Leadville School News You Can Use: Education Up High
Paying It Forward, Thanks to Education at CMC
By Carrie Click
Jennifer Penn is a Denver native, but a couple of years ago she wanted to be anywhere but her hometown.
“I needed to reinvent myself,” said the 42-year-old, who was ending an unsuccessful 17-year marriage and living in a transitional home with 16 women.
After supporting herself for years tending bar, she secured a job at a Subway sandwich shop in Denver.
Still, she longed to get out of the city, so on a hunch, she called the Subway in Leadville to ask if there were any jobs available there, away from a past she was ready to leave behind.
To Penn’s delight, Dixie Mullaly, the owner, said yes, and also told her there was a college in Leadville.
“And she told me there were dorms at the college – a community college with dorms!” Penn said. “I could live cheaply and get on my feet.”
Studying for degree in social work
This was the beginning of a new life for Penn, particularly when she discovered that Colorado Mountain College’s Leadville campus offered an Associate of Arts degree in social work. After doing some research, she realized she could take her challenging life experiences, educate herself and use that knowledge to help others.
“It’s my goal and intention to help other women overcome the challenges I have met,” she said.
This May, Penn will graduate with her degree in social work. She credits her “amazing teachers” and Christine Londos, the program coordinator for the Leadville campus’s TRIO Success Center, with supporting her in her academic goals.
“Christine has been an important part of my success in school and I work closely with her all the time,” said Penn.
After graduation, Penn is transferring to Metropolitan State University in Denver for her bachelor’s degree in social work. And while there, she also plans to earn another degree, a Bachelor of Science concentrating on addiction and human trafficking prevention.
Intermediate School Wins Colorado Health Award
On February 17, the Colorado Education Initiative announced that Lake County Intermediate School (LCIS) in Leadville was being recognized for their success at creating a healthy school environment and implementing effective school health efforts. The Lake County School District (LCSD) confirmed that they had won the top award for the Healthy School Champions program: the $7,500 2016 Platinum Governor’s Award.
“LCIS is a school that has undergone a remarkable culture change from one year to the next,” said Kerri Quinlan, LCSD Health & Wellness Coordinator. “This coordinated school-wide effort is worthy of recognition!”
The school district reported that Lake County High School was also recognized as a Bronze recipient ($1000) and West Park Elementary as an Excellence awardee ($500) for their work on Health and Behavioral Health services and Healthy Celebrations and the West Park Playground Project respectively.
The Healthy School Champions program is now in its sixth year and has awarded more than $250,000 in awards to Colorado schools. With the support of The Colorado Health Foundation, schools have received awards ranging from $300 to $7,500 per school.
The school district’s efforts will be recognized at the 2016 Colorado Healthy Schools Summit: The Power of Collective Impact event on March 4 in Denver.