Gifted & Talented Hosts Camp ALM for Incoming Freshmen


Coleman Erickson, Social Media Editor

Starting back in 2015, Wheat Ridge High School’s Gifted and Talented program has put on an exhibition every year for their students to show off their skills, hobbies, and interests, as well as advertise the program to incoming students.

Camp ALM, the name given to this year’s celebration, started at 4:00 pm and ended with an auditorium piece that started at 6:30. The whole night, students stood by their booths to show off something they had created or something they wanted to teach.

The biggest part of the event to allow each student to discover their passions and really dive deep into their topic. The booths each person makes can be as simple or complex as they want it to be, as construction and decorating is entirely up to them. Beyond some guidance by the GT teachers, the entire event is put on by the students. At the helm of the operation is the steering committee typically made up of juniors.

Lisa Lee, one of the program’s teachers, had a lot to say about this night. Each one is special, but this one in particular, “In my opinion, this was the top year.” She went on to add, “We had three groups of students–sophomores, juniors, and seniors–who had already done this, so they inspired the freshmen, and everyone came with their best game.”

“We had people parking a block or two away because there was no space in the parking lot, [walking] all the way here to attend GT Night,” added Elliott Holm, the second teacher of the program. The whole thing means a lot to the both of them because they are the ones who started the event five years ago.

The name for this year’s event comes from the name for the learning model the Gifted and Talented program follows. The Autonomous Learner Model was founded by George Betts, who recently fell ill. The students involved with the steering committee were touched by his condition, and decided to honor the model he created by naming the event Camp ALM. Lisa Lee added, “They are aware that without his life, theirs would be drastically different.”

One booth here at the event was junior Kassady Werner’s table on dogs. “Our booth is (on) how the dog’s brain works, and what the best way to train a dog is.” Her partner, senior Rosemary Howard, and she are passionate about all animals, with Werner putting in a lot of time at Rocky Mountain Greyhound Adoption

“We got the idea because I have two greyhounds at home and they aren’t the easiest to train,” she said “so we looked into the best way to do it.” When asked how long they had been working on their booth, Howard added, “two and a half months.”

The goals of this event have been to create a connection between the program and the community, give the students a chance to show off their talents and passions, and advertise the program to incoming eighth graders and their families who are still deciding where to go. This has shown to be a huge success as many students from as far away as Evergreen have chosen to come to Wheat Ridge High School just because of the program.

Holm shared how effective this year’s event has been, “I had a family come up to me, [and] they had an eighth grader who shadowed, and had chosen a different school to go to. He saw GT Night and has [since] changed his enrollment.”

This year’s GT Night was a very big success, and Holm had a lot of emotions right afterwards. He went on to add, “It’s unifying.”

Looking forward, everyone hopes to continue the success of this year and grow on top of it. Both Lee and Holm mentioned an excitement for the sophomores who organized this year’s program wide retreat. It’s this class that will go on to organize next year’s GT Night.