Cherry Creek School District and Regis Jesuit: What the new grads are saying

Students at Centennial-area schools look back at their journey and forward to next steps

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Colorado Community Media asked the following three questions of graduating seniors in the Cherry Creek School District, as well as the private Regis Jesuit High School. The following are their answers:

1.) What will you always remember about your time in high school?

2.) What are you most looking forward to after graduation?

3.) How can you make a difference in the world?

Cherry Creek High School

Brooke Schmidt

High school has gone by in a blur, a mix of classes, friends and activities. More so than anything, I will always cherish the friendships I have made over these four years. Coming in as a freshman to a school of almost 4,000 students, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people surrounding me in the halls. By getting involved in things like Student Senate, DECA and soccer, the incredible people I have met have made these walls feel just a little bit smaller. The friendships I have made, both with my peers and my teachers, have turned Cherry Creek High School from just a place to learn to a place where I feel at home, and I look forward to coming every day. I will always remember cheering on the Bruins at football games under the lights, fighting with my team to win soccer games, and laughing every day in the Senate room with 40 of my best friends. I will remember the amazing teachers that supported and encouraged me, and helped me be the best person I could be. I will always remember Cherry Creek High School, the best four years of my life.

While I will have a hard time moving on from this amazing stage in my life, I cannot wait to see what the future has to hold. I will be studying in North Carolina at Duke University next year, and am so looking forward to the experiences I will have in this new chapter of my life. For the past 18 years of my life, I have lived in Colorado, and I am both nervous and excited for the opportunity to live in a completely new place and entirely different surroundings. I hope to try new things and meet new people, all while staying connected to my home and my family. I am really looking forward for the opportunity to travel abroad, and this is something I have aspired to do since middle school. I would love to be able to visit South America, Europe or Asia and get exposed to new cultures and ideas. I cannot wait for this new chapter of my life.

I believe that any person can make a difference in the world by finding something they care about and pouring their heart and soul into this mission. Every single person was given incredible gifts and talents to make this world an even better place, and if one can pursue what lights their fire, they will make an incredible difference without realizing it. Everyone’s talents are unique; I am definitely not a musical genius or incredible artist, and my athletic abilities most likely will not be taking me to the Olympics. However, throughout my time in high school, I have found passion for things like leadership, student government and public speaking. I have followed what I love doing, and that has helped me find my place in this world and hopefully make a difference. I know that if we all believe in this philosophy, that everyone should follow their passion, we not only will make a difference in the world but we will be happier overall. I know that by doing what you love and using the gifts you were given, any person can change the world.

Marcus Miller

What I’ll always remember about my time in high school is the relationships I’ve developed with teammates, coaches, teachers and the faculty.

After graduation, I’m really looking forward to playing football and studying economics and computer science at Harvard.

It’s a hard question to answer how I can change the world since I’m still so young, but my motto is just to leave everything better than I found it.

Alex Shoflick

To me, the thing that stands out the most about my time at Cherry Creek High School is the people. There were countless communities for me to lean on and spend time with whenever I needed it. The kids were always genuinely happy to meet new people and socialize. It was an environment where I felt welcome almost anywhere I went. However, even beyond the kids, the faculty was top notch. I found some of my closest confidants in my teachers, rather than in my peers. My teachers taught me how to manage my time, how to be accountable and how to work hard. Although, above the standard lessons of school, they taught me so much more. It was faculty who showed me how to cope with disappointment, how to stomach stress and how to live up to my own expectations. I gained a thirst for knowledge and personal growth from my time here, and that I will never forget.

I most look forward to attending the University of Michigan in the fall. I am beyond ecstatic to be surrounded by our country's best and brightest. I am looking forward to college as a time to grow personally and in my studies. Furthermore, I am going to be leaving home and my family. While it’s a scary prospect, I am excited to see how I handle myself without the immediate support of those I am used to.

