Capping off senior year
SHS Class of 2017 top honors
Valedictorian — Cassiday Cortright
Salutatorian — Orion Van Oss
Summa Cum Laude (4.0 gpa or better) — Cameron Berget, Allyson Bierbaum, Andrew Braner, Danielle Brown, Cole Buller, Jamie Byers, Cameron Dahman, Reese Daley, Claire Davidson, Casey Doran, Orla Eisenberg, Payton Gardella, Graham Gaspard, Natalie Gray, McKenzie Hart, Victoria Hebert, Brian Hessler, Abigail Hiller, Samuel Hull, Jemma Jackman, Andrew Karoly, Megan Kidd, Sarah Lorch, Jodi Losch, Elle Lyne-Schiffer, Joy Manguso, Kathryn Mason, Lorenzo Patti, Marin Pennell, Ella Piecoup, Andrew Podhorecki, Mia Santangelo, Laurel Schlegel, Stephanie Schulman, Meghan Sockett, Kyi Soe, Kate Tomlinson, Emily Wallace and Tuomas Wickman.
Summit High School sent 195 seniors off as graduates Saturday, but before principal Drew Adkins let them go, he went through some of their accomplishments by the numbers.
The graduates awarded diplomas Saturday inside the SHS gymnasium, just as rain began to turn into snowfall outside, have excelled in the classroom and on the court, Adkins said, adding that more importantly, they’ve invested in themselves and supported their community along the way.
“This is a class that has truly set goals, possesses exemplary character and has demonstrated not only high academic achievement, but has given back to the community and supports one and another,” Adkins said. “But mostly, they’re great people, and that’s the truth.”
Most of the students are college-bound, and four will be going into the military.
As a whole, the class has helped SHS to six state championships over the last four years, with students breaking long-standing records in swimming and weight lifting. The school’s tech team also set a record, registering the fastest solar roller car ever in Colorado.
Even more impressive, 61 of them started their grade-school careers with limited proficiency in English, and now 33 of those 195 students will be the first person from their family to go to college.
Through its achievements, both individually and as a whole, the Class of 2017 helped SHS become one of 30 schools nationwide to receive an award from District Administrator Magazine for its work with first-generation students.
That recognition is tied to the school raising its graduation rate among first-generation students from 48 percent eight years ago to 92 percent this year. As a whole, the class boasts a 95 percent graduation rate.
Members of the class have also shown their softer sides by supporting causes like cystic fibrosis, sexual assault prevention and mental health awareness. During his remarks, Adkins applauded a student-led blood drive that yielded enough to save 90 people, while also highlighting the class for partnering with communities in Honduras and Haiti to support school and relief efforts in those developing countries.
As far as grades go, the class compiled a 3.66 grade-point average, and together they pulled in $425,000 in scholarships from 74 different local organizations, Adkins said, emphasizing that figure only includes local dollars.
Collectively, the Class of 2017 took more than 133 courses at Colorado Mountain College, and racked up more than 1,200 college credit hours in the process.
One of eight high schools to receive the Governor’s Award of Distinction last year, SHS had its seniors log 153 Diploma Programme and Advanced Placement classes with a typical passing rate of nearly 85 percent.
They have Bachelorette and National Merit finalists in their ranks, and one of the students, Lorenzo Patti, earned Colorado Pro State Industry student of the year honors for his culinary prowess. He also competed at the state culinary competition, in which Patti “crushed it on his dessert,” Adkins said, an Earl Gray pannacotta.
Thirty-three of the graduates earned certified nursing assistant credentials, and 23 of them passed the Emergency Medical Responder exam. They also amassed 58 academic all-state awards, and about 75 percent of the class participates in co-curricular activities.
In her remarks, Claire Davidson, who’s earned a full-ride scholarship to Yale, said that comparing the students in the Class of 2017 is even harder than putting apples to oranges. It’s more like apples to airplanes, she said, but through their shared experiences at SHS, she continued, they maintain a common bond they will share forever.
“Today we graduate as the Class of 2017 and that is a bond no one can break,” she said.
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