September 9, 1916, was the opening day of the world’s first school geared to provide basic adult education and training in marketable skills. Emily’s Griffith’s Opportunity school lives on a century later, now called the Emily Griffith Technical College.
Emily Griffith’s pupils came from Denver’s poorest neighborhoods, and many were immigrants who did not speak English. Emily knew they would never do well until their parents acquired a basic education. She appealed to the Denver School Board for permission to open a revolutionary school that would provide a free education to any adult who needed a second chance. On opening day in 1916, Emily hoped that 200 adults would enroll. Instead, more than 1,400 showed up the first week! Griffith chose the name Opportunity School, “for all who wish to learn,” and educators around the world emulated her innovative concept. The college educates thousands of adults each year in practical skills and vocational training.
“For all who wish to learn.” —Emily Griffith