Around 9 a.m. on July 5th, not too many hours after Fourth of July festivities concluded, groups of students crisscrossed the Cherokee Trail High School campus. Among them was Victoria Aragonez Garcia, who held a measuring tape firmly at the base of a scoreboard on the soccer field, while Aidan Lash recorded the distance between them. At the same time, Nicholas Beck and Bryan Paul used a protractor to measure the angle between the ground and the top of the scoreboard. Together, the four students calculated the height of ten structures on the CTHS campus as part of an assignment in their summer school geometry class.
While none of them were thrilled about being in class early on a summer morning, they were grateful for the opportunity to replace an initial failing grade, improve their grade point average and earn credits that are required for graduation.
“I wanted a second chance to raise my grades and do better in school,” said Garcia, who admits she didn’t make the necessary time commitment the first time she took geometry. “I just wasn’t as dedicated to the homework and I was focused on other things instead of what I was really supposed to be focused on.”
Summer school Principal Julian Jones says many of the 350 students enrolled in the summer school session at Cherokee Trail High School struggled with focus the first time they took a particular class. But as they move through high school, they mature, their focus improves and they start to recognize the value of earning their high school diploma. Summer school helps them get back on track.
Zaldy Guy Abaygar Aragon, Jr., who goes by Junior, will be an 11th-grader at CTHS this fall. While he isn’t sure what career path he wants to follow, he knows he wants to attend college, and therefore, needs to graduate from high school. He took both English and algebra this summer to ensure that he reaches his goal of graduating.
“I wanted to try harder and get my education,” Aragon explained.
Cherry Creek Schools offers two sessions of summer school, each held at a different high school, in June and July. Each session is three weeks long and students take one class from 8 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. Students pay tuition and must provide their own transportation.
Eleven math courses are offered, along with English, American History, U.S. Government, World Geography and classes in biology and physical science.
“Most classes we offer are requirements,” Jones said. “Students have to have them to graduate.”
Each semester-long course is compressed into 60 hours, so every moment counts. There is a strict policy regarding tardies and attendance, which supports students’ success.
Garcia is working hard to earn an A for her summer school geometry class. She realized during her sophomore year that her academic record will affect her future. She wants to go to college at Columbia University and eventually attend medical school. Her ultimate goal is to pursue a career as a neurosurgeon.
“It’s always been a dream of mine, a passion,” Garcia said.
But for now, Garcia, Aragon and the rest of their summer school classmates are focused on finishing strong and making the most of the second chance that summer school offers.
“We all have something in common,” Garcia said. “We all want that opportunity to get back something we might not have taken advantage of.”
Get more information about summer school in Cherry Creek Schools.