By Ralph K. Spencer, D'Evelyn Education Foundation Board of Directors
The $1,500 LeAnne Hollemans Roscow Award will be presented to a member of D’Evelyn’s 2018 graduating class at the annual Senior Banquet at the Sheraton Denver West Hotel on May 16. LeAnne died on April 15, 2004, while awaiting a second heart transplant. She was diagnosed as an infant with cardiomyopathy but survived her first 16 years with the help of medication and pacemakers. She was blessed with the receipt of a new heart at age 16 but, after 20 months of experiencing the strength of a healthy heart, complications and an ultimate rejection resulted in her untimely death.
What makes this award unique is the way the recipient is selected and what the award is NOT based upon. A nominating committee comprised of three D'Evelyn teachers submits a maximum of three seniors' names (a first choice, second choice, and third choice), complete with a paragraph describing each nominee, to the D'Evelyn Scholarship Selection Committee (a group of 5 adults who have no current connection to our school). This group is responsible for selecting not only the winner of the LeAnne award but the recipients of 22 diverse scholarships (none of which are teacher nominated) worth $19,500. This award is NOT based upon academic scores and does NOT require that the nominee be college bound, unlike any of the aforementioned 22 scholarships!
What made LeAnne an extraordinary student can be determined by the criteria established by the Hollemans Roscow family and approved by the DEF Scholarship Committee in January 2005. In order of importance, the following key qualities must be observed by nominating committee members in the nominee that each one is considering for this award: 1) Marches to the Beat of a Different Drummer - someone who has different views, interests, or values than his or her contemporaries and is willing to express those ideas despite the risk of being ostracized. While these ideas are not embraced by the majority, they merit respectful consideration. A person who frequently comes to the aid of the 'little guy;' 2) Creativity - someone who can be characterized by their originality and expressiveness; 3) Leadership - someone with the capacity or willingness to lead, a person who recognizes a need and steps in to organize a solution. The nominees should demonstrate this quality but not necessarily be one who has been selected, appointed, or succeeded to any office.
Who will be the 2018 recipient of this truly unique award given in memory of such an extraordinary student? Those of you fortunate enough to attend this year's Senior Banquet will see firsthand the beneficiary of the Hollemans Roscow family's generosity. I wouldn't miss it for anything, and I hope none of our seniors (and their families) don't either!
By Ralph K. Spencer, D'Evelyn Education Foundation Board of Directors
Every once in a while, I get the urge to conduct interviews with random D'Evelyn graduates so teachers, parents, administrators, and staff can find out where some of their former students are now and what they are doing with their lives AD - After D'Evelyn. I encourage parents to read this article if for no other reason than to reinforce your decision to send your children to our incredible school! If any of you know a D'Evelyn graduate whom you believe should grace the electronic pages of a future Jaguar Tracks newsletter, please provide the Jaguar Tracks editor with his/her name and contact information at firstname.lastname@example.org. At some point in the future, you may be pleasantly surprised!
This article features Brynna Wilson, a 2004 D'Evelyn graduate. Brynna is a financial advisor with New York Life in the Denver area.
JT: I know there were four children in the Wilson family. Did you all attend D'Evelyn?
BW: Yes, we did. I was the youngest Wilson and Jamin, Parker, and Molly paved the way for me at D'Evelyn.
JT: How did you cope with that experience considering that several of you were at D'Evelyn at the same time?
BW: It was really a pretty cool situation. It became quite fun since Molly or Jamin would drive us to school every day in a big old van. Editor's Note: For those of you wondering, I did ask Brynna what name they had given the "big old van" but she could not recall!
JT: How would you describe your D'Evelyn experience in one or two words?
BW: Academically difficult! However, it was also very enjoyable because there were so many amazing people in my graduating class.
JT: Can you recall a teacher who had an impact on your academic life at D'Evelyn or perhaps even beyond D'Evelyn?
BW: I cannot name one specific teacher. I can recall that most teachers had an excellent command of their respective subjects.
JT: Do you recall a D'Evelyn teacher whose class was a favorite of yours, primarily because of the teacher's personality/manner of teaching?
BW: That would be my physics teacher, Mr. McKellips. He made physics interesting. He was a super animated teacher and had many interesting ways of explaining how things worked. His classes always contained a bit of humor, which made learning the subject matter easier than it would have been otherwise.
JT: What is your fondest memory of D'Evelyn?
BW: I played quite a few sports. I will never forget the camaraderie that existed among my team members, especially in basketball and volleyball.
JT: Can you recall a classic story from your high school days that would generate some serious laughter at an upcoming D'Evelyn reunion?
BW: I distinctly recall a prank that resulted in Mr. Baker's car ending up in front of the doors at the main entrance to the school. Coach Baker had left his Chevrolet Camaro in the school parking lot while he and the track team were in Pueblo for a multi-day track meet. Surprisingly, the pranksters somehow moved his car without the benefit of car keys. Very funny!
JT: What, if anything, did you dislike about your D'Evelyn experience?
BW: That is a very easy question - the homework I constantly had!
JT: Do you keep in touch with any of your D'Evelyn friends?
BW: I keep in touch with several of them who will no doubt remain my friends forever.
JT: If you could be Principal for a Day at D'Evelyn in the next week or so, would you do anything out of the ordinary on that day given your experiences at the school?
BW: I would allow all students twice the amount of time between passing periods!
JT: What did you do following your D'Evelyn graduation?
BW: I attended Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, VA for 2 years. I spent the next 2 years at the College of Charleston in, you guessed it, Charleston, SC, graduating with a business degree. I moved to Vail, CO and was a member of Mountain Safety for 5 years. I could ski free for over 100 days a year while serving in this capacity. I moved to Denver from Vail and for 2 years was the General Manager of the White Fence Farm, a Lakewood restaurant that had been owned by my family for many years. I then became a bicycle technician at REI in Denver and am now enjoying my position as a financial advisor with New York Life.
JT: Many graduates say that college was easy given the curriculum and expectations they experienced at D'Evelyn. What is your opinion?
BW: I completely agree with that statement!
JT: Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
BW: Living in Denver, working for New York Life, and enjoying a cabin in the mountains.
JT: What are your hobbies and/or interests outside of work?
BW: I like to read. As you may have guessed, I am an avid skier. I also play ice hockey, sometimes with the men but mostly as a substitute in women's leagues at the Apex Center in Arvada.
JT: What would your fellow D'Evelyn graduates be surprised to learn about you?
BW: I was selected as "Most Athletic" in our Senior Yearbook and I continue in that vein.
JT: If you were asked to be the commencement speaker at a D'Evelyn graduation, what would be the title of your speech?
BW: The title of my speech would be, You Are What Your Mindset Is!
JT: What fun fact about you can you share with our readers?
BW: I have a total of 4 nieces and nephews and adore them all!
JT: Do you have any words of inspiration for today's D'Evelyn students, especially the seniors who will graduate this May?
BW: It is imperative that you always be yourself, keep dreaming, and do what YOU want to do with your life!
The D'Evelyn Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation. The Board of Directors oversees the finances, legal issues and long-term strategic plans of the organization