Since 2011 Peace Paper Project has used papermaking as art therapy, social action and fine art, and has helped establish 35 studios across the globe including Australia, Turkey, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and USA.
This evening, the lights went out at Verde Valley School. I was just getting home and “a white light” flashed in the sky and then everything was eerily quiet. No electricity? I was immediately perturbed. How could I finish the work I just carried home? How could we make dinner? How could I catch this new Netflix show later on? Heavy was my burden! Poor, poor me! I decided to just sit and breathe. I would try and enjoy a little solitude. It was a fast passing storm and soon it began to clear to the northwest and I watched with fascination as the natural light began to take shape and the shadows of the setting sun danced across Cathedral Rock. This was a gift. A forced slow down. I embraced it. After all, we happen to live on one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes with a multi-million dollar view. And still, no electricity. So, I sat and thought about sitting and thinking.
What is a CSA?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) reconnects people with the farms that produce their food, improving personal health, community vitality, and environmental stewardship. By registering as a Verde Valley School Farm CSA member you become a steward of the local farmland while investing in our school’s guiding principles of environmental stewardship, the value of physical labor, and service to others.
Customers support our farm through becoming members and buying a share of the year’s harvest in advance. Throughout the season, CSA members will receive a bounty of delicious, flavorful, local farm food with a monthly newsletter about the farm with special seasonal recipes. Enjoy the bounty of our farm’s crops with your family!
Ceramics featured above by Harris Truong ’17
Dr. Jules Troyer, Dean of Students and Residential Life
Bond : bänd/
gerund or present participle: bonding; noun: bonding
- join or be joined securely to something else, typically by means of an adhesive substance, heat, or pressure.
The Verde Valley School experience is so much more than academics. The magic of VVS is created from the warmth of genuine connections with other members of the community. These connections are the glue that also keep our alumni coming back year after year to visit. This is the reason we offer many opportunities every semester for students to engage in class and dorm bonding events. These are events that occur outside the normal academic day and allow students to relax and have fun with their cohorts. These events are student selected and supervised by class advisors or dorm parents.
Recently, the sophomore class, led by their class advisor James Taylor, spent a delightful Saturday ice skating in Flagstaff. The freshman class and their advisor Caleb Kulfan, chose to chill out and have a really cool movie night in Brady Hall. The girls of the Sears dormitory also enjoyed a fabulous skating adventure with their dorm parents, Jeremy and Bridget Broomfield. The girls of Motel dorm were treated to a movie night by their dorm parent Des Pastin; spending the evening giggling and whispering in the library.
The boys of Christensen, along with their dorm parents Caleb Kulfan and Matt Mortellaro, decided to enjoy bowling and a delicious dinner out at a local Chinese restaurant. Kevin Robb coordinated another awesome bowling trip for the boys of Perkins dorm.
These types of events allow students some down time to help balance out intense days of academics and service; while also providing opportunities to make some of those magical memories that adhere each student to the legacy of VVS.
Kingston Robinson (Senior, Trombone)
The VVS Jazz Ensemble had an amazing opportunity to participate in the NAU Jazz Festival on Friday, February 24th. About 60 different bands from schools from all over Arizona played at this event. To prepare for the Jazz Festival, we practiced once every week since everyone returned from Winter Break. During this time, we practiced three new songs, Evil Ways, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, and Garota de Ipanema. We performed these songs along with our previously learned pieces On Broadway, Don’t Know Why, and All About That Bass.
From the moment we stepped foot in Ardrey Auditorium, I knew that our ensemble was unique. Before our performance, we had the privilege of listening to three other high school bands. They all wore black slacks and shirts with ties and had saxophone, trumpet, and trombone quartet sections accompanied by drums and piano. In other words, these schools had classic brass bands. They didn’t have woodwinds, strings, or a singer. But we did!
When it was time to perform, we were led through the hallways to a warm-up room as we waited for the stage to become available. I was happy to practice one last time, relieving some of the anxiety I assume all of us experienced. It was quite an interesting perspective seeing the 1,300 auditorium seats from the stage we were watching just moments earlier. Our performance was great! There weren’t any problems as we played our six contemporary pieces.
After the performance, we attended a clinic where we were given feedback on our performance. We were asked questions like “What is jazz?” or “Who are your favorite jazz musicians?” with the intention of teaching us about the history and elements of jazz. As we replayed a couple of our pieces, our clinician suggested specific improvements and taught us techniques such as subdividing the beat, making it easier to capture the “groove” of the song. After this session, I felt like I had a better understanding of the “essence” of jazz.
At the end of the night, we were treated to a concert by the NAU Jazz Band and guest professional trombone and saxophone players. The concert opened with a fusion combo that had an electrifying solo guitarist who made playing fast seem easy. Then, the trombonist and saxophonists each played solos before playing with the NAU Jazz Band. These musicians played perfectly. The skill required for the range, speed, and complexity of their rhythms was quite inspiring. I hope to one day be half as good as they are. I’m grateful that our ensemble was able to play in the festival and experience what jazz music is really all about. Not too bad for such a small school!
One of the Verde Valley School Guiding Principles is Environmental Stewardship – nebulous words that can mean many things to many different people – person to person, family to family, and culture to culture. When I volunteered to take on the role of Sustainability Coordinator here at VVS it was because I didn’t want to lose the gains made by a group of people tied to the school. We had made progress despite nearly constant disagreement about the path forward.
Sean Fagan, Director of Admissions
Verde Valley School recently welcomed 19 educational consultants to our campus. These consultants work primarily with international families looking for a US or Canadian boarding school placement for their children. The group was touring VVS and a number of other west coast boarding schools. The consultants, representing some 12 countries, paid close attention to our student panel as they described their reasons for choosing VVS and their experiences here to date. When asked to describe VVS in three words, a senior answered, “Mesmerizing, challenging, and loving.” This seemed a particularly gratifying description of all that we try to accomplish here.
According to The National Association of Independent Schools, the average percentage of international students enrolled in their member schools is 17.1%. At VVS, the number is over 50%. This is intentional and aligned with the original vision of our founders, Ham and Babs Warren, when they started the school in 1948. The value of world citizenship always has been, and remains, an essential ingredient of the VVS experience!
In other news, re-enrollment contracts for next year were sent out in late January. VVS typically retains over 93% of students offered re-enrollment.
And on a final note, 40 eighth grade students from Mountain View Prep in nearby Cottonwood, AZ recently spent a few hours at VVS — meeting our students, touring the school, enjoying lunch and attending Community Meeting. MVP (grades K-8) offers the IB curriculum and we are working closely with leadership there to better position VVS as a logical next step for their families.
Sedona Arts Center and Verde Valley School Invite Creative People from Around the World to a New American Residency Program for Artists and Cultural Managers.
Something magical is happening in the high desert landscape of Northern Arizona. In the geological expanses of Sedona, there’s a powerful form of creative energy pulsating from the red rock vortexes—and at its core is new cultural production and support for the creative process.