Verde Valley School - Review #8
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||1991-1993|
|Sports and Activities:||I participated in two field trips that took me out of the country. I lived in Mexico for two weeks with a family of twenty-two with no running water and one electric socket to light their home. They were gracious hosts...much laughter and kindness exchanged. It was my first time out of the country...it changed my entire outlook on life and what it means to be an American. The next field trip took me to Belize for three weeks. It was a personally powerful time in my life and the trip brought me much joy and rich intuitive and sociological insights. The Verde Valley School exposed me to many cultures, customs and ceremonies one being participating in Native American Sweat lodges, Vegetarian cuisine, music, hiking, horses, African drumming, French culture and cooking, I was a part of the yearbook staff and the student senate. I participated in theater and did a lot of camping. It was a magical, rich rewarding academic and personally inspiring environment to live in.|
|College Enrolled:||City College San Francisco|
|Home Town, State:||Northampton, Mass., MA|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
The project period and field trip programs at the Verde Valley School were the learning experiences I valued most in high school. They have become stories and are experiences that even now, in my thirties, are still woven into my resume, work experiences and my ability to relate to people's that lives that are around me. Ironically I was just talking about working in the horse stables during a project period at the Verde Valley School today with my boss in the garden. I work for a non-profit in the bay area that employs low income teens to garden and become peer educators on issues regarding nutrition and food justice.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I traveled outside of the country and received the gift of an international perspective and a perspective on class for the first time. I had grown up in a middle-class New England setting, I had never lived with people from such diverse economic, international and racial backgrounds before...I became a world citizen at the Verde Valley School and for that I am eternally grateful. It has made me who I am today and I value and am proud of who I am today.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
No, I would not have done anything differently. I lived, loved and learned with an open heart and an open mind. I worked hard, and with sincerity. Academics, period, were always a challenge for me but I put a sincere foot forward and was always met with a sincere propelling gesture to pull me up and out of the muck and frustration I felt when immersed in academic life...my teachers met me where I was at and definitely participated in my success...I think it was in the intimate and communal environment of the Verde Valley School where I learned to communicate truthfully with my teachers and community about the support and help I needed. It was a great skill to have cultivated before going to college and living life as an adult.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The red rocks, the academics were rewarding and outstanding and the love and dedication that embodies the Verde Valley Community and has supported me ever since. It is a powerful community to be a part of.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Just be yourself...take it all in. It is an experience of a lifetime!
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I loved the small intimate and personal classrooms. My two favorite memories are of Sid one of the campus dogs wandering in to the classroom and jumping up on the half moon table for a stroll across it as the history teacher continued on about Reagonomics...(chuckle)it was so laid back and yet the academics were outstanding. My second memory was the rigorous African American literature class that was once a week for three hours at a professors home where we all shared a beautiful meal and passionately discussed the readings from that week...oh! and the incredible games we played outside in an environmental science class...I had such extraordinary passionate teachers, many of whom are still a part of my life as mentors, some have become friends, and some, have become family. It was a supportive and creative but rigorous academic environment.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I came from playing varsity field hockey all four years of high school...(I had dropped out of school but really wanted to finish and was looking for an alternative school to complete high school in and did that at the Verde Valley School)...I remember loving the athletic program at the Verde Valley School because it was so NOT a main stream competitive sports culture, at all, at the time ...although, I do believe that has changed a bit...but I did learn to hike and camp in the high dessert and that is still to this day one of the proudest accomplishments of my life...I love knowing that I could walk out into the high dessert in the middle of the night and feel safe, know how to walk, sleep and maneuver my way through with ease and enjoyment.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I took some dance classes which I loved and some theater classes that were so personally powerful and profound in regards to my performance and community response and support. It re-kindled my childhood love for theater working with John and Devorah...two inspiring drama coaches. My art teacher Thom Dougherty was my favorite art teacher ever...to this day...he is such a wise, talented, highly creative man (chuckle)...in fact I was just telling someone a story about him...I just loved all of my teachers at the Verde Valley School...all of them, really.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
Oh, there were trips into town and music and dancing night outs...shopping days and camping trips...root beer floats down at Chrissy and Jeff's house, Classical music at Griffs...always something just around the corner or hour to do...drumming on cow pie (a rock just outside of the girls dorms)...some wild art project to do outside...horses to ride...mud to roll and play in, a cliff to explore, a piano to play, a common room to hang in...we went to seminars on environmental issues and went to see music on college campuses and people from the community came to speak with us about their craft or their lives...during project period many alums would come back and teach something...It was the creativity of an international culture enmeshed in southwest culture in the middle of nowhere that made for all sorts of fun and magic.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Again, and international community blending into southwest culture was awkward and inspiring and titillating. Watching city kids for the first time walk out onto the rocks in the dark to watch the moon rise or to lie under a massive star filled sky...aughh, such power and longing the memory evokes...and with in a few weeks to see them walk with out fear, walk into the mystery and power of the high dessert and open country...Dorm life, Dorm parents it was one, safe and, fun...filled with fond memories of kindness, deep emotion and truths unfolding, mischievous giggles, family love happening and great stories in the works!
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
The town is Sedona, Arizona...such beautiful country. The hiking was incredible but the town itself was an enigma to me. I was fresh from New England culture so it was all a bit strange to me but intriguing.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
The social life was freeing. It inspired a feral spirit of self exploration and personal power through some form of creative expression whether it was found in the dessert or music ,in the horse program or simply through friends, the computer room, the Thereaou hut, chess games or even loneliness...all of it was compelling and poignant. I still keep in touch with not just fellow students but staff and faculty, are still, a part of my life...real community and love was generated. It is one of the most genuine communities I have ever lived in and probably the most magical and powerful times of my life.
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