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Grade 8: Alumni Speaker Series

On Wednesday, December 8, several alumni returned to Graland to share their life experiences and successes with current Grade 8 students. The distinguished speakers included President of Crusoe Energy, Cully Cavness ’02, Director of Sustainability and Beverage Packaging (North and Central America) at Ball Corporation, Sara Axelrod ’04, and Graland Alumni Board Member, current parent, and Co-Founder of ABBY&FINN, Amanda Poe ’00 Little. While the speakers primarily returned to Graland to inspire students before their upcoming capstone project on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, they also are a critical piece of tying Graland’s past to its future. 
According to Class of ’13 alumna and current alumni relations and development manager Anna Natassja Scheitler, “When you’re in school, sometimes in the moment, it is challenging to see the bigger picture of how a project, class, or assignment prepares you for life. What I love about Graland, having been a student and now, while hearing from fellow alumni, is that students are given tools and opportunities to discover their passions and learn how to be engaged citizens and thoughtful leaders. Having alumni come and speak with current students is important not only to connect the Graland community but also to show students that what we learn during our time at Graland is something we take with us throughout our lives.”

During their time on campus, each of the speakers visited a different Grade 8 classroom to share about their various business ventures, entrepreneurial experiences, passion for the environment, as well as how their time at Graland shaped them into the people and leaders they are today. Following the presentations, many of the students asked thoughtful and engaging questions and were left feeling motivated at the possibilities that life after Graland has to offer.

According to Grade 8 student Lyla E., “I thought it was really impactful to see how the school led the speakers to become such an important part of society when they grew up. I think Graland teaches us a lot about how important it is to be present in the world and make a difference, and the speakers were an example of this.” 

Grade 8 student Evan L. left the presentations feeling motivated that he could promote change one day too. “I think it is inspiring to hear from alumni who have actually made a difference, so I know, and my classmates know that we can do this too,” Evan said. 

And for Grade 8 student Willa C. the Alumni Speaker Series is not just another event to attend but a learning opportunity that she values and enjoys. “This event is usually held once a year, and it’s something I always look forward to because listening to people who have gone through similar experiences that I have is inspirational,” Willa said. “I always wonder what I am going to do in the future, and hearing from others about their ideas is always super interesting, and I enjoy it.” 

Graland would like to thank Cully, Sara, and Amanda for taking the time to share their stories with current students and for truly living out the school’s mission of being engaged citizens and thoughtful leaders in their everyday lives. 
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Graland Country Day School

Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.