2024 Fifth Grade Continuation

Cheers and applause greeted Colorado Academy Fifth Graders as they took the stage in the Leach Center for the Performing Arts for their Continuation ceremony on May 28, 2024. It felt as if many audience members, among them families, teachers, staff members, and friends, were surprised, like they were seeing the Class of 2031 for the first time, or with fresh eyes—not as elementary school students, but as young thinkers, creators, and doers ready for the next adventure of their lives.

Head of School Dr. Mike Davis stated as much in his opening remarks: “Many of you started at CA at a very young age, and look at how you’ve matured.”

Dressed in their best outfits, the Fifth Graders beamed. They, too, seemed to be realizing for the first time how much they had accomplished in their short time at CA, and how much more they still had left to look forward to, whether they are moving on to the Middle School at CA next year or beginning Sixth Grade elsewhere.

“Middle School might seem a little daunting,” continued Dr. Davis, “but I have no doubt that you have the skills and courage to navigate this new chapter with confidence. These are years when you really begin to discover who you are, you have opportunities to try new things and to take on real world challenges, you build new relationships and depend on old ones, and you discover new passions. Remember, you never know what you will fall in love with in the next few years, but you are on a path to find out.”

Lower School Principal Angie Crabtree next took the opportunity to highlight several of this class’s best moments: serving as Mustang Mentors to CA’s Pre-K students, completing their Voices of Change capstone projects to help improve their school, traveling to the Crow Canyon Archeological Center in Cortez, Colo., and managing the end-of-year Lower School Carnival.

Quoting from the 2023-2024 Lower School song composed by Lower School music instructors Brenda Bartel and Nora Golden, Crabtree said, “Each day you make big and small choices with words and actions and heart—you are writing the story of you.”

She continued, “Throughout this year I’ve been taking notes about how the story of your Fifth Grade year would unfold, and as a group, you’ve created a story that embraces the theme of synergy.”

Synergy, Crabtree went on to explain, is the idea that two or more things working together can create something greater than each could alone. This concept is exemplified by the 2,368 hours the Class of 2031 recorded as Mustang Mentors, the months they spent working to address challenges on the CA campus through Voices of Change, the many moments they shared together at Crow Canyon, and the creativity, collaboration, and laughter they brought to the Carnival that celebrated their final days in the Lower School.

“You were together. You were supportive. You rallied for one another. You were a team; you were united. It was synergy at its very best,” said Crabtree. “Keep writing your story. The world awaits your brilliance, your passion, and your boundless potential to impact the world in amazing ways. To this class: I’m absolutely crazy about you!”

After Fifth Graders performed the song “Fly,” by Tracy Wong, it was time for their teachers to share words of recognition and appreciation as each student individually got their moment in the spotlight on stage. The special tributes acknowledged every recipient’s unique personality, gifts, and contributions, from classroom dance moves or math prowess, to skill on the soccer field or a way with words, to creativity in the art studio or care for all those around them.

At this moment, hearing homeroom teachers Matt Lauer, Jessica Ohly, and Sara Wachtel address them one by one, the Fifth Graders seemed to fully understand themselves in a new light. They were individuals whose personal impact in the community was seen and valued and had touched their teachers and peers.

As Dr. Davis reminded all, “These teachers are people whom you are going to remember for a long time. They have cared deeply about you and your growth, and as you move forward in life, you’ll periodically look back and see these Lower School teachers still cheering you on. Just as you will never forget them, they will always remember you.”

The Fifth Grade closed out their Continuation by singing “Carried Me with You,” by Brandi Carlile. “You’re the soul who understands / The scars that made me who I am / Through the drifting sands of time / I got your back and you got mine. … You were always guiding me / Yeah, it’s true / You carried me with you.”

Afterward, in the courtyard outside the Leach Center, students hugged family members and posed for group photos with classmates, as their proud teachers looked on. They stole a few hugs of their own when the moment allowed, knowing their Fifth Graders were ready for their next step, yet hoping these faces so familiar from their homerooms, recesses, field trips, and lunches wouldn’t disappear quite yet.