Steamboat Mountain School - Review #4
About the Author:
|Years Attended Boarding School:||2002-2004|
|Sports and Activities:||While I was a student at SMS, I enjoyed the host of outdoor activities offered from climbing 14,000 ft. mountains, rafting rivers, and skiing the best snow. These activities strengthened the bond between me and my classmates pushing us to challenge ourselves and each other and reach our goals personally and as a group...sometimes in the pouring rain.|
|College Enrolled:||Portland State University|
|Home Town, State:||Boulder, CO|
1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
(NOTE: I attended SMS my Junior and Senior year of high school) Not many teenagers can say they've traveled to Peru, Namibia, South Africa and Botswana before the age of 16 and not many high school students can say they went from not caring about school to seeking out teacher office hours and making Dean's List. The Global Immersion Studies (GIS) program and the academics at Steamboat Mountain School (SMS) truly make this school unique. Through travel, I was able to learn from different cultures, first hand, and participate in these communities through service programs abroad. Small class size, great student-teacher ratio and challenging academics made it impossible for me to hide in the back of the class. These two core aspects of SMS were brought together in a way that made me think creatively and increased my desire to learn and succeed.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
The best think that happened to me while in boarding school was a notable increase in self-confidence. I was surprised to find that if I applied myself and set goals, I was able to achieve success. I changed from a “C” student to a Deans List student, made lifelong friends and reconnect with my passion for the outdoors all core values that I carry with me today.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
If I could go back and do it again, I would try to immerse myself more in the community both at the school and in town. This was something that I grew into over the two years I attended, but it took time for me to adjust. I was resistant at first and would spend a lot of weekends traveling back to Boulder to visit friends and family. SMS had so much to offer and looking back I wish I would have and
4.) What did you like most about your school?
The teachers, the community, the lifestyle, the activities, traveling, skiing.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
No specific recommendations. Take a walk around the school, visit the hot springs and take a hike or a ski on the mountain! You’ll love it.
1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
At SMS, I felt that the teacher's truly cared about me, both academically and personally. Because of this level of care and attention to detail, teachers were able to draw connections between poor academic performance and personal struggle. I remember feeling reserved and disconnected one day in Algebra class and it wasn't until my teacher pulled me aside that afternoon to ask about my friends who I was missing from my hometown that I felt valued and cared about. The simple act of this teacher getting to know me further than whether or not I completed my homework made me feel more connected. It made me want to do better in her class and it made me feel more comfortable asking for help. This teacher, Meg Morse, is now the Head of School. Also, because of the diverse experiences outside of academics offered at SMS, teachers were able to draw on these real life experiences and relate them to the coursework. We were able to recall the trip to Peru during Geography class or while sitting on the ski lift, discuss the physics of skiing. The learning environment was unique and taken seriously. Teachers noticed when my grades were slipping and instead of saying "oh well, it's her lack of effort", they leaned-in to help me find the value of the courses I was taking. But, when I wasn't fully applying myself and my academics continued to slip I was placed in the mandatory study hall each evening after dinner until my grades improved.
1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I came to SMS at the beginning of my Junior year and entered the school as part of the Ski and Ride program. I wanted to train to be a competitive Snowboarder and I soon found out that I was among some of the best skiers and boarders in my age group. SMS would shuttle students into Steamboat each morning in the fall and winter for sports conditioning such as weight training, hill running and box jumps. In the afternoons, we would head to Mt. Warner for an afternoon of skiing with professional coaches from the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports program. It was clear to me that these instructors took their jobs very seriously and expected the same of their athletes. At the same time, SMS staff would ensure that you stayed on top of academics and continued to be involved in the SMS community. One teacher noticed that I wasn't as involved and suggested I switch out of the competitive program to join the Recreational Ski and Ride program...this was an important adjustment for me. I was happier because I was able to spend more time making friends and less time training for competition. But, because I we still went to Mt. Warner 3 days a week to snowboard or ski after school, I was able to continue doing a sport I loved.
1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
While I was at SMS I took the Film Production class and learned how to script, film and edit short videos. I have vivid memories of working late into the evening in the small "film editing room" taking our favorite clips and piecing them together with sound, etc. Once all the films from the class were finished the school hosted an assembly where we presented each short video to the complete student body. In the class we also watched and discussed classic films.
1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
I participated in the Yearbook club when I was at SMS. We were able to carry a camera (before wall all had them in our pockets) and take pictures of the student body later arranging them with other sections in the yearbook. Also, community service/volunteer opportunities was and still is a core value at SMS. Service projects were required and encouraged on campus, throughout the town of Steamboat Springs, within communities visited wile on GIS trips, and in the natural environment. In the first week of school, the complete student body attended an all-day volunteer service project in town which was a great opportunity to bond with other classmates and feel more connected to the community (since I was a boarding student this was key!). I also remember painting hop-scotch and four-square on a school playground for a remote town in Peru and passing out books to students at school in South Africa! The value of community service has continued to be an important aspect of my life. After I graduated college, I completed a year of service as an AmeriCorps member working with teenagers in the foster-card system and volunteered my time for other mentoring programs.
1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
Some of my fondest memories at SMS took place in the Elizabeth Hall, the main girl’s dorm when I was a student. For my Junior year, I shared a room with a student from Croatia and for my Senior year I was lucky enough to have my own room. There was a great common space with a small kitchen, stove, oven and fridge that we all shared, as well as two shared bathrooms. Most of our time was spent watching movies, doing homework or just sitting around chatting. We all had a responsibility to maintain cleanliness of our rooms and common areas and had a rotating schedule for every task. The dorm had one live-in, full-time “parent” and an intern who would help us get to and from town for personal appointments, provide advice and make sure we’re completing our chores, homework etc. I loved my dorm parent. She and her family became my adopted family while I was living away from home.
1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
At SMS, three meals a day are served in the dining hall where students and faculty eat together. We also had access to snacks to keep in our bags or cubbies throughout the day. All students would rotate maintaining the cleanliness of the kitchen (helping with dishes, etc.) and dining room (sweeping and mopping). Town Life Steamboat Springs is a GREAT town. It was the perfect size for me as it was small enough for a High School student to get to know, but also large enough to have the restaurants, stores and activities I like when I had free time in town (Starbucks, Movie Theater, etc.) Also, because of its natural setting, there's a host of wonderful outdoor activities. We were able to ski at the ski resort in town, kayak on the Yampa river that flows through town and hike at Fish Creek falls.
1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Steamboat Springs is a GREAT town. It was the perfect size for me as it was small enough for a High School student to get to know, but also large enough to have the restaurants, stores and activities I like when I had free time in town (Starbucks, Movie Theater, etc.) Also, because of its natural setting, there's a host of wonderful outdoor activities. We were able to ski at the ski resort in town, kayak on the Yampa river that flows through town and hike at Fish Creek falls.
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
Social life at SMS consisted of hanging out in our respective dorms or in the common areas. Some students played around on the climbing wall, others on the skate ramp, or watched movies in the loft. Other times, we were able to participate in activities in town like going to a movie or visiting a Day Student's home for the afternoon/evening.
Alumni Reviews Review School
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- University of Chicago The faculty's drive to push your limits physically and mentally is fantastic preparation for college and life. The small student body lets each faculty member get to know you personally, facilitating the overall learning experience. . .
- University of Puget Sound It might be a bit surprising to most people when I tell them that my graduating class consisted of nine or that my whole school's student body was around 40. Although many people may be. . .
- Bowdoin College I can describe one of the most important and unique aspects about SMS in three letters: GIS. The Global Immersions Studies program is one of the most incredible things I have encountered. As of 2013. . .
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