'We are Creek': Achievement, diversity mark Cherry Creek High graduation

More than 800 received diploma at commencement on campus

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A Spanish-speaking student who worked 30 hours a week to enable himself to attend college.

A DACA — or undocumented — student who thanked her parents and teachers in a speech through tears.

A first-generation high-school graduate with a family member who was on the verge of deportation.

And a student who simply said he learned to be a role model.

Those were the faces on stage at Cherry Creek High School's graduation ceremony who delivered an address titled “We Are Creek.”

A graduating class of more than 800 — and a crowd of even more — cheered them on at the school's athletic stadium on campus May 23.

That senior class would “go down in history” as Cherry Creek High's best, Principal Ryan Silva said on stage. The class earned the highest composite score on the ACT test in the school's 63-year history, included 26 National Merit Scholars, two Boettcher Scholars and two United States Presidential Scholars, Silva said.

But students looked outward in their speeches, one noting the nation's rash of mass shootings in recent history and other world problems like climate change.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing is going to get better — it's not,” one said, quoting Dr. Seuss.

Two other students, Cole Drew and Himanvi Kopuri, discussed the “butterfly effect,” the concept of a small action like the flap of a butterfly's wings causing a large event like a storm. They praised the “butterflies” doing good deeds throughout their time as students but said people have the choice to be negative butterflies or positive ones.

People have the power to create “tsunamis,” they said.

The question is, they added, “What kind of tsunami do you want to start?”

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