Jefferson County Class of 2020: Together, apart

Graduates share what lessons they learned this year

Posted 5/27/20

A lesson that I will take away from all of this is to live in the moment and never take things for granted. Thank you for recognizing the Seniors and the graduating Class of 2020. - Charlotte Favre, …

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Jefferson County Class of 2020: Together, apart

Graduates share what lessons they learned this year

Posted

The seniors of the Class of 2020 has already been through so much. Here are just a few of this year's graduating seniors, sharing in their own words what this year has been like for them amid a pandemic, and what lessons they are carrying forward as they commence with their adult lives.

For more seniors, check out the students showcased in Honor My Grad, or the graduates of the north metro area.

By school:  • Golden  • Wheat Ridge  • Bear Creek  • Faith Christian Academy  • Green Mountain  • Jefferson  • Lakewood  • Pomona  • Ralston Valley


Golden High School

Raegan DeLaTorre

Raegan DeLaTorre
Raegan DeLaTorre

Tell us a little your high school career:   I started my junior year at Golden. My mom and siblings moved here from out of state.  We came here specifically to start a new life. It was something we all needed.  I fell in love with Golden High my very first day. The faculty,  teachers and students. All of it!! It was home. I joined choir and had my first solo on stage. My senior year I joined "Link" which was a group of upper classmen who mentored incoming freshman.  I really enjoyed that. 

What are your plans after graduation?

I have a part time job, which I really like. I also plan to attend a community college for the 2yrs. and transfer into a university after that.

What do you miss the most about not being on campus to finish your senior year?

I miss the interaction between me and the school. The feeling of being on campus. Greeting friends in the morning, attending each class, conversations with teachers, friends. Sitting at a desk in class, looking out the window and day dreaming. I miss not attending my senior prom and all the activities that come with your senior year. This school welcomed me as the new kid. The friends I made here were amazing! I love my counselor,  my teachers. I had no idea, that when we said bye at spring break. That it would be the last time we  physically saw eachother.

What has been the toughest part about going through this uncertain time?

Arghh!! Starting virtual online school in the middle of your senior year has been a virtual pain in the butt!! 

What lessons will you take away from all of this?

Never to take anything for granted, try your best to be responsible with your time(getting work done), dont wait to express your feelings. Show your love and respect to the people who come into your life and leave a mark.  Never take for granted the feeling of a hug.

Charlotte Favre

Favre
Favre

During my high school career I was very involved with many activities and events at Golden High School. I was a member of the GHS Wish Club where our student body all came together to support the Make-a-Wish Foundation. I was a proud Co-Chair and worked with the Club to organize numerous fundraising events. I loved the philanthropy behind the events and enjoyed taking part in a fun week that united all students in this effort. This experience was amazing to watch unfold and gave me the opportunity to interact with my school while giving back to a great cause. I also ran track for my school giving me a chance to meet new people while staying active and competing. This was a blast. During my senior year, I was part of the "Rowdy Team," a student lead group that comes to every game to support our athletes. We created a fun atmosphere at all of the games. I loved the school spirit that was brought to every event and hearing the crowd support our school and our players. Being a Rowdy with my closest friends will always be part of my best memories of high school. My fondest memory was the Junior Raft Trip. This was a once in a lifetime experience where everyday was filled with adventure, challenge and team building.  We are so fortunate at Golden to have this amazing opportunity.
 
Golden gave me many opportunities to thrive as a student and make lasting relationships with friends and staff. I enjoyed going to class and learning for life. After graduation I will be attending CU Boulder and will be majoring in Biological Sciences Integrative Physiology. I cannot wait for this next chapter in my life. 

I miss not being able to experience the last two months as a Senior. I miss my teachers, my friends, and the environment of school. Not having in-person classes, and face-to-face interaction was a major change. I was very sad about not being able to watch our State Champion Lacrosse Team play this spring and of course missing out on my last Prom.  

