Although the Emily Griffith Technical College will soon be leaving the building it's occupied since 1926 -- Denver Public Schools is moving the facility into a renovated building at 1860 Lincoln Street -- some traditions will never end. And today, the school will honor the birthday of founder Emily Griffith by serving free soup for students and friends in the business community.
Emily Griffith was a substitute teacher in DPS when she realized that many potential students were being ignored -- and she approached the district about creating a new kind of school. In 1916, she opened that school in a decrepit, empty school downtown, offering night classes, English classes for immigrants and technical training classes so that students could find careers. Because many of those students were poor and hungry, Emily Griffith and her sister, Florence, began serving soup -- made by their mother -- each evening. That tradition continued for more than a decade.
What started out as the Opportunity School was renamed for Emily Griffith after she retired; it remains one of Denver's unsung treasures.
The soup and rolls being served today were created by GTC culinary arts students, and will be served by administrative staff. At the new facility, those culinary students will have a state-of-the-art teaching kitchen, as well as a streetside cafe that will be open to the public.
DPS is selling the Emily Griffith campus; the circa 1926 building that replaced the school's original home has been recommended for landmark status, as have several neighboring structures.
So the legacy of Emily Griffith will live on; raise a spoon and salute her today.
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