Verde Valley School - Review #9
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||1987-1989|
|Sports and Activities:||I was and still am an avid horseback rider. VVS showed me how versatile horseback riding is. They taught students how to not only love trail riding but how to take it to the next level by competing in endurance rides. I also learned that not only did I love trail riding but I love dressage just as much. I would have stayed at the barn 24/7 if VVS did not ask students to do so much more...branch out let's say.While I was there I joined the Soccer team, I learned how to throw clay pots, I learn how to make silver jewelry, I was a dorm head, I was in charge of several school jobs and helped with several stage productions.|
|College Enrolled:||Ithaca College|
|Home Town, State:||San Francisco, CA|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
One or two examples don't do this school justice. However, if I had to pick two I think the two that impact the students the most are the way they engage you to become a global citizen in your thought and action, and their commitment to the environment. These attributes are evident in the school's curriculum, work jobs, sports, community life, and volunteer opportunities.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
I think the best thing VVS does is they ask you what type of person do you want to be when you grow up and then they ask you to work towards this. I think a boarding school can ask this of you as a teenager. I am not sure I would have responded the same if my parents had asked the same thing of me. A good boarding school can ask a teenager to take responsibility for their development and choices.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
I would have bought better bedding. Dorm beds are not as comfy as your bed at home so things like a eggshell crate foam pad for your bed or a feather duvet for under the sheets would have made a world of difference.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The community VVS creates for its staff, alumni and students. It is a place you want to return to years later. When you think back on it you are filled with wonderful memories that usually include the red rock surroundings, the beautifully buildings, the small class rooms, outdoor meetings/classes and dorm life.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Do not invest in white clothing of any sort (pants, shirts or shoes) because the red dust will turn it all pink in no time flat. This goes for your sheets and towels. Get to like colors. When your at VVS the red sand drives you nuts and when you leave you remember it fondly. Even now, I giggle at the thought of a new student worrying about their new white sneakers. It is a battle they will not win.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I really enjoyed the schools emphasis on taking a language or several. The Spanish I learned at VVS and continued learning in College has been such a great help to me through out my career.VVS not only encouraged me to take Spanish but taught me how to feel comfortable using it daily even though I am not fluent. They not only taught me Spanish but they taught me about the Mexican/Spanish culture. They introduced me to the culture and made me a part of its community and families for a short period in time in the annual field trips. To this day I love visiting or traveling to Spanish speaking countries and I feel a deep connection to their culture.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
Read the "Activities" entry. I enjoyed all the travel associated with competitive sports at VVS. To play against another team you had to drive at least to the next town and usually that meant Flagstaff. With the riding program, I loved loading up the horses and packing up equipment for a competition. This meant loading up the horse trailer and several cars. Then we would caravan to the competition and this was a lot of fun.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I really did not participate in these programs. I took a few classes that I enjoyed. I really liked their ceramics program and I still have a few pots around my house today that I made in it but it was not my biggest area of interest.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
The annual field trips where my favorite. For two weeks, you could choose to focus on a volunteer/community service opportunity. I still remember my first trip where I lived and worked with a woman who ran an after school program for troubled kids. She was so kind and sweet that I was surprised to see her quickly pin a kid to the floor on the second day I was there. The boy had picked a fight with another guy and they had to be separated. She calmly asked him to apologize, he did and she let him go. I had never seen a fight or a person being held against his will before that day. Over the next two weeks, I got to know and like this kid. He had anger issues that not only frustrated the staff but they frustrated him. I would have never understood him and his issues had I not been able to observe and participate for such an extended period of time.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
I like that the first year you are there they place you with an international room mate. It is a cultural experience for both you and your room mate.The rooms are really well thought out, in that you get your own room but you share a bathroom and a walk-in closet. They are thoughtfully designed and large.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
The dining hall is the center of campus and so meals are a very social activity. Plus the dining hall is really a wonderful building. All the tables are round so you are never talking down a table and almost everyone at the table participates in the conversations. The food was always healthy and this went for the snacks laid out between meals as well.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Sedona is a scenic destination for millions of people each year. The school's surroundings are spectacular and the valley the school is in is a gem. I think its view of Cathedral is one of the best views in Sedona. I am sure this is the reason why they host large outdoor concerts each summer for the locals on their soccer field.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
The VVS community is very tight knit, diverse and accepting. I had more fun and connected with more people at VVS than I did at college. Before arriving at VVS I had been overseas for many years and I had no clue what was cool or in fashion in the US. I am happy to say that I never had to worry about that at VVS. Finding friends was all about your interests, personality and energy level. This basically helped determine who you would hang out with the most.As a VVS alumni, the thing that most amazes me is the loyalty of students to VVS. To this day, the strongest instant connection I can make is when I meet another VVS grad. It amazes me to see that when I meet another alumni there is this unspoken bond, an understanding that we've share something very special...time at VVS.
|6:30 AM||Get up head and run to feed horses (work job)|
|3:15 PM||Class over|
|5:30 PM||Feed horses (work job)|
|7:00 PM||Study Hall|
|9:30 AM||Wake-up and go to feed horses (work job)|
|11:00 AM||Go riding with friends, probably to the creek to go for a swim|
|2:00 PM||Return from ride and hang out around barn (wash horses)|
|3:00 PM||Find something to eat and take shower|
|4:00 PM||Take nap|
|5:00 PM||Go to dinner|
|6:30 PM||Head into town for a movie|
|9:30 PM||Get back from movie and go to school store to buy ice cream|
|11:00 PM||in-dorms hanging out with room mates|
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