2023-2024 Blasts Off on First Day of School

Aliens, trumpeting vuvuzelas, shiny foil hats, and bouncing antennae made the first day of the 2023-2024 school year at Colorado Academy an out-of-this-world experience for students and families. The Class of 2024 welcomed Ninth Graders with a space-themed celebration at the entrance to the Upper School, while faculty and staff dispensed high-fives, hugs, and handshakes to eager Lower and Middle Schoolers arriving by car and school bus from 78 ZIP Codes across the Denver Metro Area.

Later, parents and guardians attended the Parent Association’s Get Involved Fair to learn about volunteer opportunities, and Head of School Dr. Mike Davis officially kicked off the year during the All-School Assembly on the sunny west lawn of the historic Welborn House. He told the 1,039 students, along with their teachers, family members, and others, “As I walked around the school this morning, I felt so much positive energy, and I hope we can bottle that up and keep that going. Together, we can determine the quality of our experience at CA this year.” View Assembly photos.

A longstanding CA tradition, the raucous Senior Welcome, complete with music and balloons, saw the members of the Class of 2024 wearing matching space-inspired T-shirts and cheering for each new Upper Schooler as they made their way through the crowd and grabbed their own commemorative T-shirt reading, “We come in peace.” It was an appropriate sentiment for this Ninth Grade class of 115, who will be mentored throughout their year by a carefully selected group of more than 30 Senior members of the Community Leadership Team. View Upper School first day photos.

In the Middle School, a new Principal, Nick Malick, held the door for students looking forward to a year of incredible growth and transformation. Eighth Grade leaders had come to campus a day early to chalk encouraging welcome messages on the sidewalks around the building, as well as to greet new Sixth Grade students. Now, they showed the first-time Middle Schoolers where to find their lockers and classrooms, and introduced them to the idea of advisory, a big part of the first day of school as students spent time bonding with the classmates they’d get to know throughout the year. View Middle School first day photos.

First-day fun in the Lower School began a day early, as well, with students and their families invited to a “meet and greet” to peek into their classrooms and say hello to their teachers. Students in Kindergarten through Fifth Grade were thrilled to find their names on their new lockers and get ready for an exciting year in the Lower School.

When the first day officially arrived, the children learned about all the important Lower School classroom and lunchtime routines, practiced walking through the hallways and across the campus, and enjoyed personalizing their materials for art, math, reading, and more. View Lower School first day photos.

CA’s youngest students explored Pre-K’s Cottage and Casita classrooms, and their eyes widened as they toured the 94-acre campus on their way to the outdoor All-School Assembly. 

There, they heard Dr. Davis speak about CA’s campus and history, including its founding in 1906 and its location on what once was a farm in the middle of a vast agricultural area outside of Denver. “Today, you all are carrying on a powerful legacy,” he told the attentive audience. “A really important part of CA is our community. We all contribute to our culture—the students, of course, and also the faculty and staff, who are so committed to your growth.”

Davis then turned to some Lower School students to hear what they were looking forward to during this school year. “Making new friends,” said one as Davis held the microphone and listeners cheered. “New work,” enthused another. “To have fun!” exclaimed a third.

“You can’t argue with that,” summed up Davis. “CA is all about our mission: creating curious, kind, courageous, and adventurous learners and leaders. We want to instill in each one of you the ability to search for deeper understanding. We want you to look out for one other. We want you to become upstanders—when you see something that’s not right, stand up and be brave.”

Colorado Academy welcomed students back to campus on Monday, August 21, 2023 for a back-to-school picnic. (Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon for Colorado Academy)

Davis also spoke about adventure as core to the school’s mission. Adventure, he said, means, “Sometimes it’s a wild ride: at times things can be bumpy, and at other times they can be great. You can work through it.” Many of the listeners appreciated this honest assessment, which certainly applies to the first day of any school year. Yet, Davis reminded, “You all have the ability within you to lead—our graduates go on to make a difference in so many ways in politics, business, the military, science, the arts, and education. You all are here to help make the world a better place.”

Davis reads Senior names.

Davis then read out the names of each of the 109 members of the Class of 2024, who will return to the Welborn lawn again in the spring for their Commencement ceremony. “You set a high bar through your years in the Upper School, and we are proud to have you as the leaders of our school. Enjoy a wonderful first day. Go Mustangs!”