The toughest part about this uncertain time is missing out on everything I had hoped to experience my senior year. Ultimately the toughest part is the unknown of this situation. Not knowing when life will return to normal is frightening. 

A lesson that I will take away from all of this is to live in the moment and never take things for granted. Thank you for recognizing the Seniors and the graduating Class of 2020.

Katie Huff, GHS

Katie Huff
Katie Huff
Tell us a little your high school career: Clubs, sports, activities and things you participated in during high school. 

My time at Golden High School feels so short looking back on it, but it included so much. For two of my four years at GHS, I had the incredible experience of being on the dance team. This sport allowed me to be creative, athletic, and participate in school spirit. We also competed in many competitions and went to Florida for nationals both years. When I wasn’t dancing, I tried out many opportunities such as the Speech and Debate Club, the Climbing Club, and even started a Podcast Club with my friends. All my extracurriculars and classes led me to an amazing group of friends and introduced me to incredible teachers. I’m very grateful to have had the experience at GHS that I did. 

What are your plans after graduation?

I will be attending Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles this fall. I will be majoring in Marketing and hopefully minoring in Film to pursue a career in the business side of the film industry. I have loved my last 18 years in Colorado, and I’m so excited to see what California has in store for me. 

What do you miss the most about not being on campus to finish your senior year?

I never realized how much I value hugging my friends until I wasn’t able to anymore. Seeing my friends at school is definitely what I miss the most, especially since we know we won’t be near each other for much longer.

What has been the toughest part about going through this uncertain time?

The toughest part about this time has been feeling like life has been put on hold. We were told that these last few months of high school were going to be fast-moving, exciting times in our lives, but they feel anything but. I am excited for this to be over, and to be able to celebrate everything we achieved.

What lessons will you take away from all of this?

I like comparing this pandemic to having a cold. You are never as appreciative of your health as when it is gone and your sore throat is bothering you. In that same way, we have never really been forced to evaluate and appreciate our lives (and especially the people in them) like we have now. We know that we will get better and healthier at some point, and I hope that when we do, we are actively grateful for every little thing in our lives. 

Garrett Landmark, Golden High School

Garrett Landmark
Garrett Landmark
Tell us a little your high school career: 

I played lacrosse

What are your plans after graduation?

Attending IMG Academy and playing lacrosse

What do you miss the most about not being on campus to finish your senior year?

What I missed the most about not being on campus for my senior year was not being able to play lacrosse with my team  and not being able to be with my friends at school.

Ava Segur, Golden High School

Ava Segur
Ava Segur
Tell us a little your high school career: 

  • Captain of the GHS Varsity Dance Team
  • National Honors Society
  • Environmental Club
  • Interact Club
  • Volunteer

What are your plans after graduation?

I will be attending San Diego State University - Fowler College of Business

What do you miss the most about not being on campus to finish your senior year?

I really miss the interaction with the students and teachers every day.  Everything was stopped short so was sad to not be able to say thanks to my teachers for a great high school experience, going to watch spring sports and dance at our last school assembly. 

What has been the toughest part about going through this uncertain time?

The unknown is so scary.  I wish there was a timeframe of when things would kind of go back to normal.  So the wait is the toughest especially being in quarantine.

What lessons will you take away from all of this?

Don't take anything for granted and live each day like it's your last with no regrets.  Be happy!

Haley Prey, GHS

Haley Prey
Haley Prey
Tell us a little your high school career.

The highlights from my HS activities:
  • Taking 3rd at State in Girls Golf as a team and the other 2 members being my sisters, Sydney & Makena.
  • Starting with my 2 sisters (Sydney & Makena) on the GHS Varsity Basketball Team as a freshman, winning the conference title and beating the eventual state champion, Evergreen, twice during the season.
  • Finishing runner up at State in Softball as a senior and winning the conference title.
  • Volunteering at Welchester Elementary School.
 
