takes them.
Plans call for high school kids to eventually receive the devices too.
The move follows a pilot program in Englewood middle schools – one that saw such widespread appreciation that not a single student lost or damaged their device. Englewood Leadership Academy, the district’s admission-based middle school, uses iPads exclusively, completely eschewing traditional pen, paper and notebook.
As evidence of the evolving trend, this month Englewood High School graduated its first-ever all-digital student. Senior Carly Sellaro did all of her school assignments – homework, tests, projects – on an electronic device, even scanning those old-fashioned worksheets and handouts onto her well-worn iPad.
District spokeswoman Julie McGinley expects more students to follow in Sellaro’s footsteps as district iPads become as commonplace as backpacks and binders.
“We’re trying to move more toward 21st century learning,” McGinley said. “We’re going to have much more of a focus on technology just because it’s become so important in today’s workplace and because kids like it and we want to keep them engaged.”
The effort is also designed to enhance reading in a district that has sometimes struggled with at-risk populations. Each of the district-issued iPads will be equipped with a personalized literacy program called the myON reader.
As many as 3,000 books – fiction, nonfiction and textbooks – will be available for download on the device, which tracks a student’s reading interests and ability to understand. Among other features, the myON defines words for students when needed, recommends other books of similar subject and tests the student’s comprehension at the end of each chapter.
“Without a teacher having to go to a child and test them to see what their level is, this tool does that regularly,” McGinley said. “It graphs it and makes charts so a teacher will know if a certain student is struggling, so they can hopefully put some interventions in place sooner than later.”
Children without home Internet access will not be left out. Students can download as many as 20 books at a time while at school and read them anywhere they want.
“We’re hoping this levels the playing field so kids who might not have as much access to reading at home will have the same amount of access,” McGinley said. “If we had those 3,000 books in the library, only one student could read each book at a time. That limits the amount of reading that the kids can do.”
What’s more, because standard textbooks are part of the myON library, the district will save money on purchasing them for every student.
The $1.1 million initiative is being made possible in large part by the Morgridge Family Foundation, which has pledged more than $100,000 toward the effort. The rest of the money is coming from a technology-oriented bond fund and from the district’s general-fund reserves.
Sellaro, the district’s first all-digital graduate, may be the sign of things to come. For the Englewood High School student-body president, it was just a matter of wanting to cut through the clutter of papers, folders and notebooks. The 21st century learner was often ahead of her teachers, who were not as proficient in the digital world.
“Some of my grades would drop because my teachers weren’t used to checking their email for my assignments,” she said. “I’d have to remind them that it was in their inbox, so after they got it my grades would go back up.”
McGinley says Sellaro was often in the position of teaching the teachers.
“It was kind of an adjustment on their part,” McGinley said. “But hopefully, she paved the way for that to be more normal.”
Sellaro helped Englewood Leadership Academy go digital, training that middle school’s teachers on her own self-taught techniques and largely saving them the trial and error of jumping headfirst into digital technology.
This fall, she will attend Metropolitan State University, where she intends to continue her all-digital studies.
McGinley expects Sellaro’s example to be the wave of the future as students become accustomed to virtual learning.
“What we saw in the middle schools is that kids love their iPads,” the district spokeswoman said. “If for some reason their iPad isn’t charged or they don’t have access to it, it’s a bummer for them to have to write on paper.”
Arapahoe High School scholar athletes were honored last week for their accomplishments at the annual signing day event. The Warriors had 38 students who received this recognition during the school year.Photos by Tom Barry
By Tom Barry
Recently, more than 1,200 students – over half of the school body, plus parents and faculty – showed up at Arapahoe High’s cafeteria for an annual event honoring student athletes. Steve Sisler, the school’s athletic director and an assistant principal, began the celebratory ceremony.
Sisler began the ritual by saying how proud he and the community were of all of the 15 students who had maintained high grades while competing in their respective sports. Students sat together in the front row, as they were announced one-by-one going up to the stage.
Each of the students honored wore T-shirts representing the respective college or university they would be attending.
“Some students signed formal letters of intent, while others had verbally expressed their intent to ‘walk-on’ to the respective teams,” said Sisler. “We honor them all.”
Arapahoe’s Principal Natalie Pramenko congratulated the parents as they walked to the stage. Janelle Weems, Sisler’s assistant, effectively planned and coordinated the lively and colorful event.
In signing ceremonies this school year, Arapahoe has recognized 38 scholar-athletes. Most of the students have received academic scholarships to the places of higher learning. These individuals will attend schools that participate in NCAA Division 1 to Division 3 level programs.
Steve Sisler, Arapahoe’s athletic director and an assistant principal, stands behind the podiuma. Principal Natalie Pramenko on right claps as the AD calls out a student athlete’s name for acknowledgment.
Melissa Barella will be attending Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., on a track and academic scholarships, as she has a 3.8 GPA. Barella will major in biology and hopes to attend medical school. She is pictured with her mom Dona, sister Elaine, a junior at Arapahoe, and dad Scott. Favorite team memory – “At a qualifying state meet the long jump bar was raised it to 5-foot-1.25, and then to 5-foot-2’, and finally I had cleared 5-foort-4, which was not only a personal record, but a school record.”
A proud Amanda Arbogast, who maintains a 3.4 GPA, will be on the pom/dance team at CSU. She is here posing with her Tom Toms Coach Kay Seastone and Nicole Bruhn who will attend the Univ. of Minnesota and perform and maintains a 4.1 GPA. Arbogast will study business and hopes to become a marketing director. Favorite team memory: “This year, we won state and this is the first time in 15 years that the Toms won this competition. This was my senior year and I was a captain.”
