First Caprock graduation a charter school milestone

Caprock Academy’s first gaduating class, from left, are Devlin Sherrill, Victoria Schwiertert, Ari Penn, Angel Ortiz Gomez and Erin Morgan. The school opened in 2007 with kindergarden through seventh grades and added a grade level every year, finally expanding into a K-12 school last fall.

More than 700 kindergarten through 11th-grade students gathered Friday morning on a practice field outside their school, Caprock Academy, and watched the school’s first class of seniors graduate.

Caprock opened five years ago with 288 kindergarten through seventh-grade students. The school added a grade level each year, finally expanding to a full K-12 institution this year.

All 13 grades spent the blustery morning of the last day of classes for 2012-13 at the charter school’s first graduation ceremony. Students, teachers and parents offered a standing ovation for the five graduates, four of whom have been with the school from the start.

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to watch them grow in so many ways,” Caprock Headmaster Kristin Trezise said.

Each graduate watched the school hit a series of milestones — starting the first high school classes in 2009, moving from a series of modulars at 640 24 1/2 Road to a new facility up the road at 714 24 1/2 Road in 2011, and taking the first senior trip to Italy in 2012.

This fall, they will face more firsts on their own as they start college. Angel Gomez, Ari Penn and Devlin Sherrill are headed to Colorado Mesa University to study science, engineering and education, respectively. Valedictorian Tori Schwietert will study classics at the University of Colorado in Boulder and Salutatorian Erin Morgan is off to Kansas to study mass communications at Newman University in Wichita.

Schwietert said the senior class is prepared for the next step. Caprock’s high school curriculum includes several books many students don’t read until their first or second years of college, she said, and the 25- to 35-page thesis paper each senior had to write prepared them for long college essays.

“We’ve risen to the challenges we’ve had placed before us,” Schwietert said in her valedictory speech. “Through everything, we have become a family.”


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