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Ricks Center

Ricks Center students from Early Childhood through Upper School

Ricks Center for Gifted Children

This is where we belong.

ricks center students visit du chemistry lab

During their studies on Natural Disasters, our 3rd and 4th graders were able to study in the environmental chemistry lab at the University of Denver. Dr. Alex Huffman enlisted the assistance of professors and grad students alike to introduce the students to some projects underway in the lab: florescence to identify chemicals; 3-D modeling of proteins that are involved in the immune response; analysis of metals in the ambient air; analyzing the structure of mutated TB bacterium with an MRI so that new antibiotics can be developed to treat TB; creating scientific posters; and analyzing particle size and type with various instruments (lasers). The children burned a match to generate smoke and then tested how the particulate matter (smoke) changes the chemical properties of the soil and air. They looked at soot particles under a microscope, experimented with how particles change the density of a substance, and learned how specific components of the burned material in the air can be measured using special chemical tools.

After working in there the children toured other labs and got a taste for other areas of chemistry including biochemistry and organic chemistry. They witnessed how scientists are able to view cell under a microscope using a liquid that glows under a black light and heard how D.U. is working in conjunction with other labs around the world to isolate the causes of T.B and develop a vaccine.

Chemistry lab

faculty focus

Jessica Cunnigham

This will be Jessica's 5th year working at Ricks in the early childhood wing. Her decision to focus on a career in education came while she was living in Vail and volunteering for the Vail Literacy Project. During this time, she was introduced to educating young minds through the reinforcement of strong literacy practices. She tutored primary-aged children during after school hours.

Upon looking at several different programs, Jessica was accepted to DePaul University and moved to Chicago, where she studied elementary and bilingual education. While studying Jessica volunteered for various literacy projects which involved working with Hispanic children and adults, as well working as an assistant teacher in a 2nd grade classroom. Most recently, Jessica has worked as a co-teacher in both the Kindergarten and Preschool classroom at Ricks, as a manager of Kids Club programming, and now enjoys her daily interactions teaching Prekindergarten children.

in their own words 

"Ricks has pretty much made me who I am; I grew up here. I really love it so much. I feel like it has really given me a love for learning, and I always want to know more." --Francine age 13

"My favorite part about the Ricks Center is that you never go a day without doing something awesome."
--Ella age 8

"The teachers always find a way to get us interested and challenge us, so that we’re always learning."
--Holden age 13

"They help me feel proud because they help me through the work that I need to do, and it just makes me feel proud of myself like I can do anything."
--Tilly age 8

"Ricks offers kids an opportunity for leadership in every aspect of every moment of every day."
--Anne, Ricks Center parent

"To say that the teachers are skilled and bright and energetic is an understatement; they are really fantastic."
--Greg, Ricks Center parent