“Please join me in congratulating the Denver Public Schools’ Class of 2020 — a tough and tested graduating class like no other.”
Dear Team DPS,
This is always the brightest and most joyful time of year for educators. We see students who came to us as young children –with shining faces, squeaky new shoes, and bursting backpacks — and now, they are ready to go forward in their lives as young adults — standing taller; with a bit more swagger, less squeak; and shining just as brilliantly with promise, potential … and big dreams.
There’s no greater feeling than helping to put students on their own path to a limitless future, lifting their sights to the opportunities and possibilities that education brings.
We know that, right now, our students and our families are focused on pressing needs — staying healthy, providing for their families, working on staying connected to loved ones. We all know this has been a semester like no other, that has challenged us all in so many ways; we’re getting through it, together. And it’s making us stronger.
Our seniors have shown extraordinary resilience in the face of the challenges, opportunities and disappointments that this unprecedented spring has brought. As I read through the graduation speeches written by members of the Class of 2020, I am moved and inspired by the hope, the eloquence, and the spirit of our graduates. And it’s such a pleasure for me to share some of their wisdom and leadership with all of you:
Barrie Barto, South High School: “The world seems a little less scary with all of us standing together: the friendships we have made, the innocence we might have lost, and the little moments that have taught us more about ourselves than any classroom ever could.”
Edith Moreno, Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy: “Class of 2020, this is not how we expected or wanted our senior year to end. These occurrences of events are a prime example that life can change within a short amount of time. So, enjoy every moment of your life. This is not the end of our story, but an end to an important chapter of our lives. We begin a new chapter the moment we all move our tassels to the left. We are the ones to choose and walk our own paths.”
Marina Banuelos-Villagrana, Abraham Lincoln High School: “I also want to appreciate our greatest supporters. Our parents. Gracias a todos nuestros padres, que han sido nuestro mayor apoyo. Gracias a ustedes y a sus sacrificios, hoy estamos graduándonos. Gracias por siempre estar ahí para nosotros y decirnos ‘sí se puede, mijo’. Sin ustedes, ninguno de nosotros estaría aquí.”
Isla Anderson, North High School: “I will never forget our legendary spirit days that brought laughs to all our classes, surprise fireworks after winning the homecoming game, freezing soccer games when we huddled together under blankets, people falling all over the place after getting too excited during the senior run or the confetti that showered over our heads at the winter pep rally. Even though senior year ended much sooner than we expected, we created memories that we will cherish forever.”
Dylan Greher, Northfield High School: “When it comes to facing adversity, there will always be factors outside of our control, but what we can control is what we stand for, what we fight for, and how we respond. And sometimes that means leaving our comfort zone.”
Sonoma Carlos, George Washington High School: “Perhaps the Class of 2020, by definition, will be known as the Class of COVID-19 — but each one of us has far richer experiences than what this label suggests.”
In addition to sharing these words of wisdom, these Class of 2020 leaders acknowledged the togetherness, the community — family, teachers, counselors, coaches, and other caring adults — who have been there for them … through each new grade, new classroom, new teacher, new challenge … with a big, beaming smile for the successes and a warm hug and comforting shoulder for the setbacks.
Please join me in congratulating the Denver Public Schools’ Class of 2020 — a tough and tested graduating class like no other. Together, we’ll help them through the challenges ahead in the immediate horizon. And from there, they’ll have a glorious and shimmering horizon ahead of them.