Hawk Talk: GRADUATION Edition

Congratulations VCS Class of 2021!

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Hi, My name is Stephen Abankwa Jr. I'm a senior at Vanguard Classical School. I was born in Bronx, NY and moved to Colorado since I was a 1 year old and i've been here for about a good 18 years. I went to Vanguard since 2008 at the West Campus. My favorite memories throughout the years is making friends, playing football in recess, talent show, and those fun activities every last day of school. My plans after I graduate is getting a job where I work alongside my mom, dad, or my older sister. It was a blast being in Vanguard for 13 years. I wish I could do it again, but of course time flies fast. Can't wait to see what the future holds for the king of New York. One more thing, Go beyond, plus ultra!

"Go beyond, plus ultra!"

--Izuku Midoriya


Hi I'm Israel Aguirre, I've been at Vanguard since kindergarten. I've attended both Campuses and experienced both their beginnings. I served in the student senate for four years, I was grade level representative twice, vice president, and president. I served in multiple committees but I'm most proud of running the snack store. I was also a member of ConservUs, a community service club. I was in the Knowledge Bowl team for a while. I was also a midfielder in Vanguard's first highschool soccer team. After High School I desire to become a monk and go where the Wind takes me.

"Who sits in solitude and is quiet hath escaped from three wars: hearing, speaking, seeing: yet against one thing shall he continually battle: that is, his own heart."

--St. Anthony the Great


Hello my name is Nyasia Clark, and I am a senior at Vanguard Classical School. My time at Vanguard has been a roller coaster but it was the best roller coaster I ever got on. My favorite memory is the amazing people I have met at Vanguard. As you know, every senior says “they don't know how their futures will play out.” I have multiple interests and I still don’t know whether I want to start my own makeup business or become a doctor. My hobbies include learning to cook and makeup.

"This is only the ending of the first chapter of a grand adventure."



Hello, my name is Hanna Baye Eyayou. I started at Vanguard Classical School in 2014, when the school first opened for my 6th grade year. Some of my favorite memories at Vanguard are the teachers I’ve met and the friends I’ve made. My favorite years of high school were my 9th, 10th, and 11th grade years and my recognition as the top Jackson Family fan along with my sister across the school. My favorite hobbies include singing, creating and grooving to some music, dancing, and trying to practice some instruments. My plans for the future are to join the entertainment industry while possibly working some other jobs. In the fall I will be starting at Metropolitan State University in Denver!

"This special need that's within us brings out the best, yet the worst in us. Follow the passion that's within you. Living the truth will set you free."

--Janet Jackson "Velvet Rope"


I first became a part of the Vanguard family in 2014 when I was about 11 years old in the sixth grade and I have felt at home at Vanguard ever since. I have met many great students and teachers along the way. Some of my favorite memories at Vanguard are when I’m at lunch and recess with my friends, making jokes and laughing our tails off all day long. I loved meeting up with the people that I called family in the hallways during passing periods and talking with my favorite teachers during classes and getting some good advice and life lessons from them. I loved how almost everyone at the school knew me and my sister for our deep love for Michael Jackson because that basically became our identity. My future plans are to study at Metropolitan State University of Denver and earn a bachelor's degree in Africana Studies. Afterwards, I plan to have a career as an entertainer/vocalist in the entertainment industry. My favorite hobbies are singing, listening to music, making music, and dancing.

"War and poverty wasn't meant to be. Hate is driving me away, 'cause I am love and I am here to stay."

--Jackson 5 "I am Love"


Hello, my name is Eden Hailu I am a senior at vanguard classical school. I am from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I have been at vanguard classical school since 11th grade. I was new to everything to learn because my language commute was very less and understanding was very difficult. Now it’s good I can understand English a little bit. but all the teachers helped me out and I am very happy when I am at vanguard classical school. I have a good memory of two years And I am excited to graduate this year. When I was a kid my favorite job was nursing. I still have an idea to learn the nursing program and I want to help different people in different countries.

"Good luck in the future. May all your dreams and wishes come true."



Hello, my name is Ermiyas Hailu. I am a senior at vanguard classical East school. I was born in Ethiopia and I moved to Colorado in 2019. I have attended since 2019 in vanguard classical school. when I came from Ethiopia, I entered directly to vanguard classical East school. and I am very happy. In the beginning, it was boring because everything was new for me but all the teachers helped me out. I have a good memory in between two years, last year I participated in the high school boys soccer team, and had a good time with my clubmate. And the students help me a lot, they help me a lot every time I ask them. And this year is very special for me because I learned a lot of things, I am going to graduate this year and I will go to MSU for the rest of my college education and I think there will be something good at MSU.

