Creek grads' scholarships, grants hit record amount

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They were born in 1994 and 1995.

Having hardly known life without the Internet, they entered kindergarten in August 2000.

And this month, graduating seniors from the Cherry Creek School District’s six high schools have garnered a district record of $44 million in scholarships and grants.

That beats 2012 by about $1.5 million and 2011 by $7 million.

“We are so proud of 3,788 students, their teachers and all of those who supported them,” Superintendent Mary Chesley said. “And of the record-setting amount of scholarships coming out of a recession.”

Students from Cherokee Trail, Cherry Creek, Eaglecrest, Grandview, Overland and Smoky Hill will cross the stage this month, earning their diplomas and an overall class scholarship average of $11,600 each.

This year’s class includes 27 National Merit Finalists, four National Merit Hispanic Scholars, 14 Daniels Fund Scholars, three Boettcher Scholars and six military academy appointees, according to a statement from the school district.

According to the school district, more than 1,900 students enrolled in one or more advanced placement or international baccalaureate classes.

Students earned scholarships in a variety of areas, including academic, talent-based, athletic, organizational and need-based awards.

Members of the Class of 2013 also won team or individual state championships in a myriad of sports and activities, including DECA and speech and debate. They earned All-State honors in band, choir, jazz band and orchestra.

District spokesperson Tustin Amole said the number increases yearly due to more students being encouraged to apply for scholarships.

“We see our graduation rates increase slightly each year with more than 85 percent of graduates going on to higher education,” she said. “We won’t know our official graduation rates for this year until later this fall, but we also have seen growth in the graduation of students of color, especially Hispanics for the past few years.”

Amole also credits the district’s Advancement Via Individual Determination program offered by all middle and high schools in Cherry Creek.

The AVID program, as it is known, encourages under-preforming students to prepare for higher education.

The Class of 2012 earned $42.5 million in scholarships and grants, lauding 37 National Merit Finalists, four National Merit Hispanic Scholars, four National Achievement Scholars, one Presidential Scholar, 11 military academy appointees, 13 Daniels Fund Scholarship recipients and two Never Forgotten Fund Scholarship recipients.

In 2011, graduates tallied $35 million in scholarships and had a Presidential Scholar, 39 National Merit finalists, five National Merit Hispanic Scholars, five Boettcher Scholars and nine military academy appointments.

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