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Eight great community members were honored April 4 at the Arvada Chamber of Commerce’s 67th annual Arvada Luncheon.
Image Awards, which are given to outstanding individuals who go above and beyond to portray a positive, kind and community-minded image in Arvada, were awarded to Arvada High School Principal Gina Rivas and the Rev. John Anderson, of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Arvada.
“Arvada High School has a sense of belonging I don’t think it had before,” Jefferson County Board of Education member Brad Rupert said. “Gina has invited the community in and she has made a real effort to connect students with what their future could be. I think she has given her students a sense of confidence.”
Among the changed Rivas has made as principal of Arvada High was to hire a liaison who created a resource center for students to get extra support such as food during the day, clothing and school supplies. There has also been a focus put on hand on instruction and the creation of a constructions trades program and a culinary arts program.
“I am honored to be amongst all of these wonderful people,” Rivas said. “I love this community and I love the students. We are really are trying to make a difference for the kids.”
Anderson’s award sparked from his recognition of a need for more community interaction and a desire to connect neighbors near the church and Peck Elementary School.
“In five years I would love to see neighborhood associations, congregations and schools all working together in partnership,” Anderson said. “Our hope is to reconnect neighbors and reconnect neighborhoods to schools.”
Arvada Young Professional Leadership Awards were also given at the luncheon to Katie Groke Ellis, marketing, community outreach and communications director of the Apex Park and Recreation District, and James Johnson, financial representative at Country Financial. The AYP Leadership Awards recognize up and coming professionals on their innovation, entrepreneurship, professional accomplishment and community leadership.
Another celebrated up-and-comer was Arvada High School student Alyssa Martinez, who was awarded the Rising Star Award along with a $500 scholarship from the Arvada Chamber.
“Alyssa has been described as exemplifying high morals and being a positive example for students,” Kami Welch, president of the Arvada Chamber said at the event. “One word that describes Alyssa would be integrity. She is the poster child for doing the right thing even when no one is watching.”
Next year, Martinez will be attending Colorado State University in Fort Collins and studying biomedical sciences.
The big awards of the afternoon went to John Beattie and Anita Marcussen, this year’s Man and Woman of the Year.
Both were recognized for the many hours they put into volunteering in the community — Beattie with the local food bank and boy scouts; and Marcussen with the Arvada Historical Society and local schools.
“There’s more deserving people out there,” Beattie said, after accepting his award. “I enjoy doing the volunteer work. The way I look at it is it’s something we all need to do. Something to make our community better and our country better.”
MORE: ‘She just gives so much of herself’: 2018 Woman of the Year: Anita Marcussen
MORE: ‘He just does it out of joy’: 2018 Man of the Year: John Beattie
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