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Red Hawk Ridge celebrates student leaders through RISE Colorado partnership

Red Hawk Ridge celebrates student leaders through RISE Colorado partnershipFamilies, staff members, and students from Red Hawk Ridge Elementary gathered at the Cherry Creek Innovation Campus (CCIC) on May 18 to celebrate the student leadership group that came from a one-year partnership between the school and RISE Colorado, a local non-profit that partners with schools to educate, engage, and empower families.

Dr. Michelle Chambers, principal at Red Hawk Ridge, welcomed the families and thanked them for everything they do to support their students’ learning environment. 

“Our theme this year has been ‘It’s possible, find the beautiful,” Dr. Chambers said. “Our students have shown us what it means to find the possibility and to use their strengths to challenge themselves.”

Red Hawk Ridge celebrates student leaders through RISE Colorado partnershipChambers explained that this was the first year that the school had been designated a Title I school, which means that it serves a high number of students who qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch and gets additional funding to support students with their academic and social wellbeing. Through the school’s work with RISE Colorado, Red Hawk Ridge was able to host three Family Learning Nights, professional learning opportunities for staff on how to serve the community and build their school’s identity, as well as the creation of a student leadership group for students in grades 3-5 that met twice monthly. 

“Every student here was nominated because they demonstrated the ability and willingness to learn what it means to become a leader,” Dr. Chambers explained.

The celebration included a lunch and tour of the CCIC, where families learned more about how students can explore different career pathways. Mary Duran, the Lead Education Officer for RISE Colorado, also spoke and shared how the student leadership group learned more about themselves, including using the Strength Finders assessment.

“We wanted the students to understand what their strengths are and how they can use them at school, at home, and in the future,” Duran said. “We know that sometimes strengths can also be challenges for us, and we talked about how to navigate those situations.”

Two students from the leadership group also spoke at the celebration and shared what they had learned and how it impacted them.

“With this group, I have learned many new skills like organization skills, leadership skills, patience skills, teamworks skills, etc. and I’ve made great friends, and a lot of experience,” shared fourth-grader Anna Mervin. “Only a leader can bring out the best in others, and to do that, I look forward to working with my team again!”

“When I went to RISE Leadership, it helped me understand the true meaning of being a leader. A leader is someone who is upstanding, patient, hardworking, and wise,” said fifth-grader Paiten Ostaszewski. “Being a part of RISE Leadership has helped kids find these qualities in themselves.”

Next year, Red Hawk Ridge plans to incorporate student-led projects into its student leadership group and continue to expand opportunities for families to be part of the school.

“We must prepare our students for the future with the help and support of families,” Dr. Chambers said. “The school-family partnership is one of the most important factors in a student’s ability to succeed.”

The students honored at the celebration were:

  • Laylah Dorf 

  • Alexnder Farfan Sanchez

  • Anna Mervin

  • Briella Bencomo

  • Helen Castrejon Parra

  • Paiten Ostaszewski

  • Valeria Castellanos Orozco

  • Layla Alexandre

  • Liliana Whitman

  • Myles Mengalos

  • Phillip West Perri

  • La'Caiah Spellman

  • Ayame Harris

  • Manaal Dawood

  • Dahani Hendy

  • Jacob Grant

Posted 5/19/23.