Celebrating Our Best KDS Traditions!

If there’s one common aspect to truly great school traditions, it’s that no one is quite sure how they began...

They seem to develop organically—novel ideas tried once, then repeated; new elements added here; different approaches tried there—allowing the activities to become better and more beloved each year.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Assembly and MLK Marade

Each January, Kent Denver students, faculty, alumni, families and friends come together to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and to march in Denver's Marade.

For the past 20+ years, the entire Kent Denver community has celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at special Middle and Upper School assemblies in the week leading up to the MLK Day.

On the MLK holiday, many members of our community meet in Denver's City Park to march for justice at the MLK Marade, the largest celebration of its kind in the nation.

2021 MLK Assembly

2020 MLK Marade

College Care Packages

To show our most recent graduates how much we appreciate them, KDS sends care packages ahead of their first round of college finals.

Each graduate will receive one of 119 packages containing freshly baked cookies, tea, mints and personalized notes of encouragement signed by current students, teachers, coaches and administrators.

The tradition of sending care packages to college freshmen was started by Scott Yates more than 30 years ago!

Thanksgiving Service with CHCS

The KDS community plays a significant role in helping Capitol Hill Community Services (CHCS) provide a festive Thanksgiving meal for for homeless men, women and children in downtown Denver.

The week of Thanksgiving, sixth-graders make more than 80 pies and and decorate placemats for the CHCS celebration, and their families donate more than a dozen cooked turkeys. The food and decorations are delivered to CHCS and served by coaches and players from Kent Denver's basketball program.

For the past 30+ years, Kent Denver sixth-graders have volunteered weekly at CHCS's soup kitchen, and the tradition of the basketball team serving Thanksgiving dinner goes back at least 25 years.!

Homecoming & Spirit Week

Homecoming and Spirit Week give students a chance to show their Sun Devil Spirit!

Student leaders choose costume themes for each day of Spirit Week, which culminates with Homecoming festivities and varsity soccer and football games.


Opening Day Heroes

Each year, seniors dress in costume to greet fellow students on the first day of class.

Upper School Director Eric Chandler isn’t sure when this tradition started, but it’s been a hallmark of his 13 years at the school.

As for how seniors select their annual theme, Dr. Chandler says, “Students and their families usually meet with their class dean a few days before Opening Day to discuss options. The deliberation includes generating ideas, debating them and then voting for one.”

Opening Day festivities let school leaders welcome younger students to campus.

Seniors had just four days to create their costumes in the early years of the tradition. Recent classes have five!

At Kent Denver, everyone joins in celebrations. It's part of being in a community that enjoys having fun.

Senior class deans wear Opening Day costumes, too!

How do parents feel about Opening Day celebrations? Dave, father of a student in the Class of 2024, shared his thoughts in this letter:

Dear Senior Class and KDS Family,

As a parent of a child entering her first year of Middle School, I began the day with a sense of immense gratitude for the opportunities and open arms awaiting her at KDS. As we drove to school this morning, my daughter was unusually quiet, a silence that, for her, normally accompanies deep and focused reflection. I knew she was excited, but nervous. And she knew she was excited, but nervous. My grandiose and obnoxious speech about her participating in one of the greatest learning institutions in the country, offered during a red light, only wound her up further.

Imagine yourself joining an entirely unfamiliar group of peers—a new tribe—in a new place, without any sense for the larger context. How intimidated you might feel, how vulnerable. How small and unknown, yet racked with the sense that every misstep you might make will be magnified to socially crippling proportions. Imagine that feeling. Now, imagine rounding the corner to find the elders of your new tribe (dressed perfectly for the occasion), waving their arms with joy and cheering you on as though you'd been a part of the group all along. Imagine how relieved, how welcomed, how safe and legitimate and loved you would feel.

This is the feeling that you inspired in my daughter this morning as she rounded the corner to this next phase in her journey. I cannot offer enough sincere thanks for your willingness to show up in this way for the new incoming students.

Someday, as parents, you too might experience this gratitude...it’s glorious!