Nearly everyone who attended the 2012 Cherry Creek Schools Foundation Luncheon on March 15 had heard the story of Aron Ralston, a 1993 graduate of Cherry Creek High School who amputated his right arm after a canyoneering accident in 2003. But hearing his story first-hand mesmerized the sell-out crowd of 800 people.
“I stepped out of my grave and into my life again,” Ralston said of the moment when he was finally free of the 800-pound boulder that had crushed his right arm and trapped him in a deep canyon crevasse for more than five days.
“Our boulders are our blessings,” added Ralston. “They show us what’s important, what we are capable of, what’s extraordinary within us.”
Ralston thanked his parents, who were in the audience, for giving him the strength to survive his ordeal and for instilling in him a deep love of nature and the outdoors. He also thanked them for moving from the midwest to the Cherry Creek School District, where he attended West Middle School and Cherry Creek High School.
“This is one of the best, if not THE best school district in the country,” said Ralston, who wrote a best-selling book about his experience, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”, which was adapted for the 2010 Oscar nominated film “127 Hours” directed by Danny Boyle and starring James Franco.
“If my book was successful, it was because my English and history teachers didn’t let me get away with anything!” laughed Ralston, who was introduced by his former AP European History teacher Fred Engle.
Ralston encouraged everyone in the crowd to give back to the district by supporting the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation, which has given more than $7 million to support students, teachers and excellence in education.
At the luncheon, the Foundation presented the 2012 AVID Giving Generation Scholarship to Christian Convington, a senior at Overland High School, and Mackenzie Cunningham, a senior at Smoky Hill High School. Molly Bibeau, a senior at Eaglecrest High School, received the 2012 Monte C. Moses Future Educator Scholarship.
Youth and education advocate Julie Mork received the 2012 Champions of Education Award, and teacher Mark Overmeyer received the 2012 Catherine Canny Educator Award.
For more information about the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation, visit www.ccsdfoundation.org.