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Student heroes honored at My Student, My Hero ceremony

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By Daniel Laverty

The stories told at the 2013 My Student, My Hero ceremony inspired and touched the more than 100 people who came to celebrate with the student honorees on March 16.

“It warms your heart when you read about these kids,” said Greg Sims, general manager of Southwest Plaza. “It makes you proud of your community.”

My Student, My Hero recognizes exceptional students who have excelled in academics and community service. Many of these students also faced difficult circumstances outside the classroom, making their achievements even more noteworthy.

Southwest Plaza played host for the ceremony and joined the Jefferson Foundation and the Columbine Courier to sponsor the event. On alternate years, outstanding Jeffco teachers are honored.

“How amazing are these kids?” said Katie Tiernan, executive director of the Jefferson Foundation. “These stories are so inspiring. (My Student, My Hero) shines a light on the extraordinary stories of these students.”

After a year-long battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that affects the lymph nodes, D’Evelyn High School senior Laura Tschudy kept up with her Advanced Placement courses and returned to playing soccer.

“Laura has gone through something difficult,” said Terry Elliot, D’Evelyn’s principal. “But she hasn’t just gotten through it; she has excelled through it.”

Tschudy’s story was just one of the inspiring tales shared at the ceremony. She was honored alongside seven other Jeffco seniors — Dominic Martinez (Pomona High School), Anterra Kennedy (Lakewood High School), Jesus De La Cruz (Brady High School), Dylan Dugan (Conifer High School), Quinn Silco (Columbine High School), Arriane Parrilla (Bear Creek High School) and Kyle Bedford (Warren Tech North).
Parrilla and Bedford were unable to attend due to work and school commitments. Parrilla is self-supporting and couldn’t pass up a work shift.

Each student received a gift bag that included a $50 gift certificate to Beau Jo’s pizza.

Martinez, who lost his mother to breast cancer when he was a freshman, was awarded the $1,000 Positive Choice Scholarship from a private donor.

“I’m sure that we will hear more about these young adults in the years to come,” said Cindy Stevenson, superintendent of Jeffco schools and host for the event.

As the final semester for these students comes to a close, the legacy they have left will last a lifetime.

“I’m appreciative of the incredible people involved with Jeffco schools,” Tiernan said. “This event also shows how the schools’ communities have helped these students. It’s a yearly reminder of why I love my job.”

Contact Daniel Laverty at Daniel@evergreenco.com or at 303-350-1043.