The Daily Camera
By James Baetke, Camera Staff Writer
BROOMFIELD — For 17 graduates of Boulder Preparatory High School — their pasts checkered with school expulsions, substance abuse and trouble with the law — Friday was a day nearly none of them thought would come.
“When I came to Boulder Prep, I didn’t like it,” said graduate Leo Linares-Lopez. “In the end, I made it.”
Andre Adeli, Boulder Prep’s director of studies, likened graduates to the school’s mascot: the boxer.
“You fought for the good in all of us and the best for yourselves,” Adeli said. “Boxers fight!”
Because this year’s graduating class was unusually small, each graduate gave a speech to a standing-room-only crowd at The Chateaux at Fox Meadows, citing teachers, family and each other for giving them the strength to graduate.
Like many of his fellow graduates, Linares-Lopez was honored with a scholarship — a $2,000 accolade raised directly by instructors.
Boulder Prep is a small charter school that operates in Gunbarrel and is designed to help at-risk teens finish high school. Some students are drop-outs looking for an alternative to the traditional high school experience.
Headmaster Bruce Blodgett welcomed graduates with a speech centered around “authentic happiness,” insisting that taking short cuts is only “self-deprecating.”
“Taking shortcuts is … like letting someone else chew your food for you,” Blodgett said. “This day itself is only the tip of the iceberg.”
Kirsten Miller, a graduate devoted to the cause of aiding Darfur, said the teachers at Boulder Prep are one of a kind, more than just people doing their jobs.
“Boulder Prep is like a family,” she said. “I’m a stronger person now because of it.”
The school was started by Boulder County Magistrate T.J. Cole in 1997 for students involved in the judicial system. In 2002, Boulder Prep moved from space split by a cramped 2,500-square-foot building in Boulder and a single room in the Boulder County Detention Center to a 6,000-square-foot space in its current location.
“Attending Boulder Prep was like having a second chance at life,” graduate Ashley Mancha said.
Contact Camera Staff Writer James Baetke at 303-473-1498