We’re celebrating our high school seniors, virtually!
While we can’t gather to congratulate our graduates in person at our usual Senior Celebration Party, during the week of May 18-22, we hope to honor Denver Kids students through the voices of our post-secondary partners and volunteer community. Throughout the week, we will be highlighting future options partners each day and sharing special messages they have for our seniors. Denver Kids invites you to celebrate our 2020 seniors with us!
Check this page, Instagram and Facebook during Grad Celebration Week, and view the Denver Kids Class of 2020 Yearbook here.
May 22, 2020
Mayor Michael B. Hancock
Today concludes #DKGradCelebrationWeek, but it’s just the beginning for our graduates! For the culmination of this virtual celebration, we have a special guest from the Mayor’s Office. Check out the message above from Mayor Michael B. Hancock, and learn more about him below. Congratulations, Denver Kids Class of 2020!
Michael B. Hancock is Denver’s 45th mayor. During his time in office, Mayor Hancock and his administration have created the city’s first dedicated affordable housing fund, implemented a Mobility Action plan expanding Denver’s bicycle and pedestrian networks, and established the Neighborhood Equity and Stabilization Team to keep longtime Denver residents and businesses in their homes as the city embraces a growing economy. Mayor Hancock’s Equity Platform spans all city departments to increase opportunity for every resident and ensure no one is left behind. He has prioritized investing in the city’s children and youth, started record investment in affordable housing and tripled funding for services for those experiencing homelessness, hired more police and firefighters to keep our residents safe, and embraced technology as a Smart City to make government resources work smarter and more impactfully for residents.
May 21, 2020
Denver Kids Alumni
On average, Denver Kids 2020 graduating seniors have spent 6.5 years in our program! To honor these students today, our #DKGradCelebrationWeek message comes from some of our very own Denver Kids Alumni:
AD Banse goes to St. Olaf in his first year. AD’s major is political science with a data science concentration. For him, the hardest thing to navigate was culture shock. AD’s advice is to find your community, and stick with them for the long run. It has come in handy for him. What keeps him sane through these hard times is understanding that he has the privilege to be well, the privilege to be happy, and the privilege to be with family. He wants Denver Kids seniors to know that all their hard work these past 4 years is not forgotten, that he is here for them, and that they can always contact him for advice, friendship, food, and mentorship.
Doncey Albin is a soon-to-be graduating mechanical engineering student at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. He grew up participating in the Denver Kids program since he was in first grade and has been involved since. Doncey struggled during his high school years, which led to him barely finishing. Since then, he has made great efforts to do well in college and show others that life can be turned around. He plans to finish his degree in May of 2021 and become a mentor for Denver Kids once he returns to Denver.
Ebonii Lachea is a transformational leader with a passion for accelerating the journey towards improved lives and healthier communities. As a native of Denver, Colorado, Ebonii takes pride in leading and participating in community initiatives geared toward helping underprivileged children and adults gain increased awareness in wellness, education, and professional development. Through her community based business, The Brand Therapy Team, Ebonii has had the opportunity to work with elected officials, large corporations, local and international non-profits on advancing awareness and the importance of mental wellness – operating with a growth mindset. She is currently attending CU Business School to pursue an Executive MBA in Healthcare Administration. She hopes to change the world by teaching everyone she comes in contact with the power of positive manifestation. Her favorite quote is “The bravest thing you can do is belief in yourself.”
Miguel Jaramillo-Frias is a rising junior currently attending the University of Denver. Miguel is majoring in Criminology with minors in History and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. When he is not busy at school with being a Resident Advisor, he likes to spend time with his four siblings and friends.
May 20, 2020
The Denver Kids Young Professionals Council (YPC), 2U, and Vices
Did you know? Denver Kids seniors will be attending more than 20 different higher educational institutions this fall – including schools in Colorado, Kansas, Virginia, New Mexico, Wyoming, Arizona, South Carolina, and Hawaii!
