Alums Allie Eliot '09 and Bill Whitacker '98 have been working closely together for months in the Denver Lieutenant Governor's office - Bill was recently hired as Deputy Chief of Staff and Allie is the Press and Community Engagement Coordinator. They bonded over their shared love of St. Anne's. Bill is also married to St. Anne's classmate Sarah McCune '98 (they met in 3rd grade). Check out the articles Ali and Bill wrote for our St. Anne's Magazine through the link in our bio. This community stays strongly connected years after graduating!
When he first added a large chunk of a charred aspen wood disc into a mason jar of rye whiskey in the fall of 2010, it was just an experiment. But when Owen Locke ’95 tried the whiskey months later, it tasted really good. Welcome Locke + Co. Aspen Aged Rye Whiskey, launched in 2016 with his best friend Rick Talley. Owen is a sixth generation Coloradan and his four times great grandparents (Luis F Bartels) owned Denver’s first liquor store downtown. Rick and Owen have known each other since high school in Littleton and reconnected when they were both at graduate school at the University of Denver. Since launching Locke + Co., Owen has perfected the whiskey’s taste. It spends two years in oak barrels and then eight months with a piece of hand cut/hand charred aspen wood disc. The wood comes from family property in Fairplay. After sustainably cutting down an aspen tree, Rick and Owen let the wood “season” for 12 months, then sand off the bark before they hand char each piece. And that’s where the magic happens. Charring the aspen wood caramelizes the sugars in the whiskey and helps to bring out its best flavors while making it super smooth. Owen hopes to continue growing the company, releasing single barrel unfiltered rye whiskey, selling in new markets outside of Colorado, opening their own facility for production, and collaborating on special releases. A truly Coloradan born and bred whiskey.
When she’s not working as a mechanical engineer for Siemens Energy in Fort Collins, Emily Lane ’07 is swimming, usually in the early morning hours. She finds it therapeutic and meditative. From a young age, Emily took an interest in the sport and swam competitively at Smith College. She discovered the world of open water swimming after two of her college teammates completed solo Channel crossings the summer before her freshman year. Since then, Emily has swum a 10K in the Hudson River in Manhattan (it’s a lot cleaner than you think), completed the 11-mile Portland Bridge Swim in the Willamette River, swum in several competitions in Fort Collins, and most recently, swam the English Channel as part of a seven-person relay. She and team started at 6:30pm in the evening and finished just shy of 12 hours later. She’s used to swimming in the dark and in cold water; for the English Channel, it was about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. She was only allowed to wear a standard swimsuit (nothing beyond the shoulders or knees). And there were jellyfish. But she loved every minute of it. Eventually, Emily would love to complete the “Triple Crown” of open water swims: Manhattan Island (28 miles); Catalina Channel (20 miles) and the English Channel (21 miles) all as a solo swimmer. Her next adventure? She has tentative plans to swim the length of Lake Tahoe this summer. Best of luck to you, Emily!
Andrew Kurtz ’20 spent his entire sophomore year in high school learning remotely. As a result, he had much more free time than he originally planned. So, he decided to launch a stationary business called “A Designs Denver.” He first sold his personalized greeting cards and stationery to his grandparents at Christmas and then expanded to selling on Etsy. His busines has been thriving. Andrew plans to bring in between $15,000-$20,000 in revenue this year and hopes to add more products to his line in the near future (he’s currently working on a new “holiday line and also makes personalized “pet” cards). Earlier this school year, Andrew entered a business competition sponsored by the Young Americans Center for Financial Education and won the 16-21 age category! He received $5,000 in prize money and will be mentored by CEO and president of Craig Hospital, Dr. Allen-Davis. What will he do with the prize money? He plans to reinvest some of it back into his company, may invest a little in the stock market, and save the rest. Congratulations Andrew!

Ensworth School, a kindergarten through twelfth grade coeducational independent school in Nashville, TN, named Prentice Stabler ’98 as its eighth Head of School, beginning Summer 2022. Stabler’s appointment was made after an extensive international search that drew over 170 candidates for consideration. Most recently, Prentice served as Associate Head of School at Franklin Road Academy, also in Nashville. He and his wife Rhymes, have three children, Pace (7), Ramsay (5), and Bennett (2). Congratulations Prentice!

Fun facts - St. Anne’s math teacher John Dicker attended Ensworth when it was a K-8 school (the high school was added later) and John Comfort was the Founding Headmaster of Ensworth. Kent Denver’s new head of school, David Braemer, was most recently Head at Ensworth.

The “in-between” of mental health

Mary Walker ‘18

 

I remember walking into the therapist’s office for the first time in 5th grade. I really had no idea where I was or why my mom was dragging me to talk to some lady to help me with my “fear of storms.” All I knew was that something was wrong with me. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder when I was ten years old. It sparked from my severe panic attacks from thunderstorms and tornadoes, then grew from there. I didn’t fully understand my anxiety and how everything connected. I didn't know why I got so nervous going up to talk to a new group of friends, or when the room would get too loud, or when I would have to go somewhere by myself. I always thought something was wrong   with me — that it was just me experiencing this anxiety. I didn't have a full comprehension of my mental health until I reached high school.

 

The transition from St. Anne’s to Colorado Academy was extremely smooth, with the help of C-Team field hockey. I instantly clicked with the girls on my team, who later became some of my best friends. But after the season ended and the back-to-school jitters had settled, I was left uneasy with who I was. I found myself trying to be someone I was not, squeezing into this box of the “status quo” and terrified to do or act differently from anyone around me. This was my anxiety telling me that I could not be different; that I was weird if I wore a crazy outfit or acted a certain way at lunch. I spent every day worrying about what people thought of me. It was draining. I lost all motivation. This constant anxiety sent me into a depression towards the end of my freshman year. I knew I wasn’t okay. I knew I needed to reach out, but I didn’t really know how.

