The quaking aspen leaves basked on the Eagle Rock esplanade, maximizing their sunlight intake as they reveled in the longest day of the year. Shortly after the summer solstice sun set on that June 21 day, the Eagle Rock campus was drenched by a “supermoon.” That’s when a full moon reaches its closest point to the Earth each year.
These big and beautiful celestial events were befitting for a gathering of 10 Eagle Rock School alumni — tasked with initiating a process to connect and maintain the orbits of every Eagle Rocker arriving through the gate over the past two decades.
When people live and work in the Eagle Rock community, tight bonds are formed, and many of these close associations continue well after walking out that same gate to the next stages of their lives. Head of School Jeff Liddle believes a family that has been growing for 20 years needs some extra help in order to remain close—keeping our orbit around the Rock. Liddle and five of Eagle Rock’s Public Allies fellows formed an alumni engagement focus group intent on bringing former students, staff, and fellows for a weekend together to formulate plans to build our alumni network.
The weekend was highlighted by eating delicious meals in the Lodge (the vegan sausage and peppers were my favorite), watching an impressive production of the play In the Blood, and playing a rousing game of soccer with a Shaman versus Bonepipe mash-up. My lungs struggled to keep up with the high-altitude dwellers. The crux of the weekend was the time we spent discussing and planning ways to engage Eagle Rock School alumni.
Friday evening we listened to a group of current students, who want to be connected to alumni while on campus and after they graduate. Students were excited about the chance to hear about former students’ experiences on campus, to get advice on transitioning to life after Eagle Rock, and to find mentors.
On Saturday, we spent time in Columbine (the large conference room in Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center), doing some good ol’ asset-based project building, expertly facilitated by the PDC’s Michael Soguero. Through close conversations and lots of color-coordinated Post-it Notes, we identified our passions, values, and skills — which led to recognition of our strengths and opportunities. A highlight for me was hearing a graduate talk about his experiences working with adjudicated youth, recounting the rewards of working with people facing challenges he had once had. It was inspiring to see how many of us remain involved in youth engagement and community service.
We then brainstormed various projects and selected those we thought would thrive, based on the assets we had identified. Most broadly, we are envisioning an Eagle Rock Alumni Association, contingent on the approval from Eagle Rock’s board of directors. Currently, there are three projects being brainstormed:
- EagAlum$, which seeks to raise $10,000 this year, to support the growth of the Association and to assist with Eagle Rock’s 25th anniversary celebration in 2018.
- AMP—the Alumni Mentoring Program—which aims to develop mentoring partnerships between current Eagle Rock students and alumni.
- Alumni Multi-Media Communication, which is an online forum and e-quarterly to share projects, stories, and updates and to foster alumni interaction.
Please keep your eyes peeled here on the Eagle Rock Blog and on Eagle Rock’s Facebook Page for updates as Eagle Rock’s board of directors moves forward with this initiative.
In the six years since my last visit to campus, I have often thought of the school and how much it transformed my life. The values, skills, and awareness I gained continue to inform the work I do in the classroom and in my community. I know Eagle Rockers carry that same love and power of Eagle Rock with them. The summer-solstice-supermoon weekend was rejuvenating, because I was reminded of just how special the Eagle Rock family is. We are all held in its gravitational pull, no matter how far away we might be — in distance and in years.