- Bennett Ranch Elementary School
School Year Wraps Up with Fantastic 49 Fanfare
D49 leaders and board members honored students and staff who made the 20-21 school year brighter during the Fantastic 49 celebration June 10 at Creekside Success Center.
The event was kicked off by recognizing Amber Brown, behavior analyst, who serves districtwide and was an especially valuable resource during a challenging year. “Amber Brown is a fantastic example of what we need in District 49. She has taken that extra step and puts on professional development for our staff,” said Dr. Kim Boyd, director of community care. “During pandemic times, Amber had office hours on Fridays via Zoom, so parents and staff could call in to have questions answered, and she has done home visits too.”
Team members who helped plan the 2021 and 2020 graduation ceremonies received accolades from leaders at Sand Creek, Vista Ridge and Falcon High Schools. “I’d like to give a shout out to Alyssa Pearce and Matt McCluan. Even when venues closed their doors due to COVID, the rain came down in buckets, and the audio went out, Alyssa and Matt still did everything they could to keep things moving forward,” shared Dr. Darryl Bonds, principal at Falcon High School. Lauren Stuart from Sand Creek, and Tracey Sousa and Angela Duca from Vista Ridge were also thanked for their contributions.
The theme of graduation continued with honoring 2021 Springs Studio graduate Austin Beatty, who fought a personal battle along with COVID challenges this year. “I am happy to be here tonight to give Austin well-deserved recognition,” shared Jessica Watson, SSAE teacher. “I think it’s important to point out that Austin was a student worthy of recognition before this year, and I know he’ll continue to go on to do great things.” Austin was full of appreciation for the support. “I want to thank Mrs. Watson … Springs Studio … Falcon High School Football … and of course, Children’s Hospital as they helped me finish strong and fight cancer.”
Emma Schlosser, eighth-grader at Horizon Middle School, received honors for her leadership skills in the Junior Optimist International Club. “She took on incredible roles,” remarked Kittrie Glen, teacher at HMS. “We try to give a Christmas to foster families in Colorado Springs, and we didn’t think it was going to be a go this past year, but Emma kept trying to find ways to make it go. All these families showed up because of the work Emma did. She is well-deserved of recognition and has gone on to become the governor of JOI Club.”
The final honorees of the evening were three AFJROTC cadets who received Character-in-Leadership scholarships for all expenses paid to earn a college degree and pursue commission in the United States Air or Space Forces. Jaime Snyder from Vista Ridge High School, Jahzara Davis from Sand Creek High School and Andrew Weisler from Falcon High School were among 100 students nationwide to receive the prestigious scholarship.
“I’d like to thank all my supporters and loved ones … and also thank you, mom. Through all my hardships, you have been there for me. I hope I continue to do great things with you by my side,” said Jaime.
Jahzara added, “ROTC has given me a lot of leadership opportunities … going into the Air Force as an officer is a really good choice for me. It’s inspired me to be a leader regardless of what I do, wherever I am.”
Fantastic 49 is the district’s recognition program that celebrates fantastic staff, students, and community members before board of education meetings.