It takes a special brand of selflessness to turn a school into a community.
The 15 recipients of this year's Golden Heart Awards exemplify a commitment to making learning accessible and meaningful for every student in the Cherry Creek School District. Moreover, these honorees have worked tirelessly to create a sense of caring and belonging in their home buildings, an atmosphere that runs deeper than the classrooms and hallways and extends into the community.
The awards formally presented during a ceremony held Wednesday, May 27, at the Marriott Lone Tree recognized students, teachers and staff members from across the district who make a daily difference for CCSD students with special needs.
"They're dedicated to making sure every student is capable of accessing education," said Grandview High School Principal Sarah Grobbel. Three of the 2015 Golden Heart Award recipients – Stefanie Jones, Kevin Holland and Lindsey Mendelsberg – were from Grandview. "They all go above and beyond. They're all here beyond regular work hours, they attend multiple events. The kids recognize them wherever they go because they're everywhere."
That extraordinary commitment was a common denominator among the recipients from across the district. Whether it was a student who volunteered their time and resources to help out their peers or a para-educator who made a significant difference for a single student, this group personified a spirit of dedication. These award winners work hard to make the Cherry Creek School District a place where every student has the resources and the inspiration to think, to learn, to achieve and to care.
"These are the people who give heart to a school," said Cherry Creek High School Principal Ryan Silva. Silva was on hand to honor CCHS Assistant Principal Doug Aglietti, who's dedicated himself to assisting students with special needs. "He's always had a heart for the outliers. Whether that be a student in Student Achievement Services or a student who is struggling academically or socially, those are the kids who have kept Doug fresh and eager to make sure the school is meeting their needs.
"People like Doug are the ones who make sure that we have a culture and that we're not about numbers. We're about individual kids," Silva added.
Congratulations to the 2015 Golden Heart Award recipients:
Doug Aglietti, Cherry Creek High School, Assistant Principal
Sarah Axelson, Independence Elementary, Behavior Development Teacher
TJ Burroughs, Horizon Community Middle School, Physical Education Teacher
Kylie Connolly, Eaglecrest High School, Student
Avery Crawford, Eaglecrest High School, Student
Rose Duran, Transition Program, Special Education Teacher
Erik Gose, Coyote Hills Elementary, Para-educator Matt Grobbel, Coyote Hills Elementary, Technology Teacher
Kevin Holland, Grandview High School, Para-educator
Stefanie Jones, Grandview High School, Special Education Teacher
Dr. Les McCarroll, Thunder Ridge Middle School, Volunteer
Lindsey Mendelsberg, Grandview High School, Student
Cecilia Miller, Eastridge Elementary, Music Teacher
Maddie Selby, Fox Ridge Middle School, Student
Kathryn Workman, Aspen Crossing Elementary, First Grade Teacher