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Ashley Dolan, a former Cherry Creek High School feature twirler and now featured at the University of Texas, took home top honors in the Collegiate Solo event at the Ninth U.S. Intercollegiate and National High School Baton Twirling Championships. Courtesy photos
Former Cherry Creek High School feature twirler Ashley Dolan, who is now the feature twirler at the University of Texas, took top honors in the Collegiate Solo event at the Ninth U.S. Intercollegiate and National High School Baton Twirling Championships, held Feb. 3 at William Jewell College in Liberty, Miss. Dolan, a 2012 CCHS graduate, also earned second place in the Collegiate 3-Baton and Fight Song events.
Athletes from California, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas took part in the competition, which is sponsored by National Coalition for the Advancement of Baton Twirling, an organization working to establish baton twirling as a scholastic sport at the high school and collegiate level.
“These talented twirlers add excitement and entertainment value to the game day experience for thousands of fans at high school and collegiate sporting events across the country,” said Sandi Wiemers, NCABT spokesperson. “At the same time, they are athletes themselves, who train very hard to represent their schools and bring home national honors in the sport of baton twirling.”
As the feature twirler for the University of Texas Longhorn Band, Dolan performs for 101,000 fans at every home football game. This fall, she also performed in the 2012 Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, at the Formula I Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas track in Austin, and for University of Texas events honoring former First Lady Laura Bush and former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson.
This summer, Dolan will represent the United States at the 2013 International Cup Championships, to be held in August in Almere, Netherlands. More than 500 of the world’s best baton twirlers, representing 20 countries, will compete in individual and group events at the championships, which are sponsored by the World Baton Twirling Federation.
Dolan is a freshman at the University of Texas where she majoring in Elementary Education and English.
Sigrid Kite signs to play soccer at Pepperdine University.
Submitted by SMA
St. Mary’s Academy has a nearly 150-year tradition of educating students in Denver with a holistic approach, who have interests and strengths in several different capacities. Recently, four seniors were recognized in three disciplines, which continues a tradition of excellence from a St. Mary’s Academy education and experience.
Two seniors, Blair Batky and Paige J. Stock, have met all of the requirements to advance to finalist standing in the National Merit Scholarship Program. They are two of 15,000 students recognized in the country.
Each year, 1.5 million students become eligible for the scholarship by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Semifinalists then submit a detailed scholarship application, exhibit an outstanding academic record, must be endorsed and recommended by a school official, and earn SAT scores that confirm their qualifying test performance.
From the Semifinalist group, some 16,000 meet Finalist requirements. “All winners of Merit Scholarship awards are chosen from the Finalist group, based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments–without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference,” as stated by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The scholarships total nearly $35 million and winners represent less than 1 percent of the initial pool of student entrants.
Sigrid Kite started her senior year being the focus of more than two-dozen colleges to play Division 1 soccer. But, her world changed dramatically when she broke her leg in a game with her Colorado Rush Soccer Club. Kite was concerned about the effect this would have on her college prospects. Until she heard from Pepperdine University. They informed her they remained interested in her and wanted to stay in touch during her rehabilitation. On Feb. 6, now at 100 percent, Kite signed with Pepperdine University, 2011 WCC Champions, on National Signing Day. This is the first day a high school senior can sign a letter of intent with a NCAA school. She said it was clear that the university valued her as a person. A dedicated soccer player and determined student.
Last week, senior Danielle Schablitsky received a “Silver Key” for her piece, A Winter Enigma from the Colorado Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Program. This recognition was awarded to only 500 students out of more than 4,000 entries and will have their work displayed at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. In addition to keys and certificates, more than a dozen Colorado colleges and universities award scholarships to participating seniors, last year totaling more than $260,000. Judges look for originality, technical competence and personal voice.
Paige J. Stock is a finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program
Danielle Schablitsky received a “Silver Key” for her piece, A Winter Enigma, from the Colorado Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Program.
Blair Batky is a finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program
After Creek’s last state wrestling championship match, coaches and two sets of twins from the Finesilver family pose for a photo at the Pepsi Center. Camille DuPont (left), an assistant coach, Josh, Mitch and Zack Finesilver and Bruins Head Coach Mike Luhring (wearing tie), Matt Finesilver and Assistant Coach Marcell Gash celebrate a first and fourth place win for the Finesilvers.
