Graduation 2017

What would you change about the world and why?

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In an era of hyper-global scrutiny, Colorado Community Media wondered how this year’s high school graduates would answer that question. Their responses leave you confident about our future, in the hands of people who want to create a world that is kinder, with more tolerance and compassion for all. Take a moment, in these next few pages, to listen to what the Class of 2017 has to say.


“The ability for individuals to be able to move from a place of tolerance to one of acceptance. With tolerance, there are ideas that cannot agree, therefore, walls are built and borders are put in place. With acceptance, there is an understanding of another individual, allowing a positive relationship to form, even if there is an agreement to disagree.”

— Issa Grimes, Ralston Valley High School

“On a global scale, I wish individuals would listen to understand, rather than listen with intent to respond with their own opinions. Especially regarding to political tension across the nation. There is great power in understanding and lending empathy.”

— Mckinzie Myers, Ralston Valley High School

“I want to increase peoples’ access to food and water because many people, especially in Third World countries, don’t have access to clean water and healthy food. Studies show that there is plenty of food to feed everyone in the world, and everyone deserves healthy food.”

— Noah Sponable, Wheat Ridge High School

“Personally, I would love to see a decrease in child abuse. To imagine such an innocent soul going through things that irresponsible adults put them through is just heartbreaking. They don’t deserve to be treated that way, especially because they have a whole life ahead of them.”

— Tania Martinez, Arvada High School

“There are so many things I can say, but I think I would choose government accountability and transparency and corruption. The government plays such a huge role in everyone’s life and if they do not let people know what is going on, we can’t help fix the problems.”

— Adela Ledezma Rivera, Arvada High School

The idea of unfair treatment towards women. A large population of women, primarily in underdeveloped countries, are not permitted education or a job. Women should be presented the same opportunities as men because they can contribute just as much to the world. Women are treated as property and a prize and if they are sexually abused, they get victim blaming.

— Lisa Truong, Arvada High School

“One would be for people to be less susceptible to lies and more respectful of proven fact, and second, to treat each other with kindness instead of suspicion and contempt.”

— Raymie Fotherby, Green Mountain High School

“People would have the ability to pursue their own goals without the restrictions of political instability, monetary concerns or societal expectations — as happiness is most fully achieved through ultimate accomplishments.”

— Callum Heskett, Lakewood High School

“The amount of time that teens obsess over technology. It takes away from one-on-one relationships and takes away valuable time that one can spend with their friends and family.”

— Ally Keeling, Lakewood High School

“I would change the world’s obsession with appearance and self-promotion. If the world could have that same obsession with other people, it would be a much better place.”

— Erin Gillcrist, Lakewood High School

Socialism is destroyed because it produces atheism and poverty, and Jesus Christ returns to earth so we may live in a new world without sin.”

— John Campisi, Faith Christian Academy

“That others would have more compassion toward all groups of people and help them understand that everyone has their own story.”

— Sophia Baldwin, Faith Christian Academy

“The way that young people are taught to treat others. Especially in today’s world, young children will grow up seeing tension among religions, political parties, races, etc. and they are taught that tolerance is not the answer, but resistance is. I think that it is important for young people to grow up learning tolerance, not necessarily acceptance, of all people no matter their differences.”

— Carmen Nocera, Faith Christian Academy

That forgiveness would be more prevalent in the world so that we would be able to live in a more harmonious society.”

—  Julie Payne, Faith Christian Academy

That compassion would overwhelm the lives of others in a way that would make everybody feel like a somebody.”

—  Emily Miller, Faith Christian Academy

If it were up to me, I’d like for everyone to re-evaluate the sorts of borders, walls and boundaries we put up among ourselves on individual or even greater levels. The separations we try to enforce between neighbors I find to be upon close examination largely artificial, and I believe a scrutinizing eye on everyone’s part would truly be enough to instigate real changes towards further unity within many fronts.”

—  Josiah Piper, Faith Christian Academy

“Giving every single person in every single country the exact same chance to have an education. I would do this so no individual was above another on an intellectual scale because of where they lived, but because of the effort he or she put in.”

— Madeline Riley Beatty, Golden High School

“The thought that we have to be like other people to be `cool.’ There is nobody else like us when we are ourselves, and the world would be a better place if all of us tried to be (ourselves)!”

—  Cody McStraw, Golden High School

“Kindness. I would have everyone feel kindness and treat everyone with kindness. I believe that kindness and giving are the keys to everything, and through repairing these two ideals, all needs can be met and peace can be achieved.”

— Caitlin McKay, Golden High School

“The amount of time our generation spends on our phones and social media. This obsession over technology has driven us apart and created an anti-social environment in schools and social events. Enjoy the time spent with your friends and family, and go out and make as many memories as possible.”

— Jakob Pigati, Bear Creek High School

“The biggest flaw in today’s society lies in how we treat one another. I would get rid of how negative and hateful our world has become. The destruction that is caused by other people’s evil acts has created an unstable, unsafe environment for not only ourselves, but future generations ... My hope is that our world will begin to strive towards peace so that we can find self-acceptance.”

— Tatym Lillquist, Bear Creek High School

“Environmental awareness, so people are more aware of the effect we have on the environment. Keeping the world clean. I feel like people don’t realize that it’s not unlimited everything and it’s really important to me.”

— Colin McLean, Arvada West High School

“Get rid of social media, honestly. It’s very helpful for communication, but it’s giving people this idea of `I need to be too unique and everybody has to like me.’ It’s not the best thing.”

— Tyler Spencer, Arvada High School

“Poverty and hunger. I’d change that. There’s a lot of countries out there that have been facing this problem for many years and I think we should all help each other and raise money for these countries and these people that need help.”

— Augusto Davalos, Pomona High School

“The amount of selfishness that goes around. If everyone was more loving and more caring toward each other, I think the environment and the world would be a better place.”

— Alysa Willner, Pomona High School

“Making it more equal throughout the world. I feel like people don’t get the same opportunities as others. And if everyone had the same opportunities, I feel like the world in general would just be a better place. Especially for different countries, because the United States is pretty successful and we get a lot.”

— Jeremy Gonzales, Pomona High School

“To have people desire to be united as one people — not under a government, but rather under a collective sense of human compassion and love.”

—  Caleb Way, Green Mountain High School

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