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Pikes Peak Early College Celebrates Grads and Continuing Students

A room full of Pikes Peak Early College students sat quietly at tables surrounded by their family and friends early in the afternoon of Friday, May 18. On the stage before them at Creekside Success Center stood District 49 Board of Education vice president John Graham next to a table with a stack of diplomas. PPEC Grads listen to guest speakers during graduation ceremony


“We accept these graduates as meeting all requirements required by the Board of Education and the state of Colorado and wish them success in their personal life journey,” said Graham. “Congratulations!”


From the podium on stage, associate principal Rochelle Kolhouse explained how PPEC established an innovative way to celebrate graduation day for its students.


Many of our seniors will not graduate in the traditional sense, but will continue on with us seeking the completion of their own unique pathway,” Kolhouse said. She went on to explain the goal for a PPEC student is not necessarily a high school diploma, but rather to continue at PPEC to successfully complete their pathway by achieving an associate degree, industry certification, or transfer to a four-year university.


Those who graduated Friday chose a guest to give a speech about their achievements at PPEC.

PPEC Grad Bridget Olson with her high school diploma

“Bridget has a love for learning as well as a strong pull toward helping both in the community as well as globally,” said PPEC college advisor/counselor Dale Bonavita in her speech about senior Bridget Olson. Olson volunteered for six years at the National Mill Dog Rescue in Falcon while also carrying a full college course load. “It has truly been a great joy having her as a Pikes Peak Early College student,” said Bonavita.

“I’m going to CSU-Pueblo to study elementary education,” said Olson. The PPEC grad will follow in her parents’ footsteps -- both are teachers in District 49.


At the conclusion of the ceremony, 20 students who will continue on with PPEC received a tassel to commemorate the completion of their typical senior year. Eight students in attendance received a diploma, four of which also earned an associate degree during their studies at PPEC.  


Watch the complete ceremony here:


PPEC graduate Thomas Palma accepts his diploma  PPEC graduate Thomas Gunter with his mother and guest speaker, Terri


A complete group of photos can be found on Facebook by clicking here:


PPEC Graduation/Continuation Ceremony Facebook Album

David Nancarrow