Sometimes it takes a power outage to give one a little perspective….

 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.

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VVS Bucket List

It’s an understatement to say there is a lot to do at VVS. Seeing the wealth of activities and experiences open to students, Outdoor Coordinator Peter Reynolds decided to corral all these experiences together and prioritize them forming the VVS Bucket List.  

The list consists of 34 must do experiences that students can check off during their time at VVS.  Alexa Szombathy, ’15, was the first student to check each activity off the bucket list during her senior year last year.


The tradition continues this year with both faculty and student-led trips. Click here for a PDF of the Bucket List and get to ticking off these amazing experiences.  A student must complete all of the following to win the Bucket List Award this year:


  • Hike Cathedral Vortex
  • Find the Cave of the Door
  • Cow Pie Sunset
  • Read some Thoreau in the Thoreau Hut
  • Swim at Disneyland
  • Chill at Buddha Beach
  • Lead a Community Dinner Moment of Silence
  • Hike up to Napoleon and Find the Geocache
  • Sleep Out on Soccer Field
  • Cheer or Play in a Student vs Faculty Soccer Game
  • Feed a Horse an Apple
  • Show Your Dance Moves at a Rock Band Show
  • Slide Rock
  • Throw a Pot in Ceramics
  • Polar Bear Swim
  • Sleep Out on Cowpie
  • Write a Happy Note for the Happy Box
  • Make a Smore at a Campus Fire Pit
  • Hike to Monkey Face Cross
  • Ring the Chapel Bell for Community Meeting
  • Explore Witches Tit Wash
  • Perform at Coffee House
  • Moonlight Horse Ride
  • Have a Friendly Conversation with Casey
  • Watch a VVS Sunrise
  • Find the Old Gong Spot
  • Lead/Create a Weekend Activity
  • Help Plant or Harvest in the Garden
  • Cook Something in a Faculty Kitchen
  • Help With Backpack/MDG Program
  • Participate in a School Drama Production
  • See a Coyote, Tarantula and Javelina
  • Mission Impossible
  • Learn 5 Greetings in 5 Different Languages