Student Spotlight February 2023

The Student Spotlight feature of each LPS Board meeting, new to the Board’s agenda this year, celebrates a student or a group of students who are living out the Portrait of an LPS Graduate. 

Portrait of an LPS Graduate
What is the Portrait of an LPS Graduate? Tomorrow’s workers will succeed by constantly adapting to the changing world around them. Today’s students must begin by learning new life skills. In response, about four years ago, more than 300 local industry leaders, teachers, community members, parents and students discussed what the new learning priorities should be. Focus groups of LPS high school students reviewed this feedback, shared their priorities and compiled the Portrait of an LPS Graduate, which outlines the attributes/skills of an LPS graduate:

  • Well-adjusted, Thriving and Balanced
  • Communication
  • Global/Cultural Awareness
  • Character
  • Critical Thinking
  • Problem Solving
  • Adaptability
  • Creativity
  • Risk-Taking
  • Resiliency
  • Collaboration
  • Self Advocacy
  • All surrounding Rigorous and Relevant Academic Skills

February 9, 2023
At the regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting on February 9, 2023, a Heritage High School student nominated by his bus driver and four seniors from Arapahoe High School were recognized.

Michael “Maxx” Mueller demonstrates excellence in the skills of Character and Communication. His bus driver, Denise Cahill, had the following to say about Maxx: “Maxx has been on my route for two years now. He has become such a bright part of the day. He greets everyone with a ‘good morning’ or  high-five each day and again as he departs in the afternoon. His all-around kindness and compassion for others has blossomed. He is the best helper with a fellow student who needs help getting on and off the bus. Maxx gets off the bus at school ahead of this student and offers his hand to aid him down the last step. Maxx took that upon himself so that the other student always knows he has a peer he can rely on. He never fails to ask if other students are okay if they happened to miss a bus ride or if they are having a tough day. I wanted to make sure his principal and the Board of Education know how much I appreciate him.”

Maxx, people like you make such a huge difference in the lives of others. We notice those acts of kindness that may seem small to you, but to others, demonstrate that someone truly and genuinely cares. Thank you for that. Heritage staff, your bus driver, and LPS are grateful and very proud of you.

Brock Schelhaas is in the top three percent of the graduating senior class, and he has excelled in the most rigorous classes offered, especially in the STEM arena. He has a genuine interest in pursuing a career in mechanical engineering, where he will be able to creatively problem-solve using all he has learned in math, science, computer science, and engineering at Arapahoe High School. Brock is a strong leader with the highest integrity. In addition to being a captain of the varsity basketball team, he is the president of the Technology Student Association, and he has been a valuable three-year member of the Arapahoe School Accountability Committee, where he adds a humble, honest, and fresh perspective to our conversations and truly helps guide school-wide decisions. Brock possesses significant grit and determination. In losing his father at a young age, he could have given up on so many of his pursuits and dreams. Instead, he has remained a driven individual in all aspects of his life. He is a hard worker, a leader in his family, and an advocate for marginalized members of our school community.

Kate Tucker has been a dedicated participant in many arenas in Arapahoe. She recognizes the value to her future as she gets involved in various organizations, all serving different purposes for and with the school community. Kate is friendly, mature, respectful, and driven. She has loads of character and leadership qualities that make her a very unique student. She has been a dedicated member of Arapahoe’s journalism team for four years, taking pictures at many events. She was a member of the Arapahoe Mountain Biking team for four years and has blossomed into an actress and singer in the vocal music and theatre departments. Kate even found time to be a four-year competitor on the swim and dive team. She is outspoken about her passions and has a bright future ahead of her. Kate is also an excellent member of the AHS Ambassador group helping to welcome all incoming freshmen to the school and on shadowing days. She leads both student and parent groups with confidence and passion for the school.

Kai Zuckerman has had an amazing and rare scholastic journey. Like many students, Kai struggled with the shift in learning that happened during Covid. By the end of his sophomore year, he was heading down a path that might not have led to an on-time graduation. But in a sudden turn of events and renewed dedication, Kai completely recommitted to his schoolwork. He was able to bring up his grades in one semester! He did hours of online credit recovery and summer school. He knew he would no longer be able to have any unscheduled hours in order to recover his credit. Kai didn’t mind. He knew it was time to lock in his future starting with a high school diploma. He is an extremely gifted artist and wants to pursue that line of work after high school. He was one of the pioneer members of AP Art Studio, was the art department’s very first Arapahoe Student of the Month, and recently won a “Gold Key” award from the Scholastic Art Awards, meaning he will have a piece of his art on display at the Denver Art Museum for the next month. Kai has demonstrated his strong academic skills, his ability to adapt, his resiliency, and his passionate creativity.

