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Meet Sara Stern and Catalina Rincon of Stanley British Primary School-Stanley Scholars in Lowry

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sara Stern and Catalina Rincon.

Sara and Catalina, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
As an independent school in Denver that states in the mission our commitment to public purpose, we decided to include a program during our summer camp that serves students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend camp. As our Summer at Stanley program has grown over the last 20 years to serve 1200 students each summer, we felt that we should dedicate a program, taught by a faculty member, to allow 20+ campers to attend who qualify for free and reduced lunch through the state of Colorado. It started as a conversation with Sara Stern and Tim Barrier (our Head of School) around a table that was later implemented during the summer of 2016.

Sara reached out to a number of organizations to help enroll the first group of Stanley Scholars which included 20 students and two faculty members. In 2016, we learned a lot about what we need to improve upon and ran the Stanley Scholars in 2017 with Catalina Rincon (a current faculty member). We need to recruit more campers and make more connections throughout Denver to run the program successfully. Catalina and Sara went to schools, non-profit organizations and community boards to hopefully enroll at least 20 campers. It was trying but we ended up making a connect with a few different groups including to be able to run the camp.

This continued through 2018 and for the summer of 2019, we connected with Kenzi Causes, Spring Institute, African Leadership Group and Village Exchange to offer Stanley Scholars or other programs for children the organization serves. Last summer, during 2019, we had over 75 students from these organizations join us from anywhere between 2-7 weeks. Funding for Stanley Scholars was provided by Summer at Stanley/Stanley British Primary School. For 2020, we are hoping to expand the program to include more students and build awareness around this opportunity. We will also have to include fundraising to make the program sustainable.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The first year was extremely difficult. Before offering the program, Sara researched and met with other similar types of programs. We decided to offer it to children entering 3rd, 4th and 5th grade. Once we did get 20 students enrolled, we had two dedicated Stanley British Primary School teachers who were hired to run the program. Everything was a learning curve, from providing meals to swim lessons to attendance. There would be days where there were only 10 of the 20 campers in attendance. After year one, we had to go back to the drawing board to enhance our program.

We’d love to hear more about your organization.
The Stanley Scholars program is part of the Summer at Stanley program that is offered by Stanley British Primary School. Summer at Stanley serves 1200 students from all over during the summer and the classes are taught by Stanley Faculty. As a school, we are known for developing the “whole child.” Stanley was founded in 1972 by a woman named Carolyn Hambidge.

She started a single classroom that year focusing on making sure each child was engaged and challenged academically while growing socially and emotionally and having a strong emphasis on creativity. Our school has grown to 451 students, K-8, on the old Lowry Airforce Base. We are a very unique and sought-after school in Denver for our philosophy, values and mission.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Perseverance and humbleness. Willing to learn and connect.


  • Summer at Stanley is about $350/week.
  • Stanley Scholars is $25 for 2 weeks and includes; meals, swim lessons, early and after care.

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