By Tom Barry
Since last November, two sets of twins from Steve and Brenda Finesilver’s family have actively competed in Cherry Creek High’s wrestling program. Mitch and Zack are 16 year old juniors competing on the Bruins’ varsity team. Their younger brothers Josh and Matt are 14 years old and on the varsity as freshmen. Three older sisters are also graduates of Creek.
The two sets of twins practice with each other and compete throughout the year. The four boys are incredibly close and do nearly everything together. The older boys share a cell phone, along with a car, driving their younger brothers around. The older twins are also remarkably competitive on the mat between each other.
When Zack was asked if he thought his younger brothers could eventually beat the older twins, he said, “I would like to think not,” while laughing.
This year Mitch, Zack and Matt advanced to the Colorado State Wrestling Championship held at the Pepsi Center. Josh had a very challenging district match and was unable to advance to the finals on the big stage.
On Feb. 23, Zack had some tough competition from Payton Tawater, another 126-pound wrestler from Arvada West, and finished in fourth place for the Bruins. He approximates that his record for the season was 41 and 3.
Toward the end of the evening, Mitch competed in the 120-pound weight class against a familiar foe, Adrian Cordova from Coronado High in Colorado Springs.
“It was a season in the making, the third meeting between Mitch and Cordova,” said Mike Luhring, the Bruins head wrestling coach who also teaches physical education and health at the school. “Mitch won the first tournament of the season and Cordova won the second between the two at the halfway point over winter break. The third meeting was last Saturday night.”
The 5A championship match went the full six minutes for the match with both competitors aggressively going after the other as two officials watched over. Two coaches from each team were on opposite corners of the massive mat.
“The game plan going into the match was to push the pace,” said Mitch Finesilver. “We knew the opponent and knew we had to stay aggressive and look for openings – waiting for him to come out of position.”
At the end of the feisty and challenging match, Mitch was declared the victor as one official grabbed his hand and raised it to signify the winner. In a somewhat formal manner, both wrestlers shook the hands of the officials and the opposing coaches and then exchanged well wishes with each other after the hard fought battle.
Mitch then headed off the main floor and to the area under the stands where he hugged his brothers and coaches. An exuberant assistant coach Marcell Gash jumped into the arms of Finesilver to celebrate. Mitch’s record for the season was 44 and 2.
Both of the Finesilver boys then had respective times on the champions stand. When asked why everyone looked so serious when posing for photos, Zack replied, “I was disappointed in winning fourth place and I also wanted to show respect to the sport and the competitors.”
The Finesilver boys excel academically with the older twins maintaining a 4.0 or greater GPA. They hope to become active in the National Honor’s Society their last year and a half in school. They will start considering colleges next year with their main focus on academics and secondly,
on a good wrestling program. They intend to attend the same college and may obtain scholarships.
“I am tremendously proud of the work and effort that all four boys have put into this sport and they have made school and wrestling not just something they do, but a lifestyle,” said Steve Finesilver, who is teacher and coach at George Washington in Denver. “My wife and I have never suggested that they do extra work, they have just taken up wrestling and school and work hard at it.”
Creek placed 11th in state competition with 49 schools competing and had four grapplers advance. The Bruins qualified four wrestlers for the end of the year competition, including Mason Harms who placed fifth in the 152 pound classification.
Creek’s Mitch Finesilver wrestles Coronado’s Adrian Cordova in the state 5A championship match in the 120-pound class. Photos by Tom Barry
Kent Denver’s Speech and Debate places fourth place overall in the 2013 California Invitational Tournament. Photo courtesy of Kent Denver
Submitted by Kent Denver
Kent Denver’s Speech and Debate team performed at an exceptional level and finished in fourth place overall among a field of 237 schools at the 2013 California Invitational Tournament held at the University of California, Berkeley.
A sign that the weekend would go well for the team was the early result turned in by Kent Denver senior Sam Mathews, who arrived in California on Feb. 13 as a competitor in the California Round Robin — an invitation-only tournament that hosted 12 of the nation’s best Lincoln Douglas debaters. After two days of competition, Sam was awarded the Tournament Championship.
After this impressive start, the 48 other students representing Kent Denver contributed to the team’s best-ever performance at the California Invitational, with exceptional programmatic strength across all events.
