The Life Skills Center of Denver commencement ceremony for their 2011 graduating class was held at 5 PM on Friday, June 17, 2011, at the King Performing Arts Center on the Auraria Campus just outside of downtown Denver.
The Life Skills Center of Denver program offers alternative learning to students who haven’t completed their necessary course work in the usual high school environment, but are incorporated into an individualized program that offers a state recognized high school diploma instead of a GED.
This year’s graduating class had one member named Louie Byrd who was an obvious crowd favorite, beaming with pride as he was introduced to the gathering of friends and family there in support of his long awaited achievement.
‘King Louie’ Byrd, the four-time National Golden Gloves Champion, proud father, and now High School Graduate, should be in line to become the poster boy for relating how complicated the pursuit of an education can be, and only with the constant push from those who already understand it’s importance do you have a chance of attaining that goal.
Life Skills principal Santiago Lopez and his staff of Barbara Rittenhouse, Katreas Carroll, Philana Perez, Ken Roman, Redding Duley, Amy Vail, Robert Klein, Amanda Smith, Tatyana Popova, Russell Emenaker, Robert Martinez, Tracey Zulian, Kaye Speer, Melissa Nawrocki, Kathleen Pendleton, Becky Guth, Paul Thompson, Sharlie Graham, Cynthia Yost, Sandra Parnes, Dana Lindsay, Johanna Gonzalez, Francisco Escobar, Dianne Bottenelli, and Darlene Calhoun, are a testament to the commitment our teachers still have in developing young minds that were briefly sidetracked but needed a slight nudge in the right direction.
‘King Louie Byrd’ was joined in the graduation ceremonies by fellow classmates Johnny Angel Berzoza, Roberto Casillas, Jack Channel, Mickie Hall, Daniel Jones, Tara Martinez, Regis McGuire, Jovanna Ochoa, Stephanie Rodriguez, Manuela Romero, Joshua Shipley, Adrian Stollsteimer, Marissa Tapia, and Mohamed Yousif.
Life Skills Board of Directors in attendance included President Peter Droege, Ronald Wooding, Ada Diaz-Kirby, Sherry Eastland, Hugh Norton, Jeanette Patterson, Joe Megyesy, and Gregory Knoeber.
The guest speaker for the commencement exercise was Denver Public School Board Vice President Arturo Jimenez, nephew of recently deceased community activist Pierre Jimenez, who spoke of his understanding the unique barriers confronting our many diverse Denver neighborhoods while congratulating the graduates.
The afternoon ceremony was a gathering of now high school graduates, their friends and families, and most important the opportunity to show the world that the phrase “If we can do it, so can you” is more than just talk.
Beginning Sunday morning, ‘King Louie’ Byrd starts his quest in becoming a 2012 USA Olympic Boxing Team participant, and now that his high school diploma is in his hands there is nothing keeping him from reaching that next goal.
Congratulations ‘King Louie’ Byrd and the entire 2011 graduating class of the Life Skills Center of Denver.
Stephen Johnson feature writes amateur boxing for UNTIL THE NEXT ROUND.com