As technology advances, more moral and ethical dilemmas will need to be examined; the sad reality is that our society has decided to ignore who makes these decisions and how they are made. It is this expanding nexus of technology, policy and ethics that draws me to the University of Michigan. I plan to study philosophy, politics and economics. I see clear avenues toward establishing my roots in the complicated world of technological policy. I hope to change the world by sparking conversations where debates about real issues take place across the whole world. My plan is to delve into the intricacies of our interconnected world. We need more people who understand how the dominance of the semiconductor industry by Seoul, Korea, can pose a security threat for the United States, or how facial recognition tech can be culturally insensitive or how self-driving cars could be programmed to prioritize the lives of those with higher net worth. My goal is to explore the next front of global politics and become a change agent in the world. It is imperative we have educated individuals at the center of this global evolution, and I want to be one of them.

Eaglecrest High School

Abigail Fennell

I will always remember the many diverse opportunities that I used in order to get involved. From theater to honor societies to mountain biking to choir, my time in high school provided me with outlets to explore many of my interests and passions.

I am looking forward to becoming independent and learning to navigate the process of “adulting.”

As I go on to college, I will be studying chemical and biological engineering. I hope to use the skills and knowledge that I gain from this course of study in order to solve anthropogenic problems facing the natural world.

Barrett Miller

If my time in high school had to be described, it would be a clutter of school work and athletics. I’m most grateful that I was able to really tackle this challenge of time management and refine my craft of being able to do what’s needed in a given time. I know that in my future, that clutter will only get more substantial, and I will remember the values and work ethic I have learned during my time in high school to get me through.

What I’m most looking forward to after my high school career is my next four years in college. More specifically, how I will develop and change in my four or maybe more years at Stanford.

What difference will I make in this world is a question I have no answer for. There’s no guarantee that anything I will do will change the world. But I can ensure that in the years to come, I will work hard in any profession — that if I am presented with a moment, I will make a positive impact on the world.

Chuba Ozor

I won't forget the interactions that I have had with other students. Whether I was dancing in a talent show or playing tennis, the people and the relationships I developed with them will always stand out.

I am looking forward to living life on a bigger stage and being able to contribute toward more substantial work, especially in the field of biomedical engineering, where my work can leave a positive impact on lives.

The most powerful change that anyone can make is in the lives of others. I can make a difference by empowering those around me and helping others maximize their potential.

Benjamin Rizzi

I will always remember how much I changed throughout my high school years. I changed significantly from year to year, and I will always keep that in mind for the future.

I expect the culture of college will be refreshing and invigorating but also a significant challenge. I want to overcome such challenges and see myself come closer to my full potential.

I can make a difference by innovating our current understandings of mechanical systems.

Grandview High School

Raymond Jackson Jr.

Something that I will always remember about high school were going to all of the events and playing my first and last high school soccer game.

The thing I am looking forward to the most is going off to college to grow as a young man and to further my academic and soccer career in hopes of going pro while building a marketing career.

The way I can make a difference in the world is by being a first-rate me and not a second-rate someone else. Like God makes each snowflake uniquely different and each fall’s leaves, he has made me unique in my own special way to help and care for others in my own way by treating each person with respect and love.

Mariam Dhunna

I will always remember the support and encouragement I received from my teachers and counselor in my junior year. I was not prepared for or expecting the challenges and difficulties that came with junior year. Junior year is a crucial year. Colleges look at junior year with emphasis, and it is an important year for college preparation. I was lucky to have three faculty members who guided me and supported me during this year. I shared an off period, 4B, with my math teacher, Katey Borman, and I spent a lot of time in her office. Not only did I get math help from her, but she quickly became a person whom I could trust and confide in. Some of my fondest memories from junior year took place in her office. When my course load became tough and I began to doubt if I could do it all, she pushed me and encouraged me to be my best self. She let me know that my best was enough, and continually pushed me. My Spanish teacher, Robyn Wisler, has also been a special person in my time at Grandview. She presented me with the opportunity to tutor special-needs children in Spanish. This was something I flourished in. It is so satisfying to have the child you’re tutoring pick up on the material. Ms. Wisler supported me by giving me opportunities that I thrived in. I have developed a special bond with my counselor, Allison Houston, throughout my four years at Grandview as well. She was absolutely instrumental in preparing me for the intense process of applying to college. She was constantly there to support me and give me advice. I will always cherish the memories and support that these women gave me.

