“All this time I’ve wanted this. I wanted that diploma. … It’s a dream come true.” — David Shuker
Dear DPS Community,
Walking across the graduation stage is something our students dream about as kids. For David Shuker, it’s a dream he’s held onto for 71 years.
In 1963, David was a junior at Abraham Lincoln High School, when he made the difficult decision to leave school and join the military. Although his guidance counselor strongly urged him to stay, David was dealing with problems at home and felt joining the Army was his only solution.
David was stationed in Germany, where he remembers sleepless nights picturing his life back in Denver.
“When I left and went into the service, I was thinking ‘What have I done?'” said David. “I did not get to go to senior prom. I didn’t get my letter jacket. The thing I missed most of all was — these kids I grew up with — I didn’t get to walk down the aisle with them to graduate.”
David completed three years of service in the military and returned stateside, where he had a family and a full life. But there was one missing piece to his story he couldn’t let go of — he never got to graduate.
Finally, curiosity got the best of him and he reconnected with his alma mater, including secretary Iveth Ramirez Fernandez. Soon, to David’s surprise, Iveth extended an opportunity to David he’d waited for his entire life: to walk across the commencement stage during the Abraham Lincoln graduation. She even made David an invitation, changing the Class of 2017 to the Class of 1964.
Holding a graduation cap in his hand, David was overcome with emotion when thinking about the June 1 ceremony.
“All this time I’ve wanted this,” he said, looking at the cap. “I wanted that diploma. To touch this is another world to me. It’s a dream come true.”
For so many of our students, graduation is just that — a dream come true for a brighter future and a doorway to the world of opportunity in front of them. From the day our kids step into a DPS classroom, we provide them supports and opportunities to make sure they’re on the path to graduation and future success, so all our students can achieve at the highest levels — ready for college, careers and life.
The Class of 2017 will usher thousands of graduates across the commencement stage. Of them:
Congratulations to all of our graduates, their families, their teachers and all members of Team DPS who helped get them here. Enjoy this moment and all the possibilities it will bring. As our honorary graduate David put it:
“There’s a whole big world out there. Keep learning. I’m 71 and I’m still learning. Enjoy the world and enjoy your life.”
Pictured above: Watch this DPS Features video about David Shuker, who will walk in the Abraham Lincoln High School graduation — 53 years after the rest of his Class of 1964. David was also featured in The Denver Post, on 9News and on Fox31.
Throughout Denver, our seniors have been donning their caps and gowns, and proudly walking across the commencement stage to receive their hard-earned diplomas.
Before their journeys into the future, we took a moment to hear our graduates reflect on their time in DPS and share their anticipation for all that’s ahead.
Watch this DPS Features video to hear our seniors’ stories. And share your graduation celebrations on social media using #DPSgrad.
For the past seven months, the African-American Equity Task Force has focused on ways to address concerns expressed by students and educators. On Wednesday, the task force met to share their draft recommendations with DPS leaders and the community.
The charge was two-fold for the task force. The first part included members conducting a thorough review of the current state of African-American students, educators and families to gain an understanding of contributing factors; and generating proposals DPS can employ to improve the outcomes for the African-American community. The next phase in this continued partnership will be to prioritize and lay out next steps. Once those measures are determined, the task force will share them with the Board of Education.
Led by Allen Smith, associate chief of DPS’ Culture, Equity and Leadership Team, the task force is made of more than 100 parents, educators and community leaders who receive guidance from an executive council of leaders in Denver’s African-American community.
While there is still work to do, the initial partnership effort marks a tremendous start toward providing culturally responsive instruction for students, improving engagement with families and ensuring equity for all.
Last week, as Northfield High School gathered to celebrate achievements and an excellent school year, students and team members were given some exciting and unexpected news: their school has been designated the newest member of an ever-growing global community of schools, across 147 different countries, to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum and degree.
Education goes well beyond the classroom in the IB program, as its innovative approach to learning means both students and teachers are engaged with the programs and benefit from being a part of a global network. Students are able to participate in international conferences, while educators work with their peers internationally to ensure that school remains at the cutting edge of international education.
“Colleges are going to look at me differently,” said Northfield sophomore Hinzan Diarrassouba. “When I started as a freshman, I didn’t even know what the IB program could offer. But then I started doing some research, and I found out that it can really make a difference once I graduate.”
Northfield students will be able to take a full range of IB courses as the first cohort commences studies in the 2017-18 school year.
May 29: Memorial Day — DPS schools and offices will be closed