Our #DKGradCelebrationWeek continues today with a message from some of our future options volunteers, including the Denver Kids Young Professionals Council (YPC), 2U, and Vices:
Joe Sorrow has been involved with Denver Kids the last 5 years, serving on the Denver Kids Young Professionals Council and has served as the council’s chairman the last 3 years. He leads Talent Acquisition for a local software company and enjoys all the beautiful things Colorado has to offer! He is originally from Charleston, SC and resides in Denver with his partner Rick and their cat Buddy. The Denver Kids Young Professionals Council (YPC) is a dedicated group of nearly 40 emerging leaders who share an interest in helping Denver’s youth succeed. From fundraising and events to mentor recruitment and raising awareness for the mission, YPC members are instrumental in furthering the work of Denver Kids.
Stephanie Stasi is a Senior Admissions Counselor and Relationship Manager of the community partnership between 2U and Denver Kids Inc. She has been active in 2U’s Community Steering Community for over two years which brought her to some of her most cherished experiences with Denver Kids! Stephanie is a Colorado Native, she attended CU Boulder for her undergraduate degree and CU Denver for her masters. Colorado forever holds her heart.
Lindsay Simmons is a Student Support Advisor, as well as Relationship Manager of the community partnership between 2U and Denver Kids Inc. She has been active in community support efforts, primarily with the military affiliated population. She is currently working on her second Master’s at the University of Denver.
Vices is Denver’s premier source for exclusive sneakers and streetwear. Founded in 2013 by two 22 year old kids, Vices is a dream turned reality. We are locally and minority owned and aim to serve as a pillar of great business and inspiration in our community. We are proud supporters of the Denver Kids program and love every chance that we get to work with them and the students!
May 19, 2020
Metropolitan State University of Denver & Denver Scholarship Foundation
The Denver Kids Class of 2020 consists of approximately 110 graduates! Nearly half of these students are the first in their families to graduate high school and/or attend college. To honor these seniors, Day 2 of #DKGradCelebrationWeek features a special message from our partners at Metropolitan State University of Denver and Denver Scholarship Foundation. Learn more about our guests below:
Lauren Koppel grew up in Castle Rock, Colorado and graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Women’s and Ethnic Studies from the University of Northern Colorado. She has worked at universities and colleges for 10 years – first as a student employee and now as the Assistant Director of Scholarship Support & Retention at MSU Denver. She is passionate about student engagement, experiential learning, and student’s career development. Lauren loves to run, read comic books, and hang out with her dog.
The Denver Scholarship Foundation inspires and empowers Denver Public Schools’ students to enroll in and graduate from post-secondary institutions of higher education, by providing the tools, knowledge, and financial resources essential for success.
Diana Madriz views education as a tool to success for herself, her family, and her community. She is the first person in her family to get a college education and has since dedicated her career to making that possible for others. As a DSF College Advisor, Diana gets to work with both students and families to make educational dreams come true. She is grateful for the opportunity to serve alongside a talented and loving team!
Gabe Guindon has worked in education for over 12 years, 10 of which have been in college access. Organizations that align with Gabe’s desire to create positive change have always drawn his attention. Having arrived to Colorado by way of Philadelphia, Mexico, North Carolina, and Ohio, Gabe, like many transplants, takes advantage of the outdoors Colorado has to offer in his free time.
May 18, 2020
DPS Superintendent, Susana Cordova
We are kicking off the first day of Grad Celebration Week with a special guest from Denver Public Schools. Please see below for a short bio about our guest.
Susana Cordova brings almost 30 years of experience in Denver Public Schools (DPS) to her position as the Superintendent. She is a life-long Denver resident and has worked in DPS schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Cordova believes in the power of our schools to transform our city. “Schools have the transformative power to build a more equitable future. We must create equity for all children, not by accident but by design, so that we nurture them to grow and achieve at high levels.”
Cordova has worked on projects like Teacher Leadership and Collaboration, in which teacher leaders both teach and lead teams of teachers; the educator effectiveness systems of LEAP and LEAD; the creation of district wide shared core values programming; and redesigning the district wide programs for English learners.
Cordova received her undergraduate degree from the University of Denver and a master’s degree in education from the University of Colorado. She is a proud graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School, and lives in Denver with her daughter Carmen, son Alex, and husband Eric, who have all attended Denver Public Schools as well.