By Karrie Meyers — Highlands Ranch, Colorado … As each school year ends, teachers and staff take time to reflect on the memories and events that made it special. It is easy to say that 2019-2020 will go down in the history books as one of the most memorable.
“When students arrived on campus for the first day of school, who could have imagined completing the fourth quarter remotely,” said Jamie Frain, Mile High Academy’s VP of school culture. “The Covid-19 pandemic showed how quickly life can change. We miss our students and their families. And our hearts ache for the graduating classes who can’t celebrate with the school family, community, and their relatives and friends.”
But in the midst of the changes, good memories prevail. Although empty now, weeks ago MHA classrooms were filled with laughter, learning and prayers for God to be a constant on campus. The cafeteria was filled with voices as hungry students rushed to eat so they could go outside for recess. And the gym was filled with cheers as the Boys’ Varsity team made MHA history by not only defending its District 8 Championship title but also continuing to State and a Final Four appearance in our division.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our teachers and staff,” said Frain. “Their dedication for learning, not only while on campus, but also during remote learning, is a testimony to what an exceptional team we have at Mile High Academy. Our students and their families should receive formal recognition for partnering with us to ensure the learning continued,” she finished.
And then there were the events and fundraisers. The first annual MHA Walk-A-Thon raised more than $25,000 for financial aid. Fall Festival once again brought our community together for a fun-filled evening while supporting the individual classrooms. The Lower School students read more than 55,000 hours during its Read-A-Thon, and Christmas programs highlighted the musical talent of MHA students.
This year also brought unimaginable sadness in the tragic loss of Senior Mya Pena. It’s not easy to say goodbye to a beloved student, classmate and friend.
“The loss of Mya Pena left a notable absence in our school community,” Frain said. “Her constant smile and outgoing personality is deeply missed by all of us. To suddenly lose someone is never easy, especially someone just beginning her life’s journey. However, the strength of getting through this loss formed a bond between our students, staff and community in a way that will continue to honor Mya. While Mya won’t be with us at graduation, her memory plays an important part in this milestone. The Senior class will wear blue cords in her honor, a reflection of her life will be shared by three of her classmates, the Senior Class gift is dedicated in her memory and an Honorary Diploma will be presented to her family during Commencement.”
Continuing with the traditions of Mile High Academy, four special graduation events will take place. The Blessing will take place at 7 pm, Thursday, May 21; Consecration follows at 7 pm, Friday, May 22; Baccalaureate will be at 11 am, Saturday, May 23; and Commencement will be live at 1:30 pm, Sunday, May 24. Since the campus is closed to all visitors, the events will be streamed on MHA’s website, https://www.milehighacademy.org/events/graduation-2020/.
As the 2019/2020 year reaches completion, planning is already taking place for next school year. “2020-2021 is ramping up to be an exciting year for our school,” Frain commented. “We’re looking forward to welcoming several new faces to our team, including Michael Armstrong, VP of academics, and Brady Tull, athletic director. We’re excited to welcome our alumni back to campus this fall, and we can’t wait to have our families join us for events throughout the year.”
“While we face many uncertainties about the start of the school year, we hope, pray and plan to be together soon. One factor remains constant, God is present on our campus. Please consider including us in your prayers as we continue the mission to provide a Christ-centered education at Mile High Academy,” she added.
Mile High Academy will continue to post videos, communication and memories via social media. If you haven’t already, visit the MHA Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/MileHighAcademy), the MHA Alumni page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/51633721439), and sign-up for the school newsletter (https://milehigh.link/newsletter).
—Karrie Meyers is MHA development and records assistant; photos supplied