Growing up with the Class of 2020
by Su Henry
I came to Gilpin County and began teaching Spanish (PK – grade 12) in January of 2009. This year’s Seniors were in 1st grade. I found out in August of 2009 that I would be the Class Sponsor for the Class of 2020. I was so excited! I went into their 2nd grade class where I was teaching them Spanish, and I told them, “Hey, Kiddos! When you get to 6th Grade, I’m going to be your Class Sponsor!” Of course, they looked at me with those 7-year-old eyes and said, “What’s that?” I said, “Oh, you’ll find out!”
By 6th Grade, they were ready! They had the best-decorated hallway for Homecoming in the whole school that year! I had been preparing them for showing their spirit in Middle School for 4 years. By the time they got to High School, they were rocking that whole “I’m a Gilpin Eagle with Spirit” Thing!
In 8th Grade (in 2015), there were over 40 of them. Wow! That was a huge class! Since 2009, I had only seen graduating classes of 12 to 18. How were we going to pay for Prom if there were going to be 40 Juniors, plus all the Seniors and their dates? Well, I started finding fundraising opportunities for them in 8th Grade, and I kept finding things for them to do every year. There was a core group of about 12 students over the years who kept putting in the time. Every time I said, “I need people to sign up to do this event”, there they were. As a result, this class was able to raise a fairly substantial amount, so much that they were able to rent the historic Daniels & Fisher Clock Tower in Downtown Denver as the venue for their Junior-Senior Prom last year. It was beautiful and amazing!
Then this year they were all pumped to go to Glenwood Springs for their Senior Trip with the money they still had in their account. We were going to stay at the Hot Springs Resort, where they could have hopped into a hot spring any time they wanted over the 3 days we were going to be there … but, alas … it was not to be.
These 33 Seniors were all born right before or right after 9-11. They were born into a world where they had to buck up and be as strong as they could be no matter what was thrown their way. And now, as Seniors, their last 2 months of activities were lost to Covid-19. No Prom, No Senior Trip, No Commencement Ceremony. They have succeeded in becoming positive and strong young adults with great things in their futures. No matter what obstacles appear in their paths, I believe that they will find happiness, and they will adapt to the world they live in. And I believe they will make it a better place.
Is being a Class Sponsor glamorous? Sure, if you want it to be. Afterall, I got to go to Prom at the glamorous Clock Tower! What I can tell you is that it was a lot of work, but I never quit planning and working for their future projects and endeavors. I can also tell you that it was well worth it to watch these students grow into adults that I am very proud of.
So how will the Class of 2020 get their diplomas? Well, our plan is to have an in-person ceremony on the football field at Gilpin County School on August 1. For now, we are planning to have just students and immediate family only, along with Staff. And we will be keeping with the social distancing guidelines in place at that time. The Gilpin County Community has done some wonderful things for our Seniors. Each Senior was “adopted” by a Community member, and they received gifts that they could pick up at the Eagles’ Mart in Black Hawk. Also, yard signs were put in each Senior’s yard with their picture on it. In addition, you might have seen the banners hanging off the balconies of Dostal Alley which were donated by a Community member. The Seniors have missed some important events, but many people have been filling in the gaps to help make it as memorable as possible.