 

When the topic of mental health comes up, we immediately rush to the conclusion of suicide prevention. I had the resources if I was suicidal, but that didn’t even cross my mind. On that scale, I was fine; but in reality, I wasn’t. It took a while to understand that it was okay for me not to be okay, but finally acknowledging that I wasn’t okay was the best thing I could have ever done. I eventually told my parents that I was struggling and started my journey to recovery. It was a long and excruciating and by no means perfect journey, but it was a step forward.

By the spring of my sophomore year, everything was starting to look up. My depression and anxiety were manageable, but then I tested positive for Covid-19 in March of 2020. I lost all contact with my friends for three weeks at least, and I had my setbacks. Being alone with my thoughts wasn’t easy (I don’t think it is for anyone), but it helped me grow. I did the hard work during this isolation, leading me to understand who I truly was and that it was okay for me to be unique. Because I had started talking to others about my mental health, a few had reached out to me. I suddenly realized that I wasn’t alone in this journey. I decided to start an Instagram page (@a.little.love.and.smiles) to do something with my voice and my story. I shared a video of me playing my ukulele (something that kept me sane throughout quarantine) and captioned it with a bit about my struggles with my mental health, saying it’s okay not to be okay. The amount of love I received from my friends and family was unreal. Through quarantine, I have continued to grow my page, spreading awareness to these prevailing issues teenagers face, and shining light on the parts of mental health that aren’t talked about as much. Many have reached out to me, feeling compelled to share their stories along with mine, ultimately helping us get one step closer to ending the massive stigma that surrounds mental illnesses. Remember, it’s okay not to be okay. One in four adults experiences a mental disorder. You are not alone. There are many professionals, both at school and outside, that are more than willing to help. It’s okay to reach out to someone you feel comfortable with to ask for help. We are strong. We are resilient.

When Mike Turner ’96 was airlifted out of Bolivia in 2008 in a military cargo plane, he wasn’t sure if he’d ever be going back. He had spent the past year in Bolivia as a volunteer in the Peace Corps but had to leave when the Peace Corps officially pulled out of the country. Once back in the U.S., Mike decided to go to graduate school at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs which propelled him into a career in climate change and international development. He then moved to D.C., to work for a climate change think tank before moving back to Colorado and starting a consulting business. For the past seven years, he has been working for the Colorado Energy Office, currently as its Director of Building Innovation and Energy Finance. In 2015, Mike and two friends from the Peace Corps went back to visit their communities in Bolivia and came across startling facts. In Bolivia, only 10% of young indigenous women vs. 81% of men go onto a secondary education. A number of conversations later, he and those same friends started a nonprofit called the Chaco Fund. The Fund’s goal is to “unlock the potential of young Bolivian women by empowering leaders, promoting self-determination, and creating advocates for rural communities.”  Their approach centers around women’s education, sending Bolivian women to higher education and providing for tuition, room and board, laptops, career development and job opportunities. The ultimate goal is that these women will use their education to benefit their communities. And it’s been working. Currently, the Chaco Fund supports four scholars who will bring leadership qualities back to their communities in meaningful ways. For example, hydrology student Maribel hopes to one day guarantee the water supply of her home village. Eventually, Mike hopes to be able to expand the Fund to more scholars and additional communities.

$22,000. That’s how much Parker Stava ’17 raised in only ONE week at Regis Jesuit High School for “Wish Week”.  Wish week is a week’s worth of daily fundraising events to serve the Make-A-Wish mission and help grant wishes to kids suffering from critical illnesses. As a member of the Make-A-Wish Youth Leadership Council in Colorado, Parker advocated for months to implement a “Wish Week” at Regis.  Things stalled because of the pandemic but in March of this year, he got the go-ahead to move forward, with only five weeks to plan and a $10,000 fundraising goal. He and a few other students got to work – they recruited sponsors, organized “themed” days throughout the week, complete with games and activities, created “wish kits” (merchandise and schwag to sell as part of the fundraiser), crafted opening and closing ceremonies, and shaped marketing through social media and community newsletters to raise awareness. By the end of the week, Parker and his team of eight people had surpassed their $10,000 goal with over 60 donors online and $5,500 from sponsors. Watch the closing video to see a very special guest and hear more about Parker’s amazing success!

 

At St. Anne’s, there were few spaces where Dan Lovato ‘10 felt most in control, powerful and safe – the music room with Mrs. Gilbert; drama with Mrs. Casperson; and English with Mr. Amend. They caught the theater bug from Mrs. Casperson and ended up starring as the lead in almost every play. They were the only member of the tap-dancing club and a key member of the jazz band. These spaces meant a lot to Dan, who identifies as non-binary, queer and mixed-race and now uses the pronouns they/them. Unfortunately, in their early years, that identity often made Dan a target. As a result, Dan said in an interview with VoyageLA, “Resilience was a trait I developed early and cultivated for most of my life.” Dan has channeled that resiliency into poetry and performance, used as forms of self-care. At the young age of 25, Dan has a successful career in writing, performing and poetry, a trailblazer for those who may not see themselves on stage or on screen. They want to make sure that everyone knows their voice matters.

After St. Anne’s and high school at Kent Denver, where they were captain of the Speech and Debate Team, Dan Lovato ’10 decided to attend Whitman College in the Northwest and double majored in theater and politics with a big focus on performance and queer theory. Dan is currently living in Los Angeles working towards their MFA with a focus on playwriting and acting. They hope to eventually lead a bicoastal lifestyle working in New York and LA after completing their masters. This past year has also been good to Dan; despite the pandemic, they have been able to expand their audience through a weekly virtual POC Open Mic Night. Follow Dan on social media to see how their story unfolds in the years ahead @pastichequeen.