Jordan Seitz will attend Regis University and will be on their cross-country team. She maintains a 3.5 GPA and also runs track competing in short and long distance races. She is pictured with her dad Jamie and mom Kelly.
Ryan Smith will attend Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis., and play lacrosse. He has a 2.9 GPA. Favorite team memory: “Probably sitting on the plane with my coach when heading back from spring break talking about things he did in high school – Coach Ryan Price.”
Ethan Pfeiffer will attend the Colorado School of Mines.
Thomas Trotman will attend and play basketball for Rockhurst University. He has a 3.0 GPA and may study sports management. This point guard shared the limelight with his parents Bodessa and Thomas. Favorite team memory: “Definitely making it to the state championship last year, complimented our great season.”
Very proud Arapahoe High basketball coaches Jerry Knafelc and Tim Slabach flank Stacey Lukasiewicz, Karlyn Johnson, Carly Buechler and Molly Reidel, who were honored as student athletes.
Michael Sosnowski, a tennis player, will attend Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla He maintains a 3.6 GPA. He is joined by his parents Andrzej and Kari and his sister Michelle.
Carly Buechler, a basketball point guard, will attend Whittier College in California. She received an academic scholarship with her 3.5 GPA. She is joined by her dad Bruce, twin sister Alex who also played on the team and will attend University of Colorado, and mom Cindy. Favorite team memory: “Definitely making it to the final four and getting to play at CU in Boulder.”
Morgan Dickie will attend and swim at the University of North Carolina in Asheville. She is joined by her mom Sandy, sister Kennedy and her dad Bob. Dickie has a 3.7 GPA and plans to study environmental engineering. “My favorite team memory from Arapahoe’s swim team is singing Lean On Me in the locker room before all of our home meets.”
Gabrielle Morley, a swimmer, will attend Colorado State University and has a 3.7 GPA. She trains for a club team and is up at 4:30 a.m. every day for practice and plans to swim on the Rams team in her second year. Morley is joined by her mom Julianna and her sister Olivia, a freshman who also swims for the Warriors.
Jack Goodreau incurred a broken wrist in late April during a lacrosse game and will play attacker for Adams State College. He maintains a 3.0 GPA and received an academic scholarship and intends to study psychology. He shared the stage with his mom Gina, brother Samuel and dad Marc. Favorite team memory – “Winning state last year with a 19 and 0 record.”
Savannah Rose will attend the University of Hawaii in Oahu and plans to swim for their team and wants to become an event planner. She has a 3.5 GPA and was joined by her grandma Mary Rose and her parents Gene and Olivia. Favorite team memory: “I think it was my senior year becoming so close with the team and my coaches and spending all my time with them.”
Karlyn Johnson will attend Regis University and also play basketball. She has a 3.9 GPA and received athletic and academic scholarships. She is joined by her brothers Jordan and Dylan and her dad Wayne. Favorite team memory: “Every single moment spent with my teammates was so much fun. We are more than teammates, really. We’re sisters.”
Stacy Lukasiewicz is joined by her family, Jenna, Kevin, Kyle, her parents Julie and Ward and on the bottom row Karissa, Stacey, Steven. She will attend Seattle Pacific University and play basketball for the Falcons. Lukasiewicz has a 4.06 GPA.
Senior Jesse Vega-Perkins with parents Denise Vega & Matt Perkins
Submitted by SMA
The St. Mary’s Academy Gala A Night at the Derby held on April 26 at Mile High Station was a festive gathering of attendees yearning for spring in their seersucker jackets and brightly colored dresses. The theme infused a flavor of trackside manner spurring rascally bidding on a vast array of silent and live auction items.
Though no yearlings from Keeneland were on the auction block, Gary Corbett guided bidders through live auction items with the most popular item being a one-week stay at Las Ventanas Al Paraiso in Los Cabos, Mexico, sure to be a trip of a lifetime. The most popular silent auction item was four tickets to the One Direction concert, which would qualify that teen’s parent for Parent of the Year. Gala Chair Leslie Spelts was thrilled with how all of the tireless efforts of the volunteers, sponsors and donors came together in such a lovely and successful event.
A 2013 Subaru Forester greeted guests at entrance of the venue where more than 400 SMA parents, faculty, staff and friends enjoyed the evening, thanks to Title Sponsors Michael and Suzanne Shaw of Mike Shaw Subaru. Gala Chair Leslie Spelts, Auction Chair Emily Gordon and Sponsor Chair Susan Cheedle were joined by their husbands Trevor, Steve and Brad respectively. Other guests included former President Judith Baenen ‘57, Board Chair Maureen Reidy Witt ‘73 with her sister and fellow alumna, Margaret Reidy Pflueger ’82, and their mother, Margaret Reidy. The crowd recognized the many Sisters of Loretto, having founded SMA 148 years ago, and Cherry Hills Village Mayor Doug Tisdale.
The delights of Occasions Catering included fried chicken buckets and Kentucky hot browns with a few guests sipping on Derby-inspired mint juleps. Guests were treated to mini pecan pies and bourbon ball truffles to end the evening with a sweet touch.
Current Board members Phyllis Chrisman and David Gau, joined by their spouses, Jim and Tracey, were thrilled that this year’s Gala touted the third highest fundraising preliminary total of more than $238,000 in the past 15 years. This annual fundraiser supports the St. Mary’s Academy Tuition Assistance Fund, which will continue to contribute to the success of future students for many years.
Auction Chair Emily Gordon and Gala Chair Leslie Spelts
Kathleen & Carter Dammen
2013 Title Sponsors Suzanne & Michael Shaw ofMike Shaw Subaru
Debbie & Joe Sakic.Photos courtesy of Susan Hennessy, SMA
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