Team Impact students win state award for hosting event

Team Impact, made up of Durango High School and Big Picture High School students and their advisors, won for hosting the Grand Opening of Impact Career Innovation Center on Jan. 24.


“I was flabbergasted by the students’ enthusiasm and skills,” said district spokesperson Karla Sluis. “It was inspiring to witness their professionalism.”


culinary students at Impact


From planning to execution to evaluation, Team Impact students took center stage to showcase their skills. The event embodied the essence of student-driven learning. Students coordinated an Indigenous site blessing, ribbon-cutting, appetizers prepared by culinary students, guided tours, robot demos, ECG monitoring, presentations, videos, and three music performances.


ribbon cutting


COSPRA's Medallion Award recognizes superior comprehensive school public relations programs and campaigns grounded in strategic communication best practices. The award will serve as a model for other school systems to replicate. Sluis said the Impact Grand Opening event is an example of a large, student-led event that can be modeled in other districts to meet a variety of goals, including: learning on display, elevating student voice, engaging the community, and evidence the district is living its mission. “Allowing students to be the communicators was the secret sauce of this unique campaign,” said Sluis.


Team Impact students


The district’s two-person Communications Department – Karla Sluis and Communications Specialist Paul Maddex – also won two additional COSPRA Digital Media Excellence Awards, which recognize outstanding education publications, e-newsletters, digital media programs, radio/TV/video programs, social media, infographics, blogs and websites. The two awards are: Award of Excellence for “Impact Branding Package,” which included the new logo, building signage, and online presence; and Award of Merit for “New Year, New Storytelling: 2024 Website Redesign” in the Internet/Intranet Website category. 


Sluis will receive the three awards and share the project details at the COSPRA Conference on June 4-7 Breckenridge.