After graduation, I am most looking forward to starting a new chapter of my life. I will be attending the Leeds School of Business at CU Boulder in the fall. For all of my life so far, I have lived with my parents and been dependent on them. I am very excited to not live at home and to gain some independence. I am also excited to start studying in the field of my choice and to not have to take required high school classes. Overall, I am looking forward to turning to the next chapter in the book of my life!

I have begun to make a difference in the world by earning my Girl Scout Gold Award. For this, I partnered with the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado to create the Pen Pal Program and the social skills curriculum. These programs make a difference in the lives of youth with epilepsy, specifically aged 11 to 19. The goal of these two programs is to help youth gain the skills and confidence needed to make social connections. There have been pen pals who have become friends and taken their communications beyond this program. These programs will continue to make a difference in the epilepsy community, as they will be sustained by the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado’s Youth Council. The lessons from the social skills curriculum will continue to be taught. Pen pals will continue to be matched from the Pen Pal Program. This makes a difference because it empowers these youth to gain the social skills needed to be successful.

Ethan Snapp

I'll remember the exceptional quality of the teachers at Grandview. Save for a select few, I was truly blessed with having teachers who were passionate about their students and their subject. Teaching was a calling more than a job to them. I hope to return in years to come to let them know the true impact they've had on me as a person. 

To be completely honest, I'm elated to be able to have a bit more time to spend with the family watching some quality cinema or spending one last summer with my best friends. I would like to relish the few days I have left where nothing in particular has to be accomplished, merely enjoyed to the fullest. 

Firstly, I would never be able to make a difference without the constant support of Christ and my family. Together, they've taught me that making any sort of difference starts by loving others. I strive to be passionate about people and build them up as strong men and women for the future. Hopefully, I can be a part of changing a few things in these shifting times.

Jenna McLain

The most memorable thing about my high school experience has been the overwhelming number of individuals who have always supported me and offered encouragement. It is so helpful to know and remember that there are always people who want to see me succeed and will do what they can in order to help me reach that. The teachers and peers who have guided me have come to be some of the most important individuals in my life, and I am so grateful to have met them.

I am most excited to start exploring the endless possibilities for what to do with my future. In high school, I have taken a few classes that I found interesting, but I am looking forward to exploring deeper into those areas while I am at college with the freedom to do so. Trying to decide what to do is scary, but the exploration is the fun and exciting part.

I think one really important factor in changing our society is simply to spread more kindness. There can never be enough positivity and support from other people, especially from strangers. Even just a simple smile, complimenting people unapologetically and offering the smallest moments of generosity can help spread more happiness and compassion. I believe that kindness can spread like wildfire — the more you fuel it, the further it reaches.

Smoky Hill High School

Cameron Kennedy

Something I’m always going to remember about my time in high school is all of the basketball games I’ve been to over the years. Those were the best times I had because of how much fun it was to be a part of a group of kids screaming and yelling at the top of their lungs for our team. The school spirit and closeness of Smoky is something I will never forget!

Something I’m looking forward to after graduation is continuing my baseball career. I committed to play college baseball at Eastern Arizona College. Baseball is my passion and is something I’m going to do for as long as I can. My time playing baseball at Smoky Hill was extremely valuable to me.

Something that I learned at Smoky that can apply to how I can make a difference in the world is just how far kindness can go. Simply being a positive and kind person can go a long way and brighten a person’s day.

Harold ‘Buddy’ Bacheller IV

I will always remember the close friendships formed and the countless memories I was able to experience. Events like the homecoming and winter dances and unique activities such as the DECA pool party have made my time at Smoky Hill unforgettable. 

