Community members welcome STEM students back with words of love

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On a cloudless day, the sun beaming down, a small group of parents and children stood along Barrons Boulevard in Highlands Ranch waving posters with words of encouragement.

“You are smart.”

“You are what this world needs. We are proud of you.”

“You are brave and courageous.”

On May 15, students at STEM School Highlands Ranch were given the option to return to school. Eight days earlier, a school shooting had killed one student and left eight others injured.

The K-12 school reopened on a modified schedule, according to a statement from a spokesperson. Students who were interested and able to finish the year were welcomed back. Other students, who understandably weren't ready, didn't have to return to the school. Graduation is still scheduled to take place on May 20, though no students, families or staff are required to participate.

Krystal Jensen, joined by her 12-year-old daughter and friend, planned the welcome-back posters to show support for a community that has experienced so much devastation.

“They need all the love they can get right now,” Jensen said.

The passengers in the cars waved as they drove past. Many had words written on the back window in blue and yellow, the school's colors.

“STEMStrong,” they read.

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