Since its inception 14 years ago, the Kent Denver Speech and Debate program has grown into one of the premier programs in Colorado and the nation. The team has won 12 state championships and qualified more than 225 individuals to the state tournament. In addition, the squad has earned a top three ranking in nearly every tournament attended since the 2003 season. At the national level, Kent Denver students have taken sixth place at the National Forensics League National Tournament in 2006, third place in Original Oratory at the 2007 National Tournament, fourth place in Policy Debate at the 2008 and 2010 National Tournaments, and sixth place in Lincoln Douglas Debate at the last year’s National Tournament.
Results from the Berkeley tournament
In Humorous Interpretation, in which 184 students from around the country sought the tournament title, Kent Denver advanced eight individuals into the top 48. Sophomore Michael Hudson finished third overall, junior Danny Lovato finished fourth, and sophomore Lane Baumgarten placed fifth.
In DUO Interpretation, four Kent Denver teams advanced to the elimination rounds. Juniors Hannah Monsour and Abbey Walker advanced to the top 14, and the team of Danny Lovato and Bailey Walker finished in fourth place among the field of 106 entrants.
In Original Oratory, five Kent Denver students advanced to the final 48 within the field of 204 speakers, and senior Elise Frank made it to the semi-final round, eclipsing the performance of 93 percent of the field. Frank also advanced to the final round of Impromptu Speaking, where she finished in fifth place overall within the field of 172 competitors. Three other KDS students advanced to elimination rounds in this highly competitive event.
In Dramatic Interpretation, with 176 students competing for the title, four Kent Denver students advanced to the elimination rounds, with senior Sofia Rainaldi and Danny Lovato finishing in the top 14. Lovato is the first Kent Denver speech competitor to enter and advance to elimination rounds in three separate events at the California Invitational (Humor, DUO, and Drama).
Last but not least in the speech events, one Kent Denver student placed 28th among 76 competitors in Expository Speaking, while another placed in the top 24 in Extemporaneous Speaking, surpassing more than 87 percent of the 185-person field.
In the Debate events, senior Jenna Peters became the first Kent Denver student to advance to elimination rounds in Congressional Debate. She concluded in the semi-finals of the 134-person field.
In Policy Debate, senior Alex Patel and a visiting partner, Rohan Jennings, navigated the highly competitive 234-team field to amass a 5-1 preliminary round record and enter elimination rounds as the 29th seed. The team finished tied for 17th overall.
In Lincoln-Douglas Debate, 353 debaters vied for the top spot at the podium. After six preliminary rounds, senior James Callison had amassed a perfect record and entered the elimination rounds as the fifth seed. Sam Mathews went 5-1 to claim the 13th seed, and senior David Kading claimed a 51st seed with his 4-2 record in preliminary rounds. Callison and Kading concluded their weekend of debating tied for 17th, while Mathews concluded his tournament in ninth place, losing a very close round to the eventual tournament champion. With this performance, Mathews earned his eighth bid to the prestigious Tournament of Champions at the University of Kentucky; he is tied as the top-qualifying student to this event, the most prestigious debate tournament on the national circuit.
More than 50 Kent Denver students currently participate in the program.
For regular and timely updates of the Kent Denver Speech and Debate team, please follow @kdsspeech and @kdsdebate on Twitter.
Arapahoe Community College will host its annual job fair on Feb. 26. Photo courtesy of ACC
Arapahoe Community College will host its 2013 Spring Career and Job Fair on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the second-floor student lounge. The event is free and open to the public. Employers attending this event will represent a wide variety of industries. For more information, contact the ACC Career and Transfer Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-797-5805.
Arapahoe Community College is slated to host the 2013 Community Leaders Forum on Feb. 22.Photo courtesy of ACC
South metro mayors to discuss ‘state of the community’
Arapahoe Community College will host the 2013 FirstBank Community Leaders Forum on Friday, Feb. 22, from 7:30-9 a.m. in the Dining Hall (Room M1900) at the Littleton campus.
This is a free event, a sort of “state of the community” for the south metro Denver community. Seating is limited. A light breakfast will be served. Please RSVP in advance to Marilyn Manning at email@example.com.