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

--Nelson Mandela


My name is Abdelsami Khelik but many people here at Vanguard know me as Sami. I am a senior at Vanguard and hopefully will be graduating this year. I have been at Vanguard since the 6th grade. I wanted the full high school experience, so I transferred to another school for freshman year, but quickly missed the school I had learned to call home, Vanguard. After graduation I am planning to attend CU Denver to study civil engineering. I have always had an interest in engineering. I enjoy using problem solving skills to tackle a variety of challenges. Some of my hobbies include fishing, playing football and playing video games. I also like to spend time sitting and listening to my canaries sing.

"You're not promised tomorrow, so live today."



Hello I'm Marisol. I'm a senior in high school at Vanguard Classical School East. I love hanging out with my dog, Milo. He’s the cutest thing in the world (after me of course). I also like to paint because it is fun and it helps me relax. One of my favorite classes in school was dance class with Ms. Fregoso. I had a lot of fun learning how to dance. My plan after high school is to attend Community College of Denver and get my associates degree. I also like listening to Justin Bieber (when he used to sing “Baby”).

"I haven't a clue what's going on here, but I'll act like I do!"

--Naruto, Naruto


My name is Josh and I am 17 years old. I have several hobbies, including hanging out with friends, reading, and learning about anything medical related. I also enjoy outdoor activities including hunting, fishing, camping, and dirt bikes. I ride and work on dirt bikes. I also enjoy watching dirt bike races and am planning on racing myself in the season that starts in the spring. I am currently working as a lifeguard for the City of Aurora and am certified as a water safety instructor, a.k.a. swim instructor. After high school, I want to become a firefighter and get an associates degree in paramedicine. I am hopeful that in getting my degree I can be versatile around the firehouse as a firefighter and a paramedic. I’m super excited about graduating high school so I can get started with my life and am excited to see what I’ll become.

"Life is like riding a dirt bike. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."



Hi my name is Stephanie Mlinek and I am a senior at a Vanguard Classical School. Some of my favorite memories at Vanguard are cleaning up DelMar Park for Vanguard Gives Day and going to Burger King with my friends after homecoming. My future plans are to attend a technical college like Pickens to study cosmetology. Some of my favorite hobbies are painting, baking, and doing nails, hair and makeup. All elements in cosmetology!

"She believed she could...so she did."



My name is Mohaned Mohamed but people call me Mo. I’ve been at Vanguard Classical School since 10th grade and am excited to graduate this year. In the fall I will begin studying business to prepare to run my own business. I will attend Metropolitan State University because it has a strong business program that will help me accomplish my dream. My goal is to become a businessman and to be a great investor. Some of my favorite hobbies include playing video games, basketball and football and especially playing warzone all day, everyday.

"I didn't come this far to only come this far."

--Jesse Itzler


My name is Ryley, and I have attended Vanguard since I was in kindergarten. I play piano and cello, collect tiny bottles, and I have an unfortunate affinity for YA romance novels. I work as a barista at Starbucks, and I currently plan to study linguistics in college. I have narrowed down my college options to Seattle Pacific University, Baylor University, and The University of Colorado Boulder. My time at Vanguard has been made better by the many friendships I’ve made over the past 12-13 years. Some of my favorite memories are when there was any sort of after-school concert or production, my friends and I would take advantage of the downtime before the event and walk down to Chowsun and the Asian Market, buy a bunch of snacks, then walk back up the school and call for a friend to let us back inside. While I’m excited to start a new chapter in my life, I will most definitely miss my time at Vanguard.

Update: I plan to attend Baylor University in the fall, majoring in linguistics.

"[Exit, pursued by a bear]"

--William Shakespeare


Hello, I’m Yarely. I have attended Vanguard since 7th grade. I’m excited to be a senior even though it has been a strange year. While at Vanguard, I have served as president of ConservUs, a group that is dedicated to helping and improving the Vanguard community like cleaning parks, setting up donation drives, and helping plan and decorate for school functions. When I’m not doing school work I like to watch Netflix shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Criminal Minds. After I graduate in May I’m excited to attend Metropolitan State University pursuing a major in Business. I’m thankful for all the friends I’ve made and the life lessons I’ve learned while at Vanguard!

"Some infinities are bigger than other infinities."

