What I Learned at Eagle Rock

A graduate’s perspective: Ana Rivera (Class of 2011)

Everything was a new experience

I decided to enroll at the Eagle Rock School on a trial basis because the high school I was attending before wasn’t challenging me, and my sister had graduated from this school. She got to experience things like traveling all around the country while she was at the school, and I thought I’d like to have the same kinds of experiences. The staff and teacher trainees really support you, and they’re very friendly. It’s important to have a support network like this. I learned a lot from my classes here. At first I fell behind in class because I wasn’t able to bring myself to ask for help, but eventually I came to understand that I needed to study thanks to the support of everyone around me. Now I’m interested in a lot of things.

I experienced hiking and other outdoor activities for the first time at Eagle Rock. I still talk about those experiences with my friends today, and every picture I have from that time brings back fond memories. I also learned a lot about how to communicate with people you’re meeting for the first time. It was a really great experience.

This summer, I’m working at Rocky Mountain National Park. I worked there before as part of a class at the school, and I’ve maintained a good relationship with the people there ever since.

A graduate’s perspective: Rafael McLeod (Class of 2011)

I was able to take a serious look at myself

I realized that experience-based learning is the best way for me to study. At my last school, there were 30 students for every teacher, and class consisted of just listening to the teacher talk. When a close friend started coming to this school, I took the opportunity to visit a few classes. There were only about 10 students in the class, and I liked how they all sat in a circle. Everybody was equal, and multiple teachers supported the students. The teachers here are enthusiastic and passionate about education. They always support you, and when you have a problem they’re happy to give you advice. Since you live together and see them every day, you develop a different level of relationship compared to other schools.

We visited Lost Creek (a wilderness area located in central Colorado) as part of an outdoor program. There’s an activity called the “four-day solo” where you spend four days alone thinking about and answering a number of questions. That was a new experience for me, and I realized what a wonderful and important place this school is.

I also have fond memories of a class where we made a canoe. The teacher really took a practical, hands-on approach to teaching. We would spend two days in the classroom, followed by two days of doing actual work on the canoe. I have a very visual way of remembering things, so seeing the teacher actually show us things as he taught made the lessons really easy to understand. At this school, the teachers show you things with their own hands while they teach. It’s a great method.

In the future, I’m interested in studying emergency medicine. The school has also supported me in this field, and I was able to participate in an internship that allowed me to ride along on an ambulance.

Example activity: Internship at Rocky Mountain National Park

In 2008, the Eagle Rock School began an internship program with the National Park Service and Rocky Mountain National Park, which is located just one mile from the school, as an experiment aimed at enriching the park’s diverse staff. Students from the school help out with park work such as raising seedlings, repairing vehicles, and recycling. The program, which allows participating students to work at the park after they graduate, has been adopted as a model for other national parks.

A day at the Eagle Rock School

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