Activities I participated in while in high school:
 
Varsity Golf (2nd Team All State finished 13th Junior Year, 1st team All Conference and Qualified for state every year, Won 3 Tournaments, Lettered 4 years)
Varsity Softball (State Runner Ups, 1st Team Academic All State 2 years, 2nd team All Conference, Lettered 4 years)
Varsity Basketball (1st Team Academic All State, Starter 3 years, Honorable Mention All Conference)
GHS Swim Team (Senior Year due to knee injury Junior year in Basketball)
 
National Honor Society
Golden HS Demon Den Tutor 
Welchester Elementary School Volunteer
Helped Coach Golden Youth Girls 4th/5th Grade Basketball Team
Club Basketball – B&B Basketball Academy
Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado
Skier and Snowboard
Music Lessons – Piano, Guitar, Drums - Played in the 16th  Annual Evergreen Jazz Festival (Student Clinic)

What are your plans after graduation?

I’m going to college at Colorado Mesa University to obtain a degree in elementary education. My experience volunteering at Welchester Elementary School and tutoring at Golden HS has given me insight into how much impact a teacher can have on their students. As a teacher, I could show each and every one of my students the importance they can have in the world. I want to support the younger generation in their learning and help them to see their full potential. I plan to have my college education give me the skills necessary to become the type of teacher I have looked up to my whole life. Teachers like my calculus teacher, Mrs. Garvin, and my AP biology teacher, Mr. Blinco, didn't just teach me a subject, they taught me how the subject matter can be applied to life.

What do you miss the most about not being on campus to finish your senior year?  
I will miss being around my friends. I was so used to seeing them everyday and going through all four years together that the fact that we now had to do school alone everyday was not easy to get used to. It was a much different experience when you don’t have people right by your side to help you along the way.
 
What has been the toughest part about going through this uncertain time?
I believe the toughest part is just not knowing when it”s going to end!

What lessons will you take away from all of this? 

I will not take anything for granted. Life is short and you never know what is going to happen so make sure to live every minute to the fullest. My friends and I now realize how much we enjoyed going to school and being able to be around each other everyday where as before we used to complain about school. Life is all about perspective so make sure to enjoy everything you have right now cause you never when a pandemic will come along and take away your last moments in high school.

Kaylin Bates, GHS

Kaylin Bates
Kaylin Bates
About your high school experience: I ran track and played basketball for all four years of my high school career. In my sophomore year, I was in the 4x800 meter team that broke the school record, and placed us 8th in the State Championships. It has been one of my greatest accomplishments. I also participated in the National Honor Society for the past two years, and it has been a valuable experience as well.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to attend Metro State University of Denver in the fall, where I will study event planning management for the next four years.

What do you miss the most about not being on campus to finish your senior year?

I have missed not being able to see my friends, teachers, and even security guards on a daily basis as I used too.

What has been the toughest part about going through this uncertain time?

As a senior, missing the biggest milestones that you were waiting to experience for your entire life. Prom, and especially graduation, and the last spring sports season of my high school career being canceled was heartbreaking.

What lessons will you take away from all of this?

From all of this, I have learned that no matter what you do or where you go in life, never ever take what you have for granted. Going to school every day and having a sports practice to go to used to be things that yes, I loved, but also complained about endlessly. The moment they were ripped away from me, I wished for nothing more than for life to go back to normal. I never realized how important these seemingly small things were woven into my daily life. Now, with the world in the state that it’s in, I have become very aware of what I have, have realized to be grateful for it and to soak up every moment I have because you never know when things can be taken from you.

 Isabella Valenti, GHS
Isabella Valenti
Isabella Valenti
High School Career: I was lucky enough to get to be pretty involved in the school throughout all four years of my high school experience. I have been apart of the soccer program for all four years, my first year on JV, and the next two and would be three, on Varsity. I had the honor of being selected as a captain this year for soccer for the very short season we had. I also had the pleasure of being apart of Wish Club my junior year, which motivated me to join Student Council my senior year. I also was able to be apart of National Honor Society and participate in many community service activities.

