Superintendent Chris Smith on the Summer Leadership Academy
Hello, everyone. I hope you all have been enjoying the history and stories from the Foundation’s 30th anniversary these past few months.
I’d like to tell you a little bit about one of my favorite programs that the Foundation has funded, and that’s the Summer Leadership Academy. This program was made possible through the collaboration of not just Cherry Creek Schools and the Foundation, but the dedication of community leaders who also believe in these students’ ability to create positive change in our world.
This program was established to support CCSD students affected by violence and crime in our community, helping them re-engage with education and their community while preventing youth violence through a grassroots approach. This program not only changes lives, but saves them.
These students are incredible. They inspire me with their courage, their leadership, and their commitment. Over the past two years, these students have pushed themselves to do better – not just for themselves, but because they believe in the community that surrounds them: our community. Our students need and deserve to feel that they belong, and that the adults around them believe in their ability to succeed and care about them.
When I met with Kanye Herron, an Endeavor Academy graduate who advocated for this program, he told me that his hopes and dreams were that students felt loved. I had the chance to speak to the students in the Summer Leadership Academy at their transition ceremony, when we celebrated their transition into leaders of the next group of students. I heard from those students how impactful this program was to them, how much they had grown as a result of being part of that community. In the words of one of the students: “This program helped me by showing me what true caring and community means. My classmates are there to push me up, and we have each other’s back.”
That is the promise of Cherry Creek Schools, one supported by our Foundation and community. When we show students that they are loved, safe, and supported – there is no limit to what they can accomplish for themselves, for their community, and for our world.
-Christopher A. Smith, Superintendent of Cherry Creek Schools
Learn more about the Summer Leadership Academy.