Remembering Alexander (Alex) Acosta
An Exceptional Warrior, Son, Brother and Co-Worker
When The Aurora Highlands residents and visitors walk through Hogan Park at Highlands Creek, they will pass a commemorative plaque honoring a young man named Alexander (Alex) Acosta in front of the Totem Triad art installation.
Alex was a dedicated employee and friend to everyone at The Aurora Highlands. He passed away suddenly on November 2, 2022 at the young age of 19 due to unforeseen medical complications. He leaves behind a loving family and a large group of coworkers who all miss him dearly.
During the unveiling of his commemorative plaque in July 2023, Alex’s family visited from all parts of Colorado and the country to join employees and residents of The Aurora Highlands to remember Alex and what he meant to the community.
“Alex was the best employee I ever had,” James Hannon, art program coordinator for the district, said. “We worked together, day and night, on various projects throughout the community. He always showed up to work with a positive attitude and a smile.”
One of the biggest projects Alex worked on at The Aurora Highlands was the art installations along the community’s Hogan Park at Highlands Creek. Not only did he throw himself into these projects physically, but also spiritually. He would ask the artists questions about their work, always wanting to learn more about the meaning behind each installation.
“This curiosity taught me so much more about the Alex we thought we knew so well,” Carla Ferreira, Principal and Director of Onsite Development, said. “Yes, he cared deeply about his family, his friends and his job. But, he also cared about his place in this world and the deeper meaning behind what he was doing.”
While Alex helped erect numerous works of art within The Aurora Highlands, including Life Blood and the community’s first Public Signs of Awareness, his favorite installation was artist Lisa Solberg’s Totem Triad, where his commemorative plaque now lives.
“While we were reminiscing about Alex earlier, we were trying to imagine how he would react to seeing this plaque,” Alex’s sister, Nicole Acosta, said during her speech at the unveiling ceremony. “He wouldn’t believe that he received such recognition. My mom said that he would be jumping with excitement, with a big smile on his face. We all agreed that Alex deserved this and so much more.”
The Aurora Highlands hopes people will see Alex’s plaque, hear his story and become inspired to live life the way Alex did: With a childlike sense of curiosity and mindfulness.
“For me, I will always think about Alex when I look at this art installation,” Ferreira said. “No matter where my mind takes me in this space, Alex will always bring me back to the present. In these incredibly powerful times of clarity, I will know that he’s still here.”
When you come across someone…who so clearly lives a life filled with passion, dedication, motivation and love…you do not want to let them go. To us, that was Alex…a young man who personified these incredible qualities in so many ways in his work here at The Aurora Highlands. But, it was his dedication to our art park that really blew me away. He threw himself into this project, not just physically, but spiritually.
We all watched as he became intrigued…working day and night, in heat and cold…thoughtfully installing each piece of art that you see in the park today.
We’d overhear him asking…What does this mean? What’s the symbolism in this curve? Why did the artist make this choice?
This curiosity taught me so much more about the Alex we thought we knew so well. Yes, he cared deeply about his family, his friends, his job…but he also cared about his place in this world….the deeper meaning behind what he was doing…right here…right now. That kind of perspective is inspiring. Just ask anyone he worked with.
These mysterious totems were his favorite. He loved that everyone will interpret this work differently, and everyone has a place to sit with their thoughts, whatever those thoughts might be.
For me, I will always think about Alex here. No matter where my mind takes me in this space, Alex will always bring me back to the present. And in these incredibly powerful times of clarity, I will know…that he’s still here.