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Springs Studio for Academic Excellence Congratulates Class of 2018

Ninety-two purple-gowned seniors kicked off the District 49 graduation season the morning of Friday, May 18. Family and friends of the graduating class from Springs Studio for Academic Excellence filled the grand ballroom of the Doubletree Hotel to recognize the class of 2018.


“Our kids are our kids for a reason,” said SSAE principal Jodi Fletcher in her opening remarks. Noting she met most of the graduates when they were in sixth-grade, Fletcher highlighted the value of lasting relationships, encouraging her students to “be kind, be genuine and never give up.”SSAE Grads listen to commencement ceremonies


Fletcher said the class of 2018 will be remembered for a list of notable accolades:


  • At 92 students, the Class of 2018 is the largest ever at SSAE.
  • 37 students have earned college credits, including one receiving her associate degree.
  • 18 students earned a GPA of more than 3.75.
  • SSAE graduates have completed courses and certifications in cabinetry, health sciences, culinary arts, EMT, zoology and cosmetology.
  • The class of 2018 boasts a best of show artist.
  • Resident athletes at the Olympic Training Center are also among the SSAE class of 2018.


SSAE’s Student of the Year award went to senior Mariah Mayhugh, who took home her diploma and associate degree from Pikes Peak Community College on graduation day. She made her choice to start college courses early because some friends were taking classes at PPCC. Although Mayhugh said she simply thought it would be fun to try college courses, a very special drive makes her stand out from others. An early diagnosis of epilepsy threatened to make school difficult for the SSAE grad. SSAE senior, Mariah Mayhugh, accepts the Student of the Year Award

“Students with my type of epilepsy often struggle with school; reading and writing, sometimes even speaking becomes an issue for them,” Mayhugh said.     

Mayhugh worked with her family to overcome those challenges when she began her education as a homeschool student. When she reached ninth grade, she was excelling, and looking for new challenges. Living with epilepsy also helped shape her interest in college pursuits. Mayhugh earned straight A’s at PPCC her last semester. She also successfully completed a certificate program through PPCC which qualifies her to be a Certified Nursing Assistant.

“When I went for nursing it wound up being a perfect match,” said Mayhugh. “I know what it's like to be on the other side, and all the nurses I've had have been very sweet. I want to do that for someone else.”


Pikes Peak Early College Executive Principal Dave Knoche echoed Fletcher’s remarks on the importance of relationships to the group of graduates. “Most of you who took a chance enrolling in SSAE,” Knoche said, “Essentially what you are trying to find is your tribe.” Knoche encouraged the SSAE seniors to surround themselves with positive people and to never fear anyone who challenges their thinking.


“Know it’s your relationships that you build, and that in your tribe is where you will find your true happiness,” he said. “We cannot wait to see the big impact you will have on the world.”


Click here to watch the complete ceremony:

92 SSAE seniors celebrate commencement at the Doubletree Hotel  SSAE grads celebrate commencement with friends and family  


Take a look at some more graduation photos by clicking here:

SSAE Graduation Photos on Facebook


David Nancarrow