--John Green, The Fault in Our Stars


My name is Nancy Perea and I am a part of class 2021! Whoop Whoop! I have been a part of Vanguard for 7 years and grew up with many of the same teachers and classmates, looking back it was the most wholesome experience I have ever had. Some of my favorite memories came from the time I spent with my friends in after school clubs and school field trips. Outside of school I enjoy watching movies and hanging out with people. After high school, I hope to still be able to go on the school’s first international trip to Italy! I’m currently figuring out what I want to do after high school and am deciding between working or going to school.

"Falling doesn't give you a reason to give up, as long as you believe."

--Naruto Naruto


Congratulations, Kevin!


With almost six years at Vanguard, my favorite part has been all the teachers I have interacted with. Many different names, different subjects, different people. I got excited (and stressed) about all the different subjects but I can’t remember a time where I didn’t get along with any of my teachers. With few students, it always felt easier to ask for help, whether educational or personal, from my teachers. It was easier to feel connected with them, which made it easier to learn as well. Many highlights of my school experience are because of my teachers.

It’s because of my high school math teachers that I really like math. It’s always been my favorite subject. Graphs are the worst but it’s amazing when an equation just fits or when a variable is exactly what you solved it to be. Mr. Tipple, Coleman, and Stafford, all my math teachers at some point, were amazing. Their different teaching styles never bothered me, if anything, they made me like math even more. It kept me on my toes. I also complain the most about math but only because I love it. And hate it. But love it!

Update: I will be attending UCCS next year. My move-in day is early August, specifically on the 17th. I have signed up for orientation which will happen in late May and even already paid my housing deposit. I can’t wait!

"I don't know how I did it, nor how it worked, but that's what made it fun."



Hello my name is Edgar I. Soto Parra, I've been at Vanguard Classical School for nearly four years. A little background story of me was around 6 or 7 years ago when I traveled to Mexico for the first time, and I remember one day me and my uncle needed to feed the horses so we went up the mountain with a donkey to get some Hay. It was a 25 min ride up the mountain and all the sudden I just remember the donkey stepping in a huge hole, throwing us down. When I get up, I see a huge cut on my hand and YES! It did hurt, but it was a fun experience. Moving on to after high school and my future plans, I am planning on getting a Criminal Justice career and going as a DEA Agent. Another plan that I have in mind is Cryptocurrency, I am starting to learn a little more about it but it is something that I have a high interest in. Going into the favorite hobby category, to start off I have a lot, but as to any other high schooler my most favorite one has got to.

"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door."

--Milton Berle


I have attended Vanguard for most of my middle school and high school years. I attended Vanguard West for 7th/8th and Vanguard East for all of high school. I would say my favorite memory of VCS is definitely the Latin convention. I had a great time and I wish I could have experienced it a second time before graduating. I remember being sad that it was only two days and one night because I loved the food and Latin activities that were provided. My hobbies are drawing and playing the piano. My future plans after high school are to complete four years of university and then maybe become an animator. I wanted to be an accountant but I feel I should still try to branch out and work with my creative side.

Update: My final plans for the next year are to study at CU Denver and possibly travel to Mexico City to take one year of college there as well. I also plan to apply for a job at a bookstore or as a lifeguard over the summer just to make some extra money for any necessities. I feel like a late bloomer because I am 18 and do not have a job but everything comes at its time and teenager and there is so much to experience in the world.

"The only way to get what you want in this world is through hard work."

--Tiana, Princess and the Frog


My name is Hannah Taff and I’m a senior at Vanguard Classical School. I’ve been at Vanguard since the middle of my 9th grade year. Most of my favorite memories at school involve three of my closest friends. Usually, it's the small things that make me smile most: walking down the hallway hand-in-hand or spending lunch together practicing on the Knowledge Bowl team. I’m just grateful to have been able to meet them and to spend time with them. Other than spending time with my friends, I enjoy reading, hanging out with my siblings, and watching Netflix. So far, I have been accepted to Regis University, the Colorado School of Mines, and Seattle Pacific University and am waiting to hear back from a few more. However, I’m still undecided on the school I’ll go to and what I will major in.

Update: I plan to work over the summer to save up money for college, then I plan on attending UCCS in the fall. I'm currently undecided in my major, but I do have interest in STEM so we’ll see how it all plays out.

"There is nothing like a dream to create the future."

--Victor Hugo, Les Miserables


Congratulations on completing your GED, Elvin!
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