Angie Crabtree: 2024 Grade 5 Continuation

Welcome students, parents, family, friends, faculty, and staff to the Colorado Academy Fifth Grade Continuation ceremony. We are thrilled to honor and celebrate our Fifth Graders, the Class of 2031, today. A special thank you to Brenda Bartel, Nora Golden, Nevare Desnoyers, James Meehan, Katy Hills, and the Operations crew for helping us to prepare for today’s ceremony.

I would like to take a moment to recognize and celebrate the members of our Lower School faculty and staff. In my home, I have an ABC poem about how a person should live their life.

The Alphabet for Life

Always be able, be adventurous and apt
Be your best, be big and boldly rapt
Calmly listen, be courageous and caring
Dream big dreams, and learn to be daring
Eagerly await each elusive gift
Forgive all others the tiny rift
Give of yourself, be grateful and grand
Hurry to lend a hearty and helping hand
Inquire of others, and invent when you must
Join in the joy, be jolly and just
Keep trying, be keen and always be kind
Love with your heart, it’ll be easy to find
Make the most of each moment, try to be merry
Never say never when life gets a bit scary
Open your mind to all that’s around you
Practice makes perfect, let passion surround you
Quickly grasp the knowledge you need
Respect your elders, their wisdom heed
Support your friends, be safe, be sage
Trust in love no matter your age
Use your talents, be unique, understand
Visit your grandparents, remember they’re grand
Wish on a star, be wise, be wary
Xpect the unexpected, don’t try to tarry
Yell if you must, be young at heart
Zany and zippy with zest from the start

When I see this poem, I immediately think of my “adult” friends that I am honored to work, learn, and play with each day at the Lower School. The final line says it all —you are zany and zippy with zest from the start. From A to Z, you make the Lower School what it is.

This is the 2023-2024 Lower School song written by Brenda Bartel and Nora Golden. It was inspired by the book, The Story of You by Lisa Ann Scott.

Each day you make big and small choices,
With words and actions and heart,
You were born to create,
Show the world who you are.
You are writing the story of you.
When you show what you know,
When you follow your heart,
When you do your own thing,
When you’re ready to start.
You’re the star in the story of you.

Throughout this year, I have been taking notes about how the story of YOUR Fifth Grade year would unfold. You have changed so much since the first day of school on August 22. As I look back over the past 280 days with you this year, there have been twists and turns and incredible moments of success. You have matured in so many ways and as a collective group, you have created a story that embraces a theme of SYNERGY.

Synergy means cooperative interactions, a combined effort, and an abundance of give and take. Synergy is the idea that two or more things working together can create something greater than each could do alone. Synergy takes commitment, honesty, and a “together everyone achieves more” kind of attitude. 

Your synergy story began as you took on the role of Mustang Mentors with the Pre-K students in their specialist classes the first week of school.

It has been exciting to see you perform various jobs as Mustang Mentors within the Lower School. This dedicated group of Fifth Grade leaders recorded 2,368 mentor hours from August to May. 

Mentors, your Pre-K mentees felt so supported by your weekly attendance in their specialist classes and recently, they shared a few reflections with me:

  • “My mentor shows me the way.”
  • “I have a buddy that loves me and takes care of me.”
  • “I smiled every day thinking of when I get to see my Fifth Grader again.”
  • “They took care of me when I hurt myself.”
  • “I feel safe when they are in class with me.”

You led by example each time you reported to your weekly mentor role. The Pre-K students have grown in amazing ways due to your commitment and connection with them. You lifted them up and made our Lower School community stronger. Thank you for being mentors and leaders and showing our youngest students how to learn and play at CA.

In the winter, you received your Voices of Change project, which presented you with an issue or a problem on the CA campus. You were challenged to become thinkers and innovators as you tackled problems that did not include a quick solution or one right answer. During your Voices of Change project, you accepted the challenge of thinking creatively about how to make CA a better place. Your six broad topics included:

  • Creating a solution for lost and found and developing buddy games to support collaboration in athletics.
  • Developing a garden space in CA’s Early Childhood Education Center.
  • Supporting health and wellness to develop a plan to transport emergency medications, mainstream a process to meet student health needs quickly and efficiently, and redesign the gaga pit area to mitigate frequent injuries.
  • Designing a collaborative space for the CA Safety and Security Team and developing a pilot program for Fifth Graders to have student ID badges.
  • Establishing procedures for weather emergencies on campus, developing calming kits for students, and emergency kits within the Lower School.
  • Generating ideas to promote bus driver retention, eliminate food waste and compost contamination, and reduce non-compostable materials.

For five months, you were curious and spent time asking questions and investigating problems, seeking knowledge to empathize with everyone involved, and tenaciously developed pathways to develop solutions. You tackled complex issues that required extensive research, endless tenacity, and a commitment to stick with the project no matter what came your way. You created a swirl of synergy on the CA campus, and your efforts directly impacted the CA community. You have truly left us better due to your amazing efforts and hard work.

In the spring, we saw you embrace adventure as you traveled to Crow Canyon Archeological Center together. The chaperones continue to reflect on this amazing trip and how we witnessed the harmony among cabin groups, education groups, and bus groups. Whether we saw you playing and singing “Down by the Bank” as a massive group, cleaning up the dining hall in record speed, celebrating a classmate’s birthday, rallying together during a competitive game of volleyball, cheering for one another as each person climbed a 52-foot ladder at the Balcony House in Mesa Verde National Park, creating a flash mob dance on a cabin patio, or singing joyously on a bus…you were together, you were supportive, you rallied for one another, you were a team, you were united. It was synergy at its best.

And two weeks ago, we witnessed the amazing Lower School Carnival that you planned, organized, and executed on a wonderful day in May. You were magical in how you managed every aspect of your stations. Your commitment to this project was inspiring. Every student who attended the Lower School Carnival was so happy. That was due to your creativity, patience, and kind hearts. As we wrapped up the Carnival, a First Grader shared with me, “I love this day so much and can’t wait to grow up and be a Fifth Grader and learn how to face paint”. The Lower School Carnival was an explosion of synergy—the ultimate form of teamwork: communication, problem-solving, collaboration, leadership, and lots of laughter.

And one of my favorite memories was of you just last Friday at your final Lower School Town Meeting. You sang, you danced, you laughed, you cheered, and you shined as the leaders of our Lower School.

It’s been exciting as the faculty, staff, and I all watched YOUR unique story unfold this year. Thank you for sharing your leadership, creativity, joy, humor, and individual talents with all of us. Thank you for showing the world who you are!

After today, your story continues as you move on to your next chapter as a Sixth Grader. Keep writing your story. The world awaits your brilliance, your passion, and your boundless potential to impact the world in amazing ways.  

The Lower School faculty, staff, and I are extremely proud of you and your wonderful impact and influence in the Lower School community. 

Please remember that you always have a special place in our hearts, and you are always a part of our Lower School family. 

You are an amazing group of students who filled our days with smiles, laughter, learning, and connection. Fifth Graders, we wish you the very best and look forward to hearing about your future accomplishments for many years.

To the Class of 2031, I am absolutely crazy about you—thank you for each wonderful and joyful day this school year. Please join me in celebrating this extraordinary group of learners and leaders.