Intern from Princeton Seeks and Finds a Purpose at Eagle Rock School

Jason_Bateman_Eagle_Rock_SchoolEditor’s Note: Jason Bateman — not to be confused with the star of the television sitcom Arrested Development and the Netflix’s series Ozark — is a Princeton University student who is interning with us as part of Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS). This program operates in the belief that community service is essential to the welfare of society. More than 800 Princeton University undergraduates have participated in the program since its inception. A dozen such ‘Princetonians’ have served as interns since our school opened back in the early 1990s. Below, Jason describes his recent arrival at Eagle Rock and what he has learned so far from the experience, while to the right we see a photo of Jason (L) alongside Eagle Rock’s first head of school, Robert Burkhardt (a Princeton Univ. grad) and current Eagle Rock Director of Curriculum, Sarah Bertucci (who first arrived at Eagle Rock in 1994 as our very first PICS intern).

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What is it, exactly, that I do — and am doing — here at Eagle Rock?
By Jason Bateman

It’s a question I asked myself — and several of my supervisors — when I arrived on the Eagle Rock campus last month. What was my role? What was my purpose? What was I going to do with this incredible opportunity?

What I discovered was that what I needed to do was hunt down aspects of this educational community that most interested me, and then I needed to figure out which of my talents would best be of use to the students and staff members here at Eagle Rock.

To be honest, this unanticipated quest to find purpose has been among the most rewarding and challenging experiences I’ve faced outside of the classroom.

In the past, I’ve actively applied myself to everything from electrical engineering and computer science to education policy and data science. I’ve taken classes on human rights and urban development as well as classes on Spanish film.

But what I discovered when I arrived here is Continue reading…

Princetonians at The Rock: A Tale of Two Eagle Rock Interns

We’ve had dozens of college students participating in internships here at Eagle Rock, and many of them consider that time of service a highlight in their educational lives.

One such person was Sarah Bertucci, our very first Princeton University student to perform a summer internship here at the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center back in our very first year. Our most recent Princeton intern is Alexandria Robinson, whose Eagle Rock experience began in June and will conclude in late August.

We thought it would be fun to let these two Princeton alumni share their experiences in an alternating, back-to-back format. Both have favorable memories of their stay here, even though a 21-year gap separates their experience.

Let’s get started…

Sarah Bertucci: Back in the spring of 1994, I applied to Princeton’s Summer Service Program, a program that placed college students in summer service jobs, mostly in urban nonprofits. I wanted to learn new things, be part of a new community, and make a contribution.

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I had never been interested in teaching, but by a stroke of good luck, I was placed at Eagle Rock during its first summer in operation. It sounded like a great opportunity to be part of a brand new school. On top of that, I’d never been out West or seen mountains up close. So, I accepted the position and began counting the days until my arrival at in Estes Park.

Alexandria Robinson: Similar to Sarah’s experience, my application to Eagle Rock fell under an umbrella program. Revamped with a new name — Princeton Internships in Civic Service — the program is designed to place students in service jobs based on different sectors, such as health, education, science and more. After receiving a ”callback email” and then scheduling and participating in an interview via Skype, I was offered a summer internship starting in June 2015.

Alexandria-Robinson-Eagle-Rock-Intern

I was excited, but nervous. I was given two days to make a decision. It was only January and I couldn’t fathom making a firm commitment for something that wouldn’t affect me until June. I knew I wanted to teach, but at that point, the bulk of my experience in education had been with much younger students than the high school age ones at Eagle Rock. What would it be like with older students? Will they like me? That’s when I realized that all of these questions were petty, and I knew the benefits of this internship far outweighed any anxieties I might have. I confidently said yes, and never looked back.

Sarah (1994): Michael and Cynthia Soguero picked me up at the airport. Michael was the instructional specialist for math and science, and he was my mentor teacher. On the way to the school we stopped to pick up a rocking chair for the Sogueros, who were expecting a new baby. That made me feel more like I was becoming a part of a larger family. I settled into one of the student wings in Ponderosa House — staff housing didn’t exist at that time. Only two houses had students (Pinon and Spruce), so staff members lived in some of the other houses. I quickly met some of the 30 or so students who were on campus at that time.

Alexandria (2015): When I arrived at Eagle Rock, I was at a loss for words. I knew that this place was probably going to be pretty nice, but when we first drove in, I couldn’t stop staring at the mountains. I couldn’t believe that people actually got to live and go to school here. I soon met both Dan Condon and Kelsey Baun from the Professional Development Center team, and was given a tour of the campus. I learned about the academic buildings and the residential life/house system, and it was immediately evident that a true community exists here.

After getting settled into Willow (the Fellow/summer intern housing), I quickly began to meet lots of people. I tried my best to remember every name I heard, but this day was tougher than most. I do remember Continue reading…