Plans after Graduation: My plans after high school are to attend CU Boulder in the fall where I will be studying business at The Leeds School of Business.

What do I miss the most about not being on campus to finish my senior year? What I have missed most about not being at school for the closing of my high school experience, is not being able to close out my soccer career and have my last game and my senior night and get to say a proper goodbye to something that has been such a major part of my life for so long, and to say goodbye to my incredible teammates and coaches. I also miss just being at the school for the final time, just getting to soak up my last moments as a high schooler, and spend that time with my friends. 

What has been the toughest part about going through this uncertain time? The most difficult part of this uncertain time was having to stay away and home from all of my friends and not being certain that I will be able to have a senior prom or a graduation, or a last day of high school, which are all things that almost feel promised to you as a kid. 

Wha are the lessons I will take away from all of this? I will take away just knowing to enjoy every bit of every day, and that nothing is truly guaranteed, therefore to just live in the moment as much as possible.

 Jackie Teteris, GHS

Jackie Teteris
Jackie Teteris

Tell us a little your high school career: 

During her four years at Golden High School, Jackie participated in many musical, athletic, and service groups. Jackie played ice hockey and mountain biked all four years, and served as the captain of the bike team at Golden her senior year. Jackie also participated in her school's orchestra on viola, jazz band on clarinet, and sang in her school's choirs. Jackie also worked with many service groups within her school and even started her own mentoring program in local elementary schools. 

What are your plans after graduation?

Jackie will be attending the Monfort College of Business at the University of Northern Colorado in the fall of 2020. She is excited to continue all of her extracurriculars and make an impact on her college community. 

What do you miss the most about not being on campus to finish your senior year?

The thing Jackie misses the most about not being able to finish the year on campus is not being able to make final senior memories with her friends. She is sad she was not able to participate in events like prom and the moving up assembly. 

What has been the toughest part about going through this uncertain time?

The most difficult part about social distance learning is not being able to connect with other people. It is hard not seeing the smiling faces of students and staff at school and not being able to see friends in the hallways. 

What lessons will you take away from all of this?

You create your own education. Because of social distance learning, students have been forced to create their own schedules, ideas, and motivation. This is an incredibly important skill, and one the class of 2020 is fortunate to have moving to the next chapter in our lives. 

Rosie Vega Lazaro, GHS

Rosie Vega Lazaro
Rosie Vega Lazaro

Tell us a little your high school career:  During high school I had the chance to participate on the girls swim team over the winter for two years (sophomore and junior year). It was an amazing experience and a great time and activity that helped create some memories with some of my greatest friends.

What are your plans after graduation?

Aside from working, I am continuing my education at Metropolitan State University of Denver and planning to major in Psychology and Spanish. I hope to transfer later to the University of Colorado - Boulder.

What do you miss the most about not being on campus to finish your senior year?

My teachers and friends, there were certain events I wish I could’ve created memories for. Like prom, senior ditch day, and especially out annual moving up assembly. That assembly is your last and the most memorable.

What has been the toughest part about going through this uncertain time?

Feeling alone, you talk to your friends or even family through the phone and facetime. You celebrate many of their birthdays or special events and accomplishments from afar but, that feeling isn’t the same when you can’t see them and hug them.

What lessons will you take away from all of this?

Appreciate the moments you have with the people you care about most because, we can’t always know when that moment will be taken away.

Mya Baker, GHS

Mya Baker
Mya Baker
High school career:  I did basketball, lacrosse, softball, cross country, golf, and track. 

Post-graduation plans: I am going to work for a semester in Hawaii then go to Brigham Young University in Hawaii. 

Whay you'll miss: What I missed about not being on campus is to just get to interact with my teachers and classmates. Being able to talk to people face to face makes doing schoolwork a lot easier. 

The hardest thing about this hard time is having to stay inside all day. I’m a very active person so having to stay in my house day to day was hard for me to stay busy and sane. 

Lesson learned from this year: My biggest takeaway from this experience is to remember to be grateful for the little things. I never knew how much I would miss school and my classmates until it was taken away from me :)


Wheat Ridge High School

Abbie McAdams, WRHS

McAdams
McAdams

Tell us a little about your high school career:  I’ve always had a desire to be involved with my community and to serve as a leader who helps whatever I’m involved with accomplish great things. I seek out leadership roles with opportunities to positively influence my community. 

I’ve been a member of the Student Senate at Wheat Ridge all four years, including serving as sophomore class president, junior class president, and student body officer. Alongside student senate I’ve also been involved with choir all for years, musical theatre, the AP/Honors program, and three sports all four years at Wheat Ridge High School. In the broader community I have volunteered thousands of hours throughout high school; from local road races, to judging a middle school sustainability competition, to being a mental health activist and a founding member of Robbie’s Hope, giving back to the community brings me the most joy. 

During my sophomore year I applied to a competitive US State Department program (NSLI-Y) which awarded me a full-scholarship to live & study Arabic in Jordan as a 15 year old. That 6-week immersive program resulted in a passion for the Arabic language and a desire to have an impact on the Middle East and US relations with the region; the global perspective I gained will be invaluable to my future service work.

My leadership experiences culminated in the Bank of America Student Leaders Program in the summer before my senior year. From an 8-week internship at a local educational nonprofit, to going to DC and meeting with policymakers to advocate for necessary change in my community, to being able to apply all my learnings to my school Student Senate in my senior year, this experience had the most impact on my life’s trajectory.

What are your plans after graduation?

For undergrad, I’m planning to pursue some combination of international studies, political science, and economics while continuing to study Arabic (I also speak French). I plan to get both a BA and MA in international studies at the Korbel School at the University of Denver; this is made possible by the support of the Boettcher Foundation, as a Boettcher Scholar, and the Burger King McLamore Foundation, as a Burger King Scholar. After DU I plan to go to law school, possibly serve in the armed forces, and continue to develop my global perspective. From formal exchange programs to family trips, I’ve been fortunate to develop a global perspective that’s given me a unique view of the world. I’m proud of my aspirations to create change and the positive impact I’ve already had in my community; I believe a career in public service would best combine my passion for international affairs with my passion for domestic issues and I could use my platform as a public servant to affect change. 

What do you miss the most about not being on campus to finish your senior year?

I miss seeing my friends and participating in daily activities that I took for granted: singing with the Wheat Ridge Singers, reading the pledge of allegiance and daily announcements over the loudspeaker, planning events to better the Wheat Ridge community as Student Body Officer in Student Senate, and many more. Aside from the activities and sports that I missed out on this spring, I miss the kind, caring, and invested teachers and staff at WRHS that made me excited to go to school everyday.

What has been the toughest part about going through this uncertain time?

The toughest part about this time for me has been not knowing the next time I would be able to reunite with my senior class, and not knowing if I will be able to put a cap on high school with a typical graduation.

What lessons will you take away from all of this?

The most important lesson that I’ll carry with me from this time is the importance of stepping back from everyday life to reflect, and spend time with the people I love. From watching documentaries to exploring the outdoors I’ve indulged in so many activities I usually don’t make time for. That and spending time with my loved ones have been some of the good that has come out of this time, and I will never take for granted small daily interactions or activities again.

Eleanor Meng, WRHS

Eleanor Meng
Eleanor Meng
High School Career: I participated in three high school musicals, and have been involved in the school's choir program all four years. I was even able to travel to Germany last fall with my choir as part of a musical exchange. In addition, I have been involved in NHS, and was voted in as president my senior year. I was a varsity diving member for Wheat Ridge my senior year, and was a varsity gymnast for Lakewood High School for my junior and senior years.

Plans after graduation: I plan on attending Lawrence University in Appleton, WI in the fall to major in biology.

Miss the most: I miss getting to see everyone. I miss getting to hang out with my friends during class and lunch. I miss being able to see people I'm not necessarily close friends with but enjoy their company. I miss seeing my teachers and talking to them. I just really missed the social interaction and getting to say my final good-byes.

Toughest part: The toughest part was finally accepting that my senior year wasn't going to be the way I planned. I had dreamed about it for so long, that to have that dream crushed was hard to accept. So coming to terms with the situation and realizing I was going to have to celebrate senior year a little different was hard.

Lessons: My biggest lesson that I have taken away from all of this is to enjoy each moment. You never know when a moment will be your last with someone. You might not realize that you're saying good-bye to something. Live each moment and day as though it's your last. You are never guaranteed a perfect ending or good-bye. 


Bear Creek

Kate Cortez, Bear Creek

Cortez
Cortez
Truly be grateful for every day. I think a lot of the time, it was easy to get caught up in just existing that we forget to take a step back and embrace all the blessings. I feel confident speaking for the class of 2020 that we would in a heartbeat take all the stress, homework, and early 7 a.m. mornings just to be back in a building we unknowingly despised for four years.


Faith Christian Academy

Sydney Fox, Faith Christian

Fox
Fox
I hope to never take “normal life” for granted again. Getting to go to school, to work, hanging out with friends, heading to the store, going out to eat ... I miss so much and am going to be so happy to have back. But I never would have been so grateful for them if they were not taken away. I want to soak in all the little things each day.


Green Mountain

-Abby Barmore, Green Mountain

Barmore
Barmore
Never take the small things for granted. Before this, I never realized the importance of simply hugging my friends, but now I will definitely appreciate the little things in life. Also, I think that as a community we are learning a valuable lesson about being kind and supportive to one another.

 


Jefferson Jr./Sr. High School

Brianna Pineda, Jefferson Jr./Sr. High

Pineda
Pineda
The thing I miss most being on campus is not being able to finish my seniors activity that were planned.

You never know what can happen just try to make memories with your peers.

Cameron Johnson, Jefferson Jr./Sr. High

Johnson
Johnson
Appreciate everybody and everything in your life while you can, you never know when it will be taken away from you. Another thing I’ve learned is to focus on the present; if you constantly worry about the past or what might happen in your future, you will completely forget to appreciate what is happening now.

Devon Kemp, Jefferson Jr./Sr. High

Kemp
Kemp
I miss not seeing the staff members or my friends. We had so many plans before quarantine happened and I’m sad and disappointed that we won’t be able to do any of it. Don’t take anything for granted. You’ll never know when something you think you have will be snatched right from you .


Lakewood High School

Abe Soto, Lakewood High School

Soto
Soto
Al Capone once said “be careful who you call friend. I’d rather have four quarters to a hundred pennies.”

This virus has really showed me the people who care, which strangely enough includes the staff at Lakewood high school. To get phone calls to my private cell asking how I’m doing or cards in the mail from teachers is just something entirely unexpected, and has been an immense boost in my mood and that of other students. The friends who have been checking in on social media or calling me up to see if I need anything are the quarters in my life, and I honestly couldn’t ask for a greater group of humans to surround myself with at a time as trying as this one.


Pomona

Adriana Garcia, Pomona

Garcia
Garcia
The toughest part about going through this time is adjusting. Having things change around you is hard and its easy to get in the same loop of not doing anything.

Lessons I will take away from this is everything can change in just a blink of an eye, so savor it and appreciate everything.


Ralston Valley

Sydney Perkins, Ralston Valley

Perkins
Perkins
I miss the culture of connection that ran through the entire school, but especially, the senior class.

I truthfully spent a big chunk of high school wishing it away and it is hard to believe that it is over now on such a sour note. I learned that every little thing I experienced built me into who I am today and I am learning how to find joy in all the moments not just the rewards.

 

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