Three Denver-area high schools receive voter registration award

Three Colorado high schools — KIPP Denver Collegiate, DSST Stapleton and Eaglecrest — were all awarded the Eliza Pickrell Routt award last week. The Eliza Pickrell Routt award is given to high schools where more than 85 percent of eligible seniors register to vote.

Colorado State Elections Director Judd Choate presented the awards to the three schools, which are in the Denver area.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office partners with Inspire Colorado, a nonprofit organization that helps young people register to vote.

KIPP Denver Collegiate High School

Hannah Sieben with Inspire Colorado, Art Curtis, 12th grade social studies teacher at KIPP, and Judd Choate, Colorado state elections director. (SOS photo)

Twelve-grade social studies teacher Art Curtis encouraged his students to register to vote and to participate in the voting process. He successfully registered 86 percent of eligible seniors to vote.

KIPP stands for “knowledge is power program.” KIPP Colorado Schools is a network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public charter schools dedicated to preparing students in underserved communities for success in both college and life, according to its website.

DSST: Stapleton High School

Judd Choate, DSST Stapleton senior Zak Flitter-Bilello, and Meghan Baucum with Inspire. (SOS photo)

Denver School of Science and Technology: Stapleton High School registered 87 percent of eligible seniors due to the hard work of two seniors, Zak Flitter-Bilello and Zach Biffinger.

Zak and Zach worked with Inspire to become “Inspired leaders” at their school.

Eaglecrest High School

Judd Choate with Eaglecrest senior Emma Lovato. (SOS photo)

Eaglecrest High School received their second Eliza Pickrell Routt award last Friday.

Senior Emma Lovato has registered almost 500 students throughout her high school career. By giving classroom presentations, she got 86 of her fellow seniors to register.

She is going to American University next year to study American Government.

“You’re going to be my boss someday,” Choate told her.

Strasburg High School seniors honored with voter registration award

Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert looks on as Meghan Baucum from Inspire Colorado speaks to Strasburg high school students.

Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert headed to the Eastern Plans this week to present the Eliza Pickrell Routt award to Strasburg High School seniors.

The award is presented to high schools that have registered 85 percent or more of eligible students. The Secretary of State’s office partners with Inspire Colorado to encourage young people to vote.

Deputy Secretary Staiert recognized two seniors, Alison Nuttall and Justine Landrum, for leading the effort to get their peers registered. They took on the challenge as part of a senior project that included a presentation to the senior class about the importance of voting and how to register to vote.

Strasburg, pop. 2,447, east of Denver.

“For all of you that are going away to college or going away somewhere else, keep in mind you can use your phone to change your address come November to ensure that you get a ballot,” Staiert said. “Keep that civic engagement that you have here going.”

Inspire Colorado’s website says “Regardless of political affiliation or points of view, our goal is to encourage all eligible citizens to vote.”

A list of Eliza Pickrell Routt award winners can be found on the Secretary of State’ website.

Principal Jeff Rasp says that he hopes to continue the registration efforts in the future by getting at least 90 percent of seniors to register each year. This is the first time Strasburg High School has received the Eliza Pickrell Routt award.

Josh Rasp with the Eliza Pickrell Routt award that was awarded to Eaglecrest High School in 2016. (Cherry Creek school district photo)

“We fully expect all of our registered students to vote on a consistent basis and be involved as responsible citizens,” he said.

Rasp’s son, Josh Rasp,  received the same award in 2016 when he was a senior at Eaglecrest High School. Josh was the recipient of a scholarship from Inspire Colorado because of his outstanding work in registering his peers.

“We strongly encourage our students to become involved in their community and that they truly do have a voice,” Principal Rasp said. “We want our students to be responsible citizens and registering to vote and then voting is a crucial part of having a positive impact on our society.”

Praise for Yuma High School and its voter-registration efforts

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner with Navil Babonoyaba and Andrea Hermosillo, two Yuma High School graduates who got 96 percent of their class to register to vote during the last school year. Yuma High was honored during an awards ceremony Friday. (SOS photo/Judd Choate)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner with Navil Babonoyaba and Andrea Hermosillo, two Yuma High School graduates who got 96 percent of their class to register to vote during the last school year. Yuma High was honored during an awards ceremony Friday. (SOS photo/Judd Choate)

Two of Colorado’s top leaders shared their high school experiences when honoring Yuma High School on Friday for its effort in registering its seniors to vote.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams and U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner — a 1993 Yuma High grad — addressed students at an afternoon assembly at Yuma High School.

“It’s easy to participate but a lot of folks don’t do that. Instead they complain. They whine,” Williams said. “But you have a couple of students here who took some leadership and they did something different. They got their peers registered to vote.

“I’m just ecstatic to be here at Yuma High School.”

Read morePraise for Yuma High School and its voter-registration efforts

Secretary Wayne Williams encourages Inspire Colorado members

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is flanked by Cherry Creek High School students at the Inspire Colorado awards dinner Sunday at History Colorado. From left to right: Patrick Neuens, Sarah Hait, Williams, Kara Henry and Julie Phillips.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is flanked by Cherry Creek High School students at the Inspire Colorado awards dinner Sunday at History Colorado. From left to right: Patrick Neuens, Sarah Hait, Williams, Kara Henry and Julie Phillips. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams urged high school students with Inspire Colorado to stay involved in democracy even after they graduate from high school.

He said they could volunteer with a campaign or march in a parade.

Eaglecrest High School students Josh Rasp and Kara Hancock at the Inspire Colorado dinner, where Rasp received an award. (SOS photo.)
Eaglecrest High School students Josh Rasp and Kara Hancock at the Inspire Colorado dinner, where Rasp received an award. (SOS photo.)

“You have a chance to continue to make a difference,” Williams said during Inspire Colorado’s awards dinner Sunday night at History Colorado. “That is my hope for you.”

It was the third time that Williams has addressed the group since its inception last year. The nonpartisan organization works with high school juniors and seniors to prepare them for the responsibility of voting as they began to reach eligibility, at age 18. Members do that by registering their fellow students to vote and doing get-out-the-vote efforts for elections.

The youth-led group recently hosted a candidate forum at History Colorado, where Williams also spoke.

Yuma High School seniors Navil Babonoyaba, Rubi Rodriquez and Andrea Hermosillo with Josh Hardesty, the program coordinator for Inspire Colorado. Hermosillo won an award from the group. (SOS photo)
Yuma High School seniors Navil Babonoyaba, Rubi Rodriquez and Andrea Hermosillo with Josh Hardesty, the program coordinator for Inspire Colorado. Hermosillo won an award from the group. (SOS photo)

At the dinner, attended by students and their families, Inspire Colorado handed out two Outstanding Inspired Leader Awards.

Eaglecrest High School junior Josh Rasp got almost 90 percent of the senior class to register to vote. Eaglecrest is in Centennial.  Yuma High School senior Andrea Hermosillo got almost 95 percent.

Rasp attended the event with his parents and brother Jake and his girlfriend Kara Hancock.

Hermosillo attend with fellow Yuma students Navil Babonoyaba and Rubi Rodriguez. Both Hermosillo and Babonoyaba addressed the Inspire Colorado crowd.