5 Eagle Rock School Students Set to Graduate Today

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Pomp and circumstance — Eagle Rock style — will abound at 4pm Mountain Time this afternoon (Friday, August 5, 2016) in our Human Performance Center, as focus is directed toward five Eagle Rock School students who are graduating and heading off into the world with a new perspective on what it means to be engaged in their own education.

Among the grads are siblings Ryan and Dillon Powell — arriving on campus back in January of 2012. As you’ll read, the Los Angeles brothers took different directions once on campus, with one focusing on band and a cappella, the other on outdoor education and National Park Service volunteerism.

L-R: Ryan Powell, Zoe "Stormy" Johansen, Jared Moss Osterlund, Dillon Powell and Javonnie Campbell
L-R: Ryan Powell, Zoe “Stormy” Johansen, Jared Moss Osterlund, Dillon Powell and Javonnie Campbell

This latest trimester graduation ceremony will be broadcast live, beginning at 4 p.m. Mountain Time, on our Ustream channel, on Friday, August 5, 2016. To view the event live, please visit http://www.ustream.tv/channel/eagle-rock-school-graduation.

Our five grads had a lot to say about the education they received at Eagle Rock, along with plans for their future and some advice for newbies to campus. Here’s a sampling:

Ryan Powell arrived at Eagle Rock at the same time as his older brother, joining Spruce House in January of 2012 (ER 56) and later, Ponderosa House. He counts among his successes being asked to leave Eagle Rock and then returning with a different mindset. Ryan volunteered at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) during his time at Eagle Rock, and then took that experience to the next level by earning the right to work as a RMNP staffer.

While at Eagle Rock, Ryan has been involved with many outdoor experiences, including a river canoe trip and backcountry yurt-to-yurt skiing expeditions. He’s currently involved in the internship program with Rocky Mountain National Park. After a rocky start at Eagle Rock, Ryan suggests others “develop your awareness to preview your actions in order to be as successful as possible.” He also encourages new Eagle Rock students to get in touch with nature and develop an interest and desire in traveling. Those pursuits, he says, “will without a doubt help you to develop a better sense of your surroundings and your true self.”

Ryan’s immediate future will be as an employee of the National Park Service, followed by a bunch of wilderness trips and earning his Wilderness First Responder certification.

Zoe “Stormy” Johansen hails from Cheyenne, Wyo., and joined Aspen House in September of 2013 (ER 61). She had a couple of big roles in The Wiz — along with three solos — and earned the highest belt in aikido of anyone on campus during her time with us (anyone but head of school Jeff Liddle, that is).

Eagle Rock allowed Zoe to “embrace my inner butterfly,” she says, discarding her quiet and reserved self for a woman with confidence. Describing herself as a “nerdy person who loves art,” she suggests new students don’t lose sight of their humanity, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. “Eagle Rock is such a safe place to be able to make mistakes,” she says, “because people will be there to help you no matter what.” And while she’s planning on going to college next year, Zoe has no set schedule for the immediate future, intending to “go with the flow” for now.

Jared Moss Osterlund is a Colorado native who joined the Aspen House in September of 2012 (ER 58). He counts his internship classes, building connections in town, co-teaching winter ecology and working in the memorial garden among his successes while at Eagle Rock.

Jared’s suggestion for incoming students is to build up a list of opportunities and take hold of connections. “Do your work — don’t be lazy.” Jared’s future plans include attending Colorado State University at Pueblo, taking up glass blowing and taking advantage of as many wilderness opportunities as life affords him.

Dillon Powell — the older of the two Powell brothers — settled into the Ponderosa House in January of 2012 (ER 56), joining the Eagle Rock Improv Band, A Cappella group, student government and a student leadership group.

Dillon credits placing an emphasis on personal growth with his successes at Eagle Rock, and he suggests future students work hard — all the while keeping in mind that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Dillon is heading off to Public Allies Los Angeles or a community college in Los Angeles or here in Colorado.

Javonnie Campbell joined us just in time for spring classes in May 2014 (ER 63 was the name of her incoming trimester — the 63rd such trimester since Eagle Rock was founded in the early-90s), becoming a member of Ponderosa House. This energetic Harlem, N.Y., native hit the deck running, joining the Eagle Rock Choir, performing in musicals — including The Wiz and Spring Awakening — becoming a morning exercise leader and learning, and then co-teaching American sign language.

Her immediate plans post-Eagle Rock includes taking some time off from education to work and travel, then attend New York University (NYU) in the spring. Her advice to new Eagle Rock students is quite simple — “Concentrate on classes that interest you or create you own classes through independent study.”

Be sure to watch this afternoon’s graduation ceremony and congratulations to this trimester’s graduates! To view the event live at 4pm Mountain Time on Friday, August 5, please visit http://www.ustream.tv/channel/eagle-rock-school-graduation.

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