DENVER (KDVR) — Dozens of students and several parents gathered outside of the Educational Service Center for Cherry Creek Schools on Monday, protesting for multiple deceased students to have seats and their names announced at graduation.

“It’s offensive. It’s like every bit of work they put in doesn’t exist anymore,” Shandi Strumpf said Monday.

Strumpf’s son, Ryan Nowlan and his best friend Jayden Alvarado were killed in a car accident back on Oct. 30, 2022.

“We just want them to say their names. Does it really take that much for them to say our sons names in graduation?” Mandee McLane-Alvarado, Jayden’s mom said.  

The mom’s attended the protest on Monday along with roughly 50 students. Many of them chanting “say their names” along with wearing t-shirts and signs with their friends names.

Both Jayden and Ryan, according to their mom’s were just six months shy of graduating.

“My son was eligible to graduate months before he passed and they still won’t honor his credits,” Strumpf said.

Friends and other parents of the deceased students started a petition on

“This was a challenging mental health year at Eaglecrest High School. Four of our students lost their lives too soon, and the entire student body was affected. Two students died by suicide and two seniors were killed in a tragic car accident, all within weeks of each other,” the petition stated.

FOX31 and Channel 2 reached out to the district who responded with the statement below:

“We are aware that about 45 students protested for a short time this morning in front of our central office. We value student voice and support our students exercising their First Amendment rights. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of students and staff we’ve lost this year at Eaglecrest and across the district. Graduation is meant to be a time of celebration for the senior class and we don’t want to intentionally draw focus away from their achievements. We try to strike a balance between honoring the students and respecting that individuals are in different stages of the grieving process. We work with families to find ways to honor their students. We offer a posthumous diploma for those in their senior year as well as a private ceremony at the school for families and friends, which the family declined in this case. Additionally, the students’ names will be included in the graduation program, which lists all candidates for graduation. The decision to include names of deceased seniors in the graduation book is a new practice that district leadership decided to implement after discussions in recent days.”

Lauren Snell, Public Information Officer & Social Media Manager CCS

Both Jayden’s and Ryan’s moms said the students had been in Cherry Creek School District since kindergarten.

“Again the big motto is once a raptor always a raptor but that doesn’t seem to be the thing in this case,” McLane-Alvarado said. “These kids worked their butts off and even though they were 6 months shy, there is no reason they should have been taken off of graduation,” McLane-Alvarado said.

Both moms said they want their sons’ names announced during the graduation ceremony and a seat in their honor at graduation.