The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

Behind the Scenes

Meet Two of the People Keeping Creek Running
Wryn Duepre & Kellen Ringland
Donald Duvall Jr., the assistant track and field coach and a member of the West Cafeteria staff, is part of a community at Creek who work “behind the scenes” jobs – but those jobs are no less important than any teacher or administration. Duvall, and many others, are more than their profession.

When students come to school, their lives revolve around themselves: their homework, their relationships, their livelihoods. But behind this success are hundreds of staff members keeping the school alive. And many, like the ones you will come to learn about, sit tucked into corners, and stand behind registers. People that are essential to Creek, and in turn, are essential to you, often go unnoticed. But here, I hope to raise that veil, and let you understand them as they understand us.

Dr. Kelly Albada, Principal’s Assistant and Office Manager

Dr. Kelly Albada is not just Principal Silva’s assistant and office manager; She’s a PhD, a professor, an R&B fan, and world traveler. (Wryn Duepre)

Walking into the main office, you get hit with the reverie of principality. Awards are scattered on various surfaces, and dark blue paint coats the forward facing walls, representing true Creek Spirit. But tucked to the left of this opening, behind a wooden desk covered in pridefully written notes filled with scrawled handwriting, sits Doctor Kelly Albada, who has an affinity for travel, grunge music, and teaching.

Albada went to Dayton University, in the town she grew up in, for both her bachelor’s and master’s degree in communication. Then, making a jump from snowy Ohio to Sunny Texas, Albada went to get her PhD in mass communications at 24. “I met this cohort of PhD students. And so we would get together for Friends giving and we would go to happy hours and we’d go out and see live music,” she said. “There’s a lake called Lake Travis. We’d go out there and go swimming. [I] had a great roommate that I met when I got there. And I think it was just a good experience.”

After receiving her degree from University of Texas, Albada began to teach, starting at North Carolina State University. “I taught a lot of different communication classes, everything from communication theory to quantitative research methods, but I loved teaching nonverbal communication,” she said. “I got interested in it as a student because I thought you could go into any type of industry, but you could also just relate to it in your personal life. It was just something I found fascinating.” Even now, as Creek’s office manager, Albada still applies the lessons she’s taught, and learned. “I might edit letters that Mr. Silva is going to send out to the community. So back to some of my writing skills. And then I do a lot of communication on the phone, because we field a lot of phone calls.”

With a music scene so incredible in Colorado, Albada tries to take advantage of the concert’s held. “I definitely have an affinity for all the ‘90s grunge sound music. I’ve seen Pearl Jam a couple times,” she said. “We were gonna go see Gary Clark Jr. out at Red Rocks, and it was my opportunity to go watch my daughter row [at] the ACC championship. And I was like, ‘that’s the only time I get to see her.’ So we had to miss [the concert.]” Albada’s appreciation extends beyond the music itself. “I love doing that when we get the opportunity. And Red Rocks is fabulous.”

Albada’s husband, who she met during her PhD study at UT-Austin, is originally from Trinidad and Tobago, a place she has frequented, along with many other countries. “We’ve been to England. We’ve been to Holland. We went to Spain last summer. My kids started traveling when they were babies,” she said. And when she travels, immersion is her priority. “I enjoy learning [about] different cultures. I always have the philosophy that, if at all possible, ‘go local.’ I want to eat what they eat, [as] if [I] were going to live there. I don’t want to go to the part that’s been Americanized.”

Donald Duvall Jr., Cafeteria Staff and Asst. Track and Field Coach

Donald Duvall Jr. at work, serving students at the West Cafeteria counter. But his interest in athletics, his history as an army veteran, and his dreams to be a track coach make him much more than a cafeteria worker. (Wryn Duepre)

Leading me through the back of West Cafe, Donald Duvall Jr. sat down in a seasoned gray office. His bright purple shirt matched the canned fruit scattered in the background, painting Duvall as colorful and varied, something that I would soon find to be true. This isn’t Duvall’s first career, or his original plan, but somewhere along the way he found value in serving food, and helping those around him.

Duvall began his academic career at Hinkley High School in Aurora, where he graduated in 2006. Then, with a full ride scholarship to University of Mary in North Dakota, Duvall planned to run track and field.“[My NCAA Clearinghouse] just kept saying pending. Me and my coach would call up there and I don’t know, it just wasn’t meant to be. I didn’t get kicked off the team. But I couldn’t practice,” he said. “I was like, ‘Whoa, but we have to figure this out.’ And I just didn’t see too much effort from him either. So I was like, ‘well, it’s cold up here. Time to go home.’ It’s cold out here too, but it’s different.” He returned to Colorado, and went to Otero Junior College in La Junta. “It was fine. I just went there because my friends went there,” he said. Now, after leaving Otero years ago, Duvall is taking night classes at MSU Denver. “I first started out as a full time student. And it just was not good. I couldn’t do it. It’s very, very hard.”

Duvall’s daughter, who runs track and field, came up with the idea to make her own uniform. “And then that’s what we did. Basically, we just did our research on most of it. Leggings are super big. And so we’re basically in the process of just trying to put it all out in our company,” he said. The company, called Zip it Up, features an emoji with a zipper over its mouth.“It’s just like, ‘Shut up and work. It’s time to work.’”

After leaving Otero Junior College, Duvall joined the army, following in his Grandfather’s footsteps.“It’s really hard to get under my skin, which is a good thing. I love all the physical training and all of that stuff. You know, I liked it. But it is not for everybody. It’s a lot of standing around outside,” he said. Duvall returned in 2015 because of the birth of his daughter. “I went to Afghanistan and came back Mar. 20 of 2014. You have children and you have to put your life in danger like that. I would rather be with my family than be stressed out about never seeing them again, and them not seeing me.” After returning to the U.S, Duvall felt disconnected. “I was really cold. I was happy, but I just wasn’t reactive. [Coming back] wasn’t hard, but I was kind of scared,” he said. “I just wasn’t used to it.”

Since running track and field in high school, Duvall has turned to coaching as an athletic outlet, something that he will continue at Creek. “I’ve worked in the kitchen for years. And now hopefully, will be the assistant one of the assistant coaches for track and field,” he said. “I just coached my daughter in the hurdles to nationals in her first year of running.” But his expertise extends beyond just his family.“I have a lot of knowledge and it wouldn’t make sense for me to just keep it in my head.”

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About the Contributors
Alex Gribb
Alex Gribb, Editor-in-Chief
Hi, I’m Alex Gribb. This is my third and final year at the USJ.  As the Editor-in-Chief, I hope to inform the Student Body, while also investigating hard-hitting stories. I love writing in all genres, except for news, and I am really excited to work with such an amazing staff this year. If I'm not working on journalism, which I always am, you can find me reading a good book, baking, or going on late-night coffee runs with my friends. I have amazing music taste, and my top three artists are Beyoncé, Laufey, and Weston Estate.
Wryn Duepre
Wryn Duepre, Chief Photographer
Hi, my name is Wryn and I am a senior! I am the Chief Photographer for the USJ and this is my second year doing so! I love writing, reading, and taking pictures. I am a freelance photographer in my spare time and I love teaching photography and creating impactful photos that tell stories!

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