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.
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.
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.
Verde Valley School is excited to announce its first-ever, non-competitive 5K fun run on March 25th. The 2017 VVS Dream Run will begin and end on the school campus, located at 3511 Verde Valley School Road, Sedona, starting at 9:00am, and is open to all ages and abilities.
The event is a fundraiser with all proceeds going toward tuition fees for Native American students at Verde Valley School. The registration fee is $30 per person and includes an attractive dri-fit t-shirt featuring the iconic Dream Run logo. There is also a reduced fee of $20 for students 19 and under. Registration details can be found online HERE, or by contacting Dream Run organizer, Leigh Carter at email@example.com or 520-234-6881.
We are hitting the road this year to celebrate 68 years with VVS Alumni! Head of School, Paul Amadio, and Alumni Engagement Coordinator, Jenae McCarroll, are co-hosting lively events across the country, with class agents and VVS ambassadors. Check out the events coming to your area and save the date in your calendar, today. Make sure to contact us to let us know you are coming, or if you would like to help do outreach or host an event. Hope to see you all very soon! Continue Reading…
Verde Valley School Announces College Launch AZ for Summer 2017
With generous support from the Arizona Community Foundation, Sedona-based Verde Valley School will host its inaugural College Launch AZ June 19-25, 2017. College Launch is a tuition-free, week long residential College Application Workshop for twenty high-achieving 10th and 11th grade students from historically underrepresented communities in the Verde Valley and throughout Arizona. Continue Reading…
Mike Spielman ~ VVS Farm Manager
We planted garlic the other day. It went into one of the first beds we ever dug back in 2013, just to the south of the gate between a fading amaranth and the frozen stems of a Roma Olorode. I remember the three students who helped chop that dirt for the first time: one from California, another from South Korea, and the other from Saudi Arabia. We wondered if life was more like a circle or a spiral. We had no answers. Only wonder.
December is my favorite time on the farm. Cabbages and greens are tucked beneath their winter sheets. The leaves of the fruit trees have blown into their wells. The Osgood Greenhouse is full of banana plants, mangoes and peppers. Seeds are drying. Squash are cured. The field is laid bare and we can begin to dream about next year’s design.
Walking around the new expansion I remember that this time last year it did not exist. There was no greenhouse either. The fencing for the southern expansion is now more than half done. Last month we ordered 57 fruit trees. Fifty seven fruit trees! Eleven pears. Seven peaches. Six plums. Sixteen apples. Persimmons, nectarines, quince and sixty grape vines too. A lot of holes to dig between now and March!
We are back at the Sedona Farmer’s Market. Please stop in and say hello if you are local. We are selling heirloom beans, winter squash, dried peppers, and Jerusalem artichokes. Most of the greens right now are going to the Yavapai Food Council. If you are a gardener and live far away, drop us a line. We’ll send some seeds.
A thousand thank you’s to all who have supported us this year! We are honored and blessed and as always, excited to get back to work.
Sean Fagan ~ Director of Admissions
Our Director of Admissions, Sean Fagan, recently spent a three-week stretch in China visiting with prospective students and families, current Verde Valley School families, international and Chinese schools, agents and educational consultants. The cities he visited included Beijing, Jinan, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Dalian.
Many Chinese value the “western” educational approach (i.e., the emphasis on critical thinking, experiential learning, collaboration, smaller class sizes, etc.) and thoroughly enjoy learning more about a unique school like VVS. They are very appreciative that a boarding school experience can offer a Chinese student cultural immersion, a sense of independence, a higher level of English proficiency, and help prepare them for successful college/university study in the US.
Currently, there are approximately 38,000 Chinese secondary students in US schools and some 350,000 in US universities and colleges.
“The demand from the Chinese for a US education is strong,” says Fagan. “Education in China is very focused on testing and preparing for annual national exams. Many families are looking at US schools as an alternative. They also value the reputation of US colleges and universities.”
Sean was able to meet with, and interview, eight prospective students in China, and presented to six educational consultancy groups on his trip. He visited three schools (one international and two Chinese) to discuss possible future collaborations. Current families eagerly expressed their happiness with the experiences their children are having at VVS.
VVS also recruits in Europe. Associate Director of Admissions, Shannon Jakes, has recently returned from a recruiting in tour in Germany that took her to school fairs in Munich, Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Duesseldorf, Hamburg and Berlin.She was able to talk with 15 different German families throughout her week of travel. She found that the students and families she met were eager to experience a school, such as VVS, with an emphasis on experiential and outdoor programs. She also observed that the VVS International Baccalaureate curriculum aligns well with the German curriculum, allowing achieving students to study in the US and return to Germany on track for further university study in Europe. When Shannon met German VVS alum throughout her trip, the thing that students said they missed the most about their exchange is the student teacher relationships as well as the tight knit community this school offers.
Admission staff have also been busy in the US attending various school fairs in Arizona, California, Utah, Texas and Nevada. These fairs are a great opportunity to meet prospective families and educational consultants and to visit “feeder” schools in the area.
Admissions is organizing more recruiting trips in the spring of 2017!
Dr. Jules Troyer ~ Dean of Students and Residential Life
The first trimester here at VVS was filled with many magical moments that our talented students engaged in as a complement to their rigorous academic studies.
The school year kicked off with an epic dorm decorating contest for which students had a mere $20 to accomplish a themed make-over of their choice. Their creativity and passion were inspiring, and some of the themes included were: Under the Sea, Pokemon, Americana, Alice in Wonderland, and China. Students, faculty, and staff were led on a tour of all the dorms, fed goodies along the way, and encouraged to vote for their favorite dorm decorations. It was an emotional moment of glee when the Shixi students from Shanghai were informed their Chinese themed dorm had won the competition! The reward of a pizza and hot wing party was a big hit!
Awesomeness Day is an annual tradition at the onset of the school year that allows students to play, have fun, and get to know each other. This year students had a ton of thrills on a huge inflatable jump game, throwing balls at a basketball hoop while attempting to balance! Other games on the day included a clue finding scavenger hunt that tested their knowledge of VVS and its history; birdie-on-a-perch, and capture-the-flag. All these activities kept students engaged and allowed them to team up with their classes and meet new people.
Here at VVS, Halloween is a huge bash! Faculty houses were decorated for trick or treating, there was a massive pumpkin carving party, a very interactive student staffed haunted house, and a costume dance. This year the theme of our dance was Dia de los Muertos and the student class presidents came together to decorate Brady Hall with amazing sugar skulls. There were three pinatas filled with goodies and for many of the students, this was the first time they had participated in (or even heard of) the tradition of breaking a pinata. As alway it was a special day for VVS, and students, faculty, and staff thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to dress up in some really creative costumes.
These highlights provide only a snapshot of the many amazing moments VVS had in the first leg of this academic journey of the 2016-2017 school year. Jules says she is blessed to be part of such a mindful, talented, passionate, and intelligent group of people. She believes our community is a unique blend of academic integrity, progressive conscientiousness, and raw good old fashioned fun. “As the year is racing to a close,” Jules said, “I am moved to thank each of you for finding your way into the family we call VVS, and send you warmest wishes for a bright holiday full of love and laughter!”