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CCSD celebrates the Class of 2022

Graduates at the Overland High School ceremony held in May.A common theme emerged in the 10 graduation ceremonies that took place across the Cherry Creek School District during the last weeks of May, 2022.

Again and again, principals, administrators and community leaders paid tribute to the class of 2022, a group that had faced unimaginable challenges and claimed impressive achievements. The group of more than 4,500 students from CCSD schools and programs across the district’s 108 square miles were personifications of the Cherry Creek Schools’ core values: growth mindset, equity, whole well-being, relationships and engagement.

“You were full of energy and enthusiasm; you challenged us,” Overland High School Principal Sybil Booker told the assembled graduates during the ceremony held May 26 at the Ritchie Center on the University of Denver campus. “You showed up; you stood up. You come from strength … The future is yours, and I know it’s going to be as bright and brilliant as you are.”

Booker’s words were typical of the tributes to a class that faced unimaginable hurdles and navigated unprecedented times. The class of 2022 was a group that adopted new technology and new modes of communication; their K-12 career saw fundamental changes in the way that students learn. Not only that, the group’s high school years were a time marked by profound upheavals – this is the class that made it through the trials of a global pandemic, and they were the students who witnessed and participated in a national push for justice, equality and engagement.

“You have showed up in every arena, and you shine in any light,” Cherokee Trail Principal Jean Incitti said during the school’s graduation ceremony, also held May 26 at the Ritchie Center. “As a class of graduates, you are kind, smart and inclusive … You will face challenges going forward, but you will get back up and face those challenges.”

A total of 4,514 students from CCSD received their diplomas during 10 graduation ceremonies. In addition to events held for the district’s six traditional high schools (Cherokee Trail, Cherry Creek, Eaglecrest, Grandview, Overland and Smoky Hill), those ceremonies also included celebrations of graduates from Cherry Creek Elevation, the district’s online high school, and Endeavor Academy, the district’s alternative high school. What’s more, the second annual Indigenous Graduation Celebration and the second annual Future Military Service Celebration honored a diverse group of CCSD graduates.

Of the more than 4,500 CCSD grads, 1,760 attended the district since kindergarten (40 percent of the graduating class were enrolled in the 2009-10 kindergarten class in Cherry Creek Schools). As of this writing, the class of 2022 has earned more than $53 million in college grants and scholarships.

All told, the class of 2022 represented a diverse group of scholars, artists, scientists and innovators. They came from a wide range of backgrounds and pursued a broad range of pathways. The group was as diverse, varied and unique as the rest of the students in the Cherry Creek School District.

Yet for all their differences, the class of 2022 shared a common sense of accomplishment. Together, these 4,500-plus students had risen to the challenges of a transformed world, one where the very models of learning, teaching and everyday school suddenly shifted.

“The class of 2022 had to be extraordinary. They had to be the leaders,” said Cherry Creek High School Principal Ryan Silva during the school’s graduation ceremony held May 25 at Stutler Bowl. “We often asked the seniors to be more than a typical senior class, and they always responded. This group of seniors will go down as one of the most critical senior classes, because they had to help us all remember our way and who we are.  For that, I say, ‘Thank you, class of 2022.’”

-- Posted 6/9/22 at 11 AM