My Name Is: Katie Maldonado

Senior reflects on graduation, uncertain times


About me

I am 17 and I live in Parker. I went to Chaparral High School my freshman and sophomore years and moved to online school at Colorado Connections Academy for the last two years. I will officially graduate on May 28. I will attend college post-high school, but due to COVID-19 exactly where is up in the air. I am currently committed to the University of Northern Colorado. I am a dancer and animal lover. 

My passion for teaching

During my first three years of high school, I found a passion for working with special needs kids. I volunteered in a special needs class and helped after school peer coaching for the Special Olympics program at Chaparral, which included basketball and soccer. From that, I made lots of friends and discovered my passion for teaching, which I am now pursuing as my career. I also love assisting at the dance studio with the younger students, helping them learn dances for recitals and competitions and assisting in their regular classes.

Graduating in a pandemic

The last couple of months have been somewhat of a time of uncertainty. Will I get a graduation? Will I get my senior year dance recital? Will I still be attending college in person? My graduation will be online. I will not have a senior dance recital and that last one is still not quite answered. Beyond that, I have also seen the people around me coming together to support me. Being part of the “Adopt-A-Senior” program and receiving a graduation basket. A big shout-out to my parents for decking the house out with tons of decorations. All the good really starts to outweigh the disappointment.

Adjusting to a new normal

I’ve learned that even if I won’t have the traditional senior year, I’m still making memories. Yes, they will be different. And, yes, I might not get everything a “normal” graduate would have gotten, but it doesn’t always matter. I was disappointed in how much of my senior year was lost, but I am so thankful for what I have. So many amazing things have still happened. I’ve learned there are always positives even in the darkest of times. 

Since I was already online-schooled, not much changed in my schooling when everything started changing. I just continued as usual. I was unable to attend dance anymore. To stay in touch and keep up on our skills, the studio began to provide online dance classes via Zoom. Although it was an adjustment to take dance classes at home, it was so nice to be able to keep dancing and see our teachers. 

Finding the positives

I will be having an online graduation, slideshow type thing. That will be happening the 28th. It will just be my parents and I that day celebrating, and we are planning on having a Zoom call with my family. Like a normal graduation party, we will have cake and dinner and of course lots of decorations, but just without anyone else. It’s not the graduation party we had planned, but it’s a good one nonetheless. 

If you have a suggestion for who should be featured in the upcoming “My Name is…” contact Nick Puckett at


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