Registration will begin at 7 a.m. Topics will include:
Opportunities and challenges in 2013 and beyond
Legislation that will affect our local governments, businesses and neighborhoods
ACC President Diana Doyle will serve as moderator. Featured speakers will include:
Mayor Debbie Brinkman, Littleton
Mayor Jim Gunning, Lone Tree
Mayor Cathy Noon, Centennial
Mayor Randy Penn, Englewood
Allen Dreher, treasurer of Highlands Ranch Metro District
For more information, contact Marilyn Manning at 303-763-1865.
Robin P. Krakowsky, Ed.D.
Johnson & Wales University announced that Robin P. Krakowsky, Ed.D., has been named President of the Denver Campus.
Krakowsky has been with the university for more than 32 years at the Providence, R.I., campus, and has held various positions, including vice president of Finance, senior vice president of Administration and most recently senior vice president of Compliance, Internal Audit and Risk Management. Krakowsky holds a bachelor’s in Accounting from JWU, a master’s in Business Administration from Providence College, and a doctorate in education leadership from JWU.
Krakowsky has also authored industry-related articles such as Colorfast Change in the December 2009 issue of Business Officer Magazine, and has been a featured presenter for the National Association of College and University Planners, on the topic of collaborative planning methodology for Student Services.
Littleton boasts highest in metro area
By Peter Jones
Arapahoe County’s two largest school districts are continuing to see upturns in high school graduation rates, according to newly released data from the Colorado Department of Education.
As it has in recent years, Littleton Public Schools continues to boast the highest graduation rate in the Denver metropolitan area with more than 90 percent of the district’s high school students graduating in four years or less during the 2011-2012 school year
The neighboring Cherry Creek Schools is inching behind Littleton with more than 87 percent of its 2012 seniors finishing in four years – up from 84 percent.
By comparison, Colorado’s on-time graduation rate is 75.4 percent and the national rate is almost 72 percent.
The two districts’ dropout rates are also moving in the right direction. Littleton’s is less than 1 percent while Cherry Creek saw 2 percent of its students leave school without a diploma. The statewide dropout rate is 2.9 percent.
Ethnic classifications within the districts have shown improvement for on-time completions. Cherry Creek’s rate for Hispanic graduates rose more than 5 percent to a total of 79 percent, about 17 percentage points above the statewide figure. Littleton’s Hispanic graduation rate was 77.6 percent, up from last year’s 76.9.
Similarly, Cherry Creek’s graduation rate for black students was 84 percent, well above the statewide rate of 66 percent. Littleton’s black students finished on time at a rate of 83.3 percent.
Whites and Asians in Cherry Creek had graduation rates around 90 percent, with white graduations increasing by nearly 3 percent. Littleton graduated 100 percent of its Asian students and 92 percent of whites.
Cherry Creek spokeswoman Tustin Amole says that district’s numbers reflect the organization’s focus on outreach to the various demographic groups it serves. Forty-three percent of the student population is African, Asian or Hispanic and 27 percent of the district’s students qualify for free or reduced lunch.
“The schools work with student leaders and parents – that’s a key part of it,” Amole said. “Students from different cultures learn a little differently. Instead of focusing on how we teach, we focus on how kids learn.”
That mission has manifested in a number of ways, from elementary-level reading books with “relatable characters” to parent-staff collaborations that have strived to improve the classroom experience at middle and high school levels.
“These numbers show us that we are moving in the right direction and serving the needs of all our students, regardless of race, poverty, language and mobility,” Cherry Creek Superintendent Mary Chesley said in a statement. “Still, we must use this momentum to continue our work until every student can receive a high school diploma that shows they are college and work ready.”
For Littleton’s part, district spokeswoman Diane Leiker gives much of the credit to the organization’s “professional learning communities.”
For 10 days each year, school starts two hours late so groups of teachers can meet in an effort to identify challenges and work out locally based solutions.
“It gives teachers an opportunity to discuss individual student needs and look at data to really drill down to find out the needs of each individual student and how to address those needs,” Leiker said. “It’s a time to share some of their best thinking and best practices to help all of our kids achieve at their highest level.”
Leiker says while Littleton’s accelerated programs ensure that high-achieving students are challenged to live up to their potential, the district’s alternative education programs try to keep at-risk students on track for graduation.
Parents have played an important role too, Leiker said.
“We have a very supportive parent community and a very supportive community in general,” she said.
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