Help honor youth graduating from high school or college this year

Every year, the Colorado Department of Human Services partners with multiple organizations and community partners to honor youth involved in the foster care or youth corrections systems who will graduate from high school, receive a GED or obtained a college degree. Last year's Celebration of Excellence in Denver honored 111 graduates and a celebration on the western slope honored an additional twenty-two young people beating the odds. 

Help is needed to get young person involved in the foster care or youth corrections systems graduating this year involved. Please visit to learn more and help recognize Colorado's young people achieving educational excellence. The majority of the students in attendance at these inspiring events receive a laptop to help them continue to achieve success as they pursue their educational and career goals.

Makita Cotto, pictured speaking right, was among the foster care alumni program speakers to address the graduates at last year event in Denver. Makita first attended the annual event 14 years ago when she aged out of the foster care system in Colorado. Now a mother of three, Makita has since obtained her paralegal certificate from the Community College of Denver, a real estate license, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado Denver.

“I remember sitting in your seat 13 years ago listening to someone very similar to me. My first experience with foster care began when I was 5 and I was in and out of the system until I went in at 13 and then emancipated at 18 years old,” Cotto said. “But it’s not where you’re a coming from, it’s where you’re going.” 

Kira, pictured left, a first-year college student who attended a priovious celebration after receiving her GED, also returned to address the students.“You have to go through the storm to see the rainbow,” she said. “At age 12, I was sneaking out of the house with my mom to join in on her crazy adventures. As the partying got harder, school became more trivial to me. I’ve now lived on my own for more than a year, earned my GED, and have successfully completed my first year of college. It’s a pretty dramatic change in lifestyles. But I love every minute of it.”  

The 19th Annual Celebration of Educational Excellence in Denver will be held Thursday, June 8, 2017 at Metropolitan State University of Denver - Auraria Campus.

Prior to the celebration, young people have the opportunity to meet with representatives from various organizations from throughout the state during a resource fair.  EXHIBITORS WANTED Ideal exhibitors included employment services, financial planning, learning/academic resources, support networks, young adult services, and more! Visit for more information on sponsorship and exhibiting at the Celebration of Educational Excellence - Denver event. 

Click here to download and print a save the date to circulate among colleagues who may know young people who are eligible to attend this event. 

Details coming soon on the Second Annual Western Slope. 

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