As the semester draws to a close, TJ Spartans remember and reflect on the events of the 2022-23 school year.
Truly the first normal year since COVID, the 2022-23 school year has been full of ups and downs and everything in between. Students, who no longer have to wear masks, have achieved a level of connection with their peers that they have been craving badly since the very beginning of the pandemic. This year was full of lots of fun and achievements, and as we look back on the year, it seems to be a wonderful time to reflect.
One of the most recent events hosted by TJ was the annual talent show. The talent show has been an important part of the TJ culture for many years; it’s a time where students can put themselves out there in front of a supportive group of their peers. In order to make sure the talent show ran smoothly, TJ staff members Jonathan Howard and Mark Mallaney worked tirelessly to fix the sound system in the auditorium, and their hard work absolutely paid off. Students and faculty members sang, danced, juggled, played instruments, and stole the show with their talents before heading out of the talent show and into Backyard Bash – another yearly tradition hosted by the TJ Leadership class. The Backyard Bash was full of fun and games such as volleyball, ping pong, karaoke, and a bouncy obstacle course. Backyard Bash allowed the seniors to wrap up their last day of school on a positive note, signing yearbooks and hugging the friends who they left behind after graduation on Thursday, May 18th.
Seniors heading off to college have a lot to be proud of – they earned 11.5 million dollars in scholarships this year. Emily Webster, TJ’s very own Future Center College Adviser, was instrumental in helping seniors get that money. “The seniors did a great job of proactively researching colleges that would be a good fit for them. They also spent a lot of time working on their applications and asking questions,” she said.
This year was full of incredible achievements. Many sports teams such as girls’ and boys’ tennis, gymnastics, girls’ and boys’ swim, wrestling, track and field went to state and competed with the top athletes in Colorado. TJ’s baseball team is about to go to regionals, and boys’ basketball managed to secure a spot at playoffs during their season. Many members of TJ DECA, a club that prepares young leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in that field, were able to compete at a state level as well. TJ’s very own senior Kate Little ended this year as the 2022-23 DECA president – an incredible achievement that reflects not only on her but on the DECA program at TJ as well.
This year was also a wonderful way to bounce back from COVID-related attendance rates, both from students and teachers. “We had the highest attendance rate for all of the comprehensive high schools in DPS this year,” said Mike Christoff, TJ’s favorite (and only) principal. “Teacher attendance was much more positive this year as well, which helped to build consistency for students.” Last year, TJ faced a lot of issues with a lack of substitute teachers, and it is reassuring to know that the teacher attendance rate is on an upward trend for the coming years.
Now, as the year comes to a close, we start to look forward to the year ahead. TJ students are getting lucky – over the summer, the school will be undergoing construction to install air conditioning into the building. With all of the extra bodies in the halls due to the rising enrollment at TJ, the cooler air is absolutely going to be necessary, even though Spartans won’t experience the AC until another summer of construction makes it official. Class sizes have been slowly increasing for the past few years, and this year’s incoming ninth grade class is no different.
For all of you ninth graders out there, the dates of freshman academy are still relatively up in the air. Due to the construction on the building, teachers are only able to get back into the school on August 14th, so stay on the lookout for an updated freshman academy schedule. It will most likely be on the first two days of school, and freshman academy will be a great time to get to know your fellow freshmen and start to understand the layout of the school a bit more before formally starting classes. The TJ community is excited to have you!