Editor’s Note: Eagle Rock student Jaliza Perez walks us through a typical day for her – from sunrise to bedtime – helping future Eagle Rock students understand the routine here in Estes Park, Colo., on any given school day. Jaliza wrote this piece earlier this year and has since graduated. Her plan now is to start an apprenticeship with Public Allies in Los Angeles doing community-based work.
7:00 a.m.: The sound of an unpleasant alarm goes off and I have no other choice but to wake up. It’s 7 a.m. on a Monday and it’s time to get up and run the gate. I put on my sneakers and walk to the bathroom to brush my teeth.
Once I’m done I hurry down the stairs out of the girl’s wing and head over to where everyone meets to run to the gate that serves as the entrance to our school property and back. Sometimes it takes us only 30 minutes to do the gate and other times it can take longer. Breakfast starts at 8 a.m., so I try to make it back before then. When I’m done I walk into the lodge grab a glass of water and wait for breakfast.
9:20 a.m.: When I’m done eating I head back to my house to get ready for the day. It’s now 9:20 a.m. — just 10 minutes before class. I grab my bag, coat and hat. I’m taking this class called Learning Spanish where we teach Spanish to second graders who are also learning Spanish.
We teach the little kids Spanish one or two days a week, and today is one of those days. So we meet in the lodge before we head out so that my teacher can make sure we have all our materials ready for our lesson plans. After she checks everything we head out to the bus.
At the elementary school I teach three kids how to express their emotions in Spanish. Sometimes I need to remember to have patience with the little kids but for the most part they do a great job of staying engaged. Whenever we go see the second graders I leave in a better mood because they’re always so happy to see us and working with them makes me forget about other things.
11:50 a.m.: It’s almost noon and we’re back on the Eagle Rock campus just in time for chores. Sometimes we will just sweep and wipe surfaces, but if its really dirty we will do a deep clean and leave a note on the whiteboard reminding people to pick up after themselves. By now its 12:30 p.m. and time for lunch! I head over to the lodge and wait for Kitchen Patrol to yell, “Put down chairs.” After everyone helps take the chairs down we can all get in line to grab some food.
12:30 p.m.: Once I get my food, I head to a table to sit down and eat. The discussion at my table this particular day starts off by asking how everybody’s day is going? After that, the conversation takes its own course. The break between lunch and classes is pleasant because I can go home and take a nap if I want to, read a book or catch up on work.
1:50 p.m.: I leave my house to head to the lodge for Gathering. Here at Eagle Rock, five minutes early is considered on time. I find a place in the hearth to sit and wait for Gathering to start. Most gatherings start with the edict:
“Take 30 seconds of silence to think about….”
Gathering can be run by anyone in the Eagle Rock community. Sometimes we have students up there talking about what they are really interested in, and other times we are just sharing our own learning and personal growth since we arrived at Eagle Rock.
Other times it can be a staff member telling us about one of their life experiences or something that interests them. After Gathering we have music if anyone has signed up for it. Then it’s announcements and after that we’re off to classes. I’m teaching in the afternoon so I try to drink coffee to make sure I’m not sleepy for the second half of my day.
Teaching your peers can be frustrating sometimes because you don’t want them to think that you believe you’re better than them, but at the same time you do want them to take you seriously. After classes are over it’s free time unless you have kitchen patrol or homework. If I don’t have either of these I usually go home to lie down. I relax until dinner at 6 p.m.
Note: Not every day at Eagle Rock is like this. On Wednesdays, for example, we don’t have any classes. Instead we focus on intramural sports. We have six houses on campus where students reside and each is named after a particular type of tree. I’m in Ponderosa House and the other houses are Juniper, Spruce, Pinon, Lodgepole and Aspen. Often our houses are in competition with each other. This Wednesday, my house was in the pool playing water polo and we won both games against Pinon and Aspen.
Participating in intramurals is fun at my house because it makes us work together to achieve a common goal, and that gets everyone engaged. After Intramurals we have lunch at 1 p.m. and then advisory at 4pm. During my advisory I can do homework, work on projects or talk about my life at Eagle Rock.
Weekends: On weekends we have Saturday seminars, which could be swimming in the pool, watching movies, SAT & ACT prep, or other activities. The seminars take place for about half the day, and once they’re over, students have free time. Sundays are laid back with brunch at 10:30 a.m., and the rest of the day off. Usually people will catch up on sleep, hang out in the lodge, watch movies or do homework.
Eagle Rock is a unique place and I’m proud to say I’m a student here. I hope this gives you a sense of what it’s like to be a student here. The days are long and there’s always something for you to do. But the best part is this: Everyone here is a part of a community. And we’re not perfect, but we’re working on it!
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If you’d like to see what a typical, typical Eagle Rock day is supposed to look like, visit our official typical day outline online.