Our eight most recent Eagle Rock School graduates took the opportunity to briefly reflect on their time here. Reading their comments, we were drawn to the similarities expressed by these new grads, each of whom will receive their high school diplomas on Friday afternoon, August 8, at a ceremony here in Estes Park, Colorado.
Where negativity is a normal theme of new students to our wilderness campus, it’s refreshing to hear comments about the good things the future holds for these graduates. And we think a lot of that comes from time spent looking for the similarities in your peers instead of the differences.
We’re not always sure why the curriculum at Eagle Rock seems to be so successful. We’d like to credit the administration, the instructors, the staff, the programs. But sometimes it just comes down to a couple of classmates sitting down on a boulder and discussing an issue that’s important to one of them.
So sit yourself down and listen as our new graduates — Nikolay Hayden, Marjorie Furio, Lesly DeLