Angelo Brite was only a few months away from finally finishing his high school career at Colorado's Finest High School of Choice before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Englewood Schools — and he …
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Angelo Brite was only a few months away from finally finishing his high school career at Colorado's Finest High School of Choice before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Englewood Schools — and he had unfinished business for his senior year.
Brite has dreams of becoming a chef once he is done with high school, and had plans to assist his classmates who were going to compete at the now-canceled Colorado ProStart Invitational & Sysco Denver Hospitality Cup Competition — a high school competition that focuses on culinary arts. But since mid-March, Brite has lost the daily interaction he had with his classmates and friends as Englewood Schools has migrated to online learning for the rest of the semester.
“When you're in school, you tend to think that you'd rather be at home, but then you realize when you were at school, you could see your friends. Given the choice, I would choose to be in school right now as opposed to just staying at home,” said Brite. “It would've been nice to be at school for the last year of high school to get a little more of the experience.”
While Brite won't get to experience the accomplished feeling of walking across a stage to get his diploma, at least in May, he and other members of the class of 2020 from Colorado's Finest and Englewood High School will be celebrated during a parade hosted by Englewood Schools.
The school district will celebrate graduating seniors from the two schools on May 23 in two separate parades. Englewood High School graduates and their families will drive their cars from Duncan Park at 4880 S. Pennsylvania St. and follow Logan Street to Englewood High School at 3800 S. Logan St. starting at 10 a.m. on May 23. Later that day at 2 p.m., Colorado's Finest graduates will be celebrated as they head south on Delaware Street from Oxford Avenue to their school at 300 W. Chenango Ave.
At the end of the parade routes, graduates will drive under a balloon arch at their schools and receive their diplomas once they arrive.
Englewood Schools Superintendent Wendy Rubin wrote in an April 21 letter to school district families that a traditional graduation ceremony is not possible for the foreseeable future.
“We're looking forward to being able to celebrate our kids in real time. I think everyone is looking for something that is positive and that celebrates Englewood,” Rubin told the Englewood Herald. “Hopefully this will be something that can check some of those boxes.”
The Englewood Police Department will work to make sure the parade routes are safe and that social distancing measures are practiced throughout the day. Community members are encouraged to cheer on the graduates as they drive by to get their diplomas.
“(The celebration) is our attempt to recognize the outstanding achievement of our 2020 graduates while (social distancing),” said Colorado's Finest Principal Bobbie Skaggs. “So many of our students have plans once they graduate. They are either going to college or another state to work. We have a chance to honor everyone instead of potentially missing so many (at a later graduation ceremony).”
The Class of 2020 at Englewood High School holds a special place in the heart of Ryan West, the principal of the school. The 2020 graduates started their high school careers at the same time West started as principal at the school.
“I challenged them on day one to leave a legacy and mark on the school, and they've done that. They resurrected the community, have been involved in student government, brought spirit back to the school and have had academic integrity,” said West. “These guys raised the bar and set a great example for the next classes to follow.”
Englewood High School will graduate 107 students while Colorado's Finest will graduate around 50.
“(The parades are) the first time the city of Englewood may get a chance to come together and rally together. They are the first big community events,” said West. “Hopefully it goes beyond honoring the class of 2020. Hopefully it's a small part to help the community heal and return to some resemblance of normalcy as a whole.”
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