by Amy Bounds, Camera Staff Writer
Brianna Garvin is on a mission.
The Boulder Preparatory High School senior is helping raise money for children who were forced into military service in Africa. To raise awareness, she joined in organizing a showing of a documentary that follows child soldiers — and those trying to avoid a similar fate — in Uganda. “It’s an issue that really has gone unnoticed,” Brianna said. “These children are scarred for life.”
Brianna was one of the Boulder Prep students celebrating the end of six weeks of summer classes on Wednesday with a barbecue lunch and the documentary showing.
Boulder Prep is a small charter school that was designed for at-risk students.
Some are required to attend as part of probation, some have dropped out of regular high schools and others are looking for an alternative to the traditional high school experience. All must complete community service and secure college admission before they can graduate.
Summer classes are recommended, but some students are excused for work or vacation.
Headmaster Bruce Blodgett said continuing classes through the summer just makes sense. He compared the summer brain to a muscle that goes unused for three months.
“You’re going to be hurting when you start up again,” he said. “It’s awfully hard to pick up where you left off.”
He said about 60 students attended this summer’s session, while the school in an office park near Boulder is shooting for twice that number for the fall.
Boulder Prep senior Erik Bell, who lives in Westminster, said he continued studying in the summer because he wants to graduate early in January. He wants to attend Duke University, where he plans to double major in biology and Italian before going for a master’s degree in patent law.
Both Erik and junior Zoe Mavis are helping with the child soldiers project. Zoe said the summer classes are a good way to either get ahead or catch up. Several students each year pursue an accelerated track to graduate early.
“At Boulder Prep, I can really just focus on learning,” Zoe said. “There’s more one-on-one with teachers and there’s no busy work.”
Judges, various community members and alumni joined the students and teachers crowding in the long lines for hamburgers, steaks and side dishes at the barbecue.
Sandy Chervenak graduated from Boulder Prep in 2005, but still visits a few times a year.
“You’re part of the community even after you leave,” she said.
Chervenak, who’s planning to attend the University of Colorado in the fall, said she dropped out of Boulder High School because it was too easy to ditch. But at Boulder Prep, she said, “you don’t want to disappoint the teachers.”
“It’s a great school, but don’t tell anyone,” she said. “We don’t want it to get too crowded.”