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January 30, 2014
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Story by Leslie Fajardo
As we conclude School Board Appreciation Month, William Smith High School and Pickens Technical College Executive Intern Leslie Fajardo has captured some unique facts about the APS Board of Education!
Outside of being on the APS Board, our members are involved in a variety of organizations and other causes. Communication intern Fajardo caught up with each member to explore some of their interests:
Drevon holds a black belt in tae kwon do and teaches kickboxing. She recently collaborated with fellow APS Board of Education member Barbara Yamrick, State Rep. Su Ryden, parent Dacia Head and 5th Gear Kids Coordinator Kenny Webb to introduce fitness kickboxing to several APS physical education teachers. The educators learned how to teach the sport to their students. Much of the equipment used during the training session will be shared with students district-wide, thanks to the Healthy Schools Successful Students grant.
"It was a collaboration of ideas and equipment so that everybody has the same opportunities to teach the same thing to their students,” Drevon said. “It's huge."
Dan Jorgensen, Ph.D.
Jorgensen is getting used to having more time on his hands now that he recently earned his Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Educational Policy and Administration from the University of Denver. He now has time to indulge in his hobbies, which include riding his Harley Davidson, collecting coins, teaching part time at Johnson and Wales University and spending time with his wife and three children. Jorgensen and his wife also coach t-ball for small kids, including their three-year-old son.
Jorgenson believes in enjoying life. His hobbies allow him to be in different places, which he said helps him be more productive at work.
“Out of all that I do and am interested in, I have to say that my most important focus is my family,” Jorgensen said. “I just really enjoy sharing time with my wife and kids.”
Lewis has been a part of the America’s Promise Alliance since 2008. America’s Promise is a national alliance that serves all youth in Aurora. There are different “promises,” and Lewis is involved with the Caring Adults and Effective Education promise, which sponsors Career Exploration Night, where students explore colleges and careers they might be interested in while learning how to apply for college and financial aid.
“I really enjoy how our work with the America’s Promise Alliance is getting parents and the community in support of students and their success,” Lewis shared. “Our career exploration event has grown so large that we had to find a new venue!”
Eric Nelson, Ph.D.
Nelson engages in different community groups to help eliminate the disparities and racial barriers among students. Nelson concentrates on eliminating cyber bullying and creating more school funding. He’s currently working with quite a few legislators on this. Nelson hopes to strengthen parent engagement, which directly ties into student achievement.
“Being a supporter of equality in the community is important because our kids are the generation of tomorrow,” Nelson said. “We must do everything possible to support our students.”
JulieMarie A. Shepherd, Ph.D.
Shepherd is an active volunteer who helps raise puppies from the organization Guide Dogs for the Blind. For more than 10 years, she has raised puppies into confident and well-behaved dogs by socializing and exposing them to different environments. Shepherd begins working with the puppies at eight-weeks-old and raises them until they’re about a year old before returning them to the organization for final training. Currently, Shepherd is raising a puppy named Delsey.
“It is hard to give up the dogs after a year, but I’m able to do it because each of the amazing dogs goes on to serve such an important role in helping someone else,” Shepherd said.
Wildman, an active member of Save Our Youth, is in her third year of mentoring a student named Isis. She began this collaboration when Isis was a sixth-grader. They often spend time hiking, attending Denver Nuggets games, going to the library and much more. Wildman believes that more good role models are needed in the community and that students from all over Aurora would benefit from having a good mentor in their lives. She also believes in converting a student’s obstacles into opportunities. Wildman’s goal is to help Isis be the first person in her family to graduate from college.
“It’s important to invest time in kids and most importantly, to believe in them,” Wildman said. “Save Our Youth is a great organization that is always looking for mentors.”
Yamrick is committed to staying healthy and fit. She practices water aerobics five days a week at the Beck Recreation Center. She’s participated in this fitness routine for the past 10 years. Yamrick finds that water aerobics are important for her personal health and staying flexible.
“I always try to eat healthy foods, and although I may not go every day, I practice water aerobics at least five hours a week. Every minute in the water is precious,” Yamrick said.
The program earned an “Exceeding Standards” rating from the Department of the Air Force during a recent unit evaluation, which, as Gateway instructor Maj. Kent Cast said, “is not a paper drill.”
The mark is the highest rating attainable.
The inspector evaluated cadets on their overall appearance, marching, drill movements, clarity and crispness of commands as well as a formal briefing. The Air Force also considered the squad’s community service hours and academic performance as part of the exemplary rating.
Cast and fellow instructor Sgt. John May worked many late nights ensuring that everything was in order and ready for the inspection, which happens every three years.
“I was extremely pleased to see that the hard work they put in paid off,” Cast said. “These young folks could actually see what they get from their hard work.”
The Rangeview High School CyberPatriot team is getting used to success, and that feeling rose to another level earlier this month when the team excelled through the national semifinal round. RHS will now compete in the finals March 26-30 in Washington, D.C.
CyberPatriot is the premier national high school cyber defense competition designed to give students hands on exposure to the foundations of cyber security.
To make the finals, Rangeview competed against and beat 1,500 other teams from across the world. They will compete against 11 other teams in the finals.
Rangeview’s team made the national semifinal round — a six-hour competition online — for the second time in four years and will soon enjoy their second trip to the finals.
"This is a group that shows commitment to hard work and protecting our companies and country,” coach Randy Mills said. “I am proud to be their coach.”
Congratulations and good luck to:
The Aurora Public Schools Community Update is now available at aurorak12.org/update. This update provides information about student academic progress including TCAP results, School Performance Framework reports, and teacher quality data for the 2013-14 school year.
If you would like a printed copy of the data, contact the APS Communication Department at 303-365-7805.
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Created on October 11th, 2013 | Last updated on January 31, 2014