After graduation, I am excited to start classes at the University of Arizona for aerospace engineering. I am excited to use the knowledge I have gained from Smoky Hill and apply it toward my next step in my education. 

Anybody can make a difference in the world, and I believe that making a difference is often overlooked since it appears to be such a daunting task. However, it can be done simply by giving somebody a compliment, encouraging people in the pursuit of their dreams or even having a positive outlook which will rub off on others. Although these small acts seem insignificant, the positivity that they bring to others have the potential to make a significant difference in the world.

Georgia Boyer, student body vice president

I will remember all the pep assemblies and football and basketball games. They were so memorable and made a big impact on my high school career.

Going to the University of Colorado at Boulder and being able to continue my education.

My goal is to make the world a more positive place through my career by sharing the positive acts that happen every day rather than focusing on the negative.

Chiti Shah, student body president

The supportive community of staff and students.

I look forward to choosing my own coursework.

I want to make a difference in the world of health care by creating policies to better the population. 

Regis Jesuit High School

Katie Anselmi

I will always remember my time in the pool with the swim team, singing songs and eating way too much food.

After graduation, I am most looking forward to attending Boston College and learning what it means to be a commissioned officer in the United States Navy through the Naval ROTC program there.

I can make a difference in the world by living in the present moment and doing small daily things well.

Francesca Belibi

My high school journey at Regis Jesuit has been very impactful in my life. I will always remember how important relationships are and that everyone has a story. To be able to listen to others with compassion and no judgment is what builds love around us.

After graduation, I am most looking forward to strive to do everything for God’s greater glory as we learn at Regis Jesuit. I believe that the school has prepared me to not only excel in my studies and sport, but also to nurture my spiritual life. I am excited to continue those values on the court and in the classroom during my college life.

I am hoping to make a difference in the world by being someone who listens. I am planning to major in human biology to become a pediatrician. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that taking the time to listen to others, especially children who can’t always voice their opinions or feelings, could impact one for a lifetime. I hope to use my platform to first listen to kids, then also to motivate and inspire them to be the very best they can be and not be afraid to pursue their God-given gifts and talents.

Rene Del Barco III

What I will remember most about my time in high school is the community I had here. The bonds that I made with my friends both in and out of the classroom will stay with me forever. The Regis Jesuit community is like a family — you’re not going to like everyone in your family, but at the end of the day you’re going to be there for each other. That’s what I will remember most about my time in high school.

After graduation, I’m looking forward to playing tennis at the University of Puget Sound and growing in a new community. I look forward to fulfilling my pre-medical requirements and experiencing a new city with new people and to continue to strengthen the values I learned at Regis Jesuit.

I think I can make a difference in the world by making people’s lives better. By being there for people when they feel alone. By hopefully one day being a doctor who will help those in need regardless of their situation — by being someone who helps, not because it benefits me but because it benefits others.

George Papadeas

Some things I will always remember about my time in high school are the wonderful relationships I have formed during these past four years. Regis Jesuit has an amazing community of people who only want to do well and strive for their fullest potential, while having fun in the process. Being around people like this, especially kids my own age, has been very impactful and the times we’ve had together will stick with me for forever.

After graduation, I’m looking forward to the newest chapter of my life, which, for me, will be going to college. The anticipation of getting ready to get out into the world and create a name for myself is exciting. I feel prepared to begin setting a strong foundation for my future. While leaving for college is a little sad, it also holds so many possibilities that are waiting to be seized.

I plan on making a difference in the world by first receiving my college education. For me, this will be the first step in laying the support that I need in order to succeed in some professional area. Then, with this knowledge, I intend to benefit those in need, such as our own local Denver community and its increasing homeless population. I also plan on taking action within my Greek Orthodox community, locally and nationally. No matter where I plan to put my efforts or what difference I want to make, I will take one step at a time, overcoming any challenge that comes my way.

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