Christopher receiving the bellA big heart and steadfast determination to finish his training at the Center despite significant health challenges are the things that fellow students and staff remarked on again and again Friday morning when Christopher was awarded his Bell of Freedom.

Julie Deden noted the disruption in the middle of his program as she presented his bell, and how he insisted on continuing. But the most important thing, said Julie, is that Christopher has “such a big heart”, and that he’s always ready to help others, volunteering to help out with youth programs and more.”

“Christopher’s determination was fueled perhaps by the successes of students after he arrived.

“Every time someone graduated, I told myself I was one graduation closer,” he said of the time before health issues temporarily intervened.

Christopher Dowdy shows us a tray of Hash Browns he made for his mini mealChristopher’s Bell of Freedom ceremony took place immediately following morning announcements. Though he served his grad meal a couple of weeks ago, he finished his last graduation requirements this week, including his drop on Thursday!

“You have a heart of gold,” and “Keep your heart open” typified the sentiments of fellow students and staff during the “love session” following the bell ceremony.

Though originally from Georgia, Christopher has an apartment and will stay in the Denver area.

“I know you’re going to succeed,” Julie told him. “You have the tools and the drive.”

Christopher showing really good technique rock climbing