Cotillion finale at Eagle County Charter School |

Cotillion finale at Eagle County Charter School

Annah Scully
Special to the Daily/Annah Scully

The Eagle County Charter School end of the year Cotillion Celebration took place Friday with a stunning dance showcase demonstrated debonairly by the entire fifth and six grade class, first for parents in the ECCA Hawk Room, followed by their own party at the Beaver Creek Chophouse.

What made this particular Cotillion finale extra special is that this year, Jennifer Loper, one of the most revered teachers in our district and the force behind the push for arts at ECCA, will be retiring after 30 years of inspiring students in the classroom.

“The arts are so important,” Loper said. “They give what we do in life heart and mankind needs the opportunity to express creativity, especially in this world of increasing technology. It keeps us in touch with our human spirit. This Cotillion is the best thing we do in terms of enrichment.”

Six years ago, Loper, along with her equally well-respected sidekick, Lee Stevenson, invited Vail Performing Arts Academy’s Artistic Director, Colin Meiring, to bring his wealth of theatrical knowledge and ballroom talent to their classes and create a Cotillion program to rival Dancing With The Stars.

Each Spring ECCA fifth and sixth graders meet weekly to acquire and practice proper etiquette and enjoy the art of social dance. From the traditional elegance of ballroom to the electrifying beat of Latin as well as trendy hip hop, these lucky students get to learn it all. The semester cumulates in a formal dance party where students not only dance with their partners, but also parents who get a chance to glide, spin, and dip under the learned guidance of their sons and daughters. It truly makes for a Kodak moment.

As parents beamed with joy watching their well-dressed, finely groomed children sashay about the room like mini-Fred and Gingers, many expressed deep gratitude for having Jennifer Loper as an inspirational educator who has made a huge difference in her student’s lives.

“Each of my six children learned to love to read because of Mrs. Loper,” said Jeanne Quagliano. “She has given them inspiration and a desire to be life-long learners.”

Susan Gruber agreed.

“I love the way Mrs. Loper looks into the eyes of her students with such interest and care,” she said. “She is an exceptional listener and infinitely talented.”

Loper expressed gratitude for her time as a teacher.

“I feel very privileged that I had the opportunity to work with kids and families and be part of their lives,” Loper said. “I have been so lucky to have a job that I love so much for so long. Students at this age are so open, eager to learn, and lovable, and I will miss that very much.”

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