Cherry Creek High graduation: ‘We persevered through it all’ (PHOTOS)

Grads reflect on growth during chaotic year

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After a year marked by turbulent interruptions to normal high school life, Cherry Creek High School’s graduation ceremony saw students sharing poetic notions of what it means to be human.

“Don’t you forget: The only thing that matters is your heartbeat going strong,” a group of students sang in a rendition of a song called “Take Me Home.”

Seniors looked back to the shadow the coronavirus pandemic cast over the school year, with one student singling out a day in March 2020 as “the day our world ended.”

Principal Ryan Silva pointed to the hurdles of COVID-19 as a defining characteristic of the end of the students’ journey as high-schoolers.

“The challenges you’ve faced in the last 15 months will prepare you for the challenges the (world) will inevitably throw at you,” Silva told the crowd.

Still, the ceremony showed a levity and a pride in being part of Cherry Creek High. Two friends who met in class told stories of being freshman and relishing rising up the ladder of seniority, repeating a singsong chant of “go home, freshmen” with sport event-style claps, and laughs from the audience.

“We made the best of it ... We persevered through it all,” the students said on stage.

Students trudged through a year marked by a “blended” learning plan for grades six through 12 that placed half of students in school at a time, then a move entirely to online classes in early November, then the return of the blended schedule in January and, finally, the reopening of middle and high schools for full-time, in-person classes on April 5. Many had their schooling further interrupted by quarantines due to COVID-19 cases and symptoms.

In an extra bit of optimism at the ceremony, smiles stood out — the majority of people were maskless.

The graduation ceremony took place at the Stutler Bowl stadium at Cherry Creek High in Greenwood Village.

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