DENVER — Students from College View Elementary School in Southwest Denver will march in Denver’s Pride Parade on Sunday alongside one of the school’s mentors, harpist Calvin Arsenia.
The school recently expanded its mentoring program after working with musician Kellindo Parker for more than a year.
“Kellindo was here all year and that was just so inspiring for students,” said Angela Govig, College View Elementary School senior team lead and teacher. “I wanted to expand the program. So I met Calvin, and he was very interested in mentoring. Also he represents our LGBTQ+ students, and representation is so important for those students.”
Govig said College View has a large population of students of color but few teachers of color and mentors are helping fill the void.
“I share songs, I share my experiences, and I listen to them, which is kind of one of my favorite parts,” Arsenia said. “I like seeing how they see life and their perspective and what they're noticing… I'm seeing a lot of love and acceptance from them.”
Arsenia said he talks to the student about feeling free to express themselves.
“I'm proud to be a part of showing and modeling and also embodying and being and practicing what it feels like to be free in my own skin. I want to share that with the students as well,” Arsenia said.
College View Elementary School 6th grader LaPassion Williams said Arsenia is teaching her how to be brave.
She said she likes how he can be himself, and he's taught her how to be brave.
“Even though I've been getting bullied (and) having a hard time in your life, you always have someone who's beside you, like your family, your friends and your mentors, like Calvin," she said.
Arsenia said while he enjoys teaching the students, but he too is receiving lessons that will last a lifetime.