Sarah Merrill has been an extremely dedicated four-year member of the Arapahoe Performing Arts community. She is a decorated musician in the band and a valued participant in the two highest audition choirs. Sarah is currently the drum major, where she has demonstrated extraordinary leadership with her peers. Arapahoe’s band director, Mr. Funk, has empowered and trusted Sarah to lead the pep band during basketball season as well as other group work in his absence. Sarah has elite music literacy and musicianship, and her creativity is only strengthened by her unfailing character. She is passionate, intelligent, funny, deliberate with her intent, and always willing to help others succeed. She is kind, inclusive, and ambitious but never boastful. Mr. Schjodt, her choir teacher, describes her as having the voice of an angel, the intellect of a scholar, the charisma of a leader, the humility of a saint, and a heart of pure gold. 

Arapahoe High School and Littleton Public Schools are so very proud of all these students. Thank you for making Arapahoe and LPS such a wonderful place. We look forward to seeing you continue to succeed for the rest of your senior year, and we wish you all the best as you seize your future outside of LPS!

February 23, 2023
At the meeting on February 23, 2023, the Board of Education honored and celebrated individual students from Centennial Academy as well as a whole group of students from a program at Newton Middle School during the Student Spotlight. 

Arsh Karemi is new to Littleton this year. He has demonstrated adaptability and resilience, as he has adjusted to school in the United States, acquiring English language and learning the ways of Centennial. He is a risk taker on the playground and will learn any new game his friends share. His communication and academic skills continue to grow, and he is a respectful, responsible member of Centennial Academy!

Bellina Hartley, a fifth grader, has been a student at Centennial Academy since kindergarten. She exemplifies the Portrait of an LPS Graduate in many ways: she is creative and curious! Bellina knows she can accomplish all things that are put in front of her. She is excited about learning and pushes herself to do her best every single day! Bellina enlists in many offerings at Centennial, including student council and Arty’s Athletes, which is a club focusing on movement (running, walking, rolling, etc.) that also participates together in The Stride. Bellina is a bright light and makes Centennial very proud.

Abigail Stilson is a well-adjusted, thriving, and balanced Centennial Academy of Fine Arts student. A recent accolade she earned at school was her nomination by her fellow classmates for their Wall of Fame, which includes a certificate, an announcement, and the student’s photo in a place of honor in Centennial’s hallways for an entire month. Abby’s reputation for collaboration with others, understanding perspectives different from her own, and her solid academic skills mark her as an introspective leader. In fact, Abby was cited in the lyrics of a Make-a-Wish Foundation song written exclusively for a classmate, which is a direct celebration of one of the many friendships that Abby maintains at school.

Arsh, Bellina, and Abby: thank you so much for being risk takers, good friends, and enthusiastic learners! People like you make LPS schools and our district such a wonderful place to be, and we are excited to watch you continue to be outstanding members of our community as you grow.

The Connections Program is an elective class that Newton Middle School students can apply for to work with their center-based peers. The Connections students serve as peer mentors both inside the center-based classroom and during general education classes like social studies and science. This has led to an amazing spirit of inclusion throughout the building, which has supported the success of all NMS students. Academically, it supports the center-based students by having known supportive peers in general education academics by allowing students to re-teach topics in a small group setting. It also supports the social/emotional health of all students. The Connections Program is one of Newton’s most sought-after electives!.

The district’s 100 percent goal, “100 percent of LPS students will graduate prepared for meaningful postsecondary opportunities,” is attainable because of students like the ones in the Connections Program. The students in the program also meet every single criteria represented in the Portrait of an LPS Graduate, especially risk taking, flexibility, and working outside of one’s comfort zone.

Newton Middle School is also in the inaugural season of Unified Basketball, which has been another extension of the interaction we see with Connections students. 

These are truly special students, and they are a model for the amazing things that we can do together:

Emmott Albu-Althouse
Cormac Berry

Paige Bradley
Hayden Burford
Brooklyn Cronin
Rylin DeBaca
Griffin Doyna
Darby Ellis
Grace Gil
Molly Eischen
Myles Gilbert
Chris Goble
Lindsey Gruidel
Cole Harrison
Karson Hilgert
Alice MacDonald
Laurence McNally
Liliana Mullen
Payton Napolilli
Tyler Napolilli
Ryan Newton
Orion Rini
Elsa Ruiz-Hensley
Harrison Senier
Olivia Sevier
Janie Sieker
Ryan Silverman
Nolan Slama
Jordan Wescott
Jackson Wescott
Benjamin Wyckhuyse
Lia Wyckhuyse