April 29, 2020
Dear Seniors and Families,

Thank you to those who attended our graduation brainstorming meeting last week. As you may have heard, Durango and Big Picture High Schools have now announced that they plan to postpone their ceremonies. We continue to await guidance from San Juan Basin Public Health to help unpack what we can safely do to celebrate the AHS Class of 2020 under the new Safer at Home guidelines and promise to keep you updated. I know that it feels frustrating to not have a definitive plan in place--believe me, I’m a planner and I’m really struggling with this!--but we just aren’t able to make a call without some more input from public health officials.

Graduation Speeches and Music
Seniors--please take a couple of minutes to share your ideas for which teachers you’d like to have speak and what music you want at your ceremony by completing this short survey .

Interested in giving a speech at your graduation? Let me know on the survey and submit a draft to me by Friday, May 8. 

I know some folks suggested having Lauren Lucky or Shane Nelson speak at graduation and while we know both of those teachers were absolutely instrumental to your growth and learning, Sean and I are going to respectfully ask the class of 2020 to choose from folks who are currently on staff as a way of acknowledging the folks who have been working so hard to support you through your senior year. We hope you’ll understand. 

Class of 2020 Individual Photo Shoot at Gaslight Theater with Illluminarts
For his Senior Action Project, Parker is working with Illuminarts to organize a photo shoot for graduating seniors from all area schools at the Gaslight Theater in downtown Durango the weekend of May 8-10 . Parker has been working with public health officials to ensure that all social distancing guidelines are followed in setting up this opportunity for you to get a professional photo taken in cap and gown, free of charge. I’ll share more details soon about how it will all work and how to reserve your time slot.

Picking up Your Cap, Gown, Stole and Tassels
My house has now officially become AHS Cap & Gown Central! All graduation orders from Jostens are now being delivered directly to my home and I went to campus to pick up all AHS caps and gowns that are available for us to lend out. I will distribute caps and gowns to you all from my front porch starting next Thursday so that anyone who wants to participate in the Illuminarts photo shoot can wear their snazzy green robe!

THOSE WHO ORDERED FROM JOSTENS : I am still awaiting delivery on a few orders (Emily, Susan, Sydney, Caleb, Austin, Annabelle, Diego and Jade) and I hope that those orders might arrive before next Wednesday. We generally don’t need our orders until right before graduation and Jostens, as you might imagine, is doing their best to keep up given the impact of Coronavirus. I have not yet received the yellow stoles for those who ordered cap, gown and tassels, as these are shipped separately. If I don’t receive the yellow stoles in time for next weekend’s photo shoot, you’ll still be able to pick up cap, gown and tassel and we’ll get the stole to you at a later date.

I currently have orders from Jostens at my house for Toby, Greta C, Sage, Simon, Rainey, Saige, Taylor, Wyllow, Sierra, Willla, Sean, Grady, Noelle, Delaney, Desirae, Jalynn, Robbie, Greg, Cat, Raimy, Ali, Jem, Jackson, Payton and Sara.

THOSE BORROWING FROM AHS : I will assemble packages of cap, gown and stole for those who are borrowing these items from AHS and they will be available for pick up on my front porch next Thursday and Friday. I now have tassels to sell for $15 each; please bring $15 in cash or check made out to “Jostens” to purchase yours.

THOSE BORROWING FROM A SIBLING OR FRIEND : If you are borrowing your graduation outfit from a friend or sibling you will also need to purchase a 2020 tassel to complete the look--see instructions above.

If your name is highlighted in yellow on the 2020 Graduates tracking spreadsheet , it means I haven’t heard from you and Jostens hasn’t received an order from you, so I am assuming that you are borrowing cap, gown and stole from a sibling or friend, not from AHS (Gabby, Jordan, Kammy, Aldo, Nate, Zoe, Alex, Zac, Wes, David, Marisol, Parker). Please let me know ASAP if that’s not the case!

Let me know when you’ll come by for your cap and gown (next Thursday or Friday) by completing this Graduation Gear Pick Up survey. Staggering pick up times will help minimize risk for everyone, and I’ll follow up next week with additional details about how we’ll set this up to disease spread.

Congratulations AHS Class of 2020 Yard Signs
Want to show your whole dang neighborhood how proud you are of your graduate? Willa’s mom, Paula Kopp, has designed colorful yard signs that say “Congratulations AHS Class of 2020!” through her business Advertising Innovations (see image at the top of this email) and we’re making them available to you all for $15 apiece. We hope to have them by Wednesday of next week, which would allow me to distribute these from my front porch next Thursday and Friday alongside the caps and gowns.

To reserve your sign, indicate that you want one on the Graduation Gear Pick Up survey and let me know which day you'll come pick it up, next Thursday or Friday.

Adopt a Four Corners High School Senior Facebook Group
From Parker’s mom, Phelia Smith: 

The Adopt a Four Corners High School Senior Facebook group is blowing up and you don't want to miss out! There are so many ways to get involved, but I would like to share my story as to why you should.  
I am a mom of a 2020 Senior, I have adopted a 2020 Senior and my son has been adopted as a 2020 Senior. There has been nothing but positive feedback being in all of these roles. When Parker received his first package, he sat a my granddaughter's little table and played with Play Doh. The note that came with the Play Doh said, “You are never too old to play!” His second package was filled with cleaning supplies, snacks and a sticky hand. The note read, “So...you can clean your bathroom, have a snack and play like you were seven years old.” As the mom, It brought pure joy to see him be encouraged to continue with the things we have to do in or out of quarantine and yet remember to have a good time because we are never too old.
When I adopted a Senior, I chose someone who I knew when she was a little girl, but we have not seen each other in sometime. I had so much fun shopping and packaging some small and large gifts for her to open between now and the end of May. I worked it out with her family and was able to take all the gifts to them at once and they will give her two a week (They live in Bloomfield and I live in Durango). I will be sending her encouraging words through the mail, texting and Facebook. On the first day. I sent her a message talking about when she was a little girl and how sweet and kind she was and how proud I was of the young woman that she has grown up to be. Her mom called me and said, “Sadie just came and read your message to me and she couldn’t stop crying.” It was impactful and simple.  
What I would say from watching my son receive encouragement and gifts is he is loving it. I caught him looking through the box of goodies that were sent to our home with dates on them for him to open (his adopter lives between Farmington and Bloomfield so they sent a bunch at once as well) because he thought it was the day. He looks forward to being able to open something and to see what the notes say. It puts a smile on his face.
Click here to get involved as an Adoptee, an Adopter, or a parent who would like to put their 2020 Senior on the page to be Adopted!

Phew--that was a lot of information! Let me know what I left out or what questions I can answer!


Libby Cowles :: Assistant Head of School :: Animas High School
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers ::  Tel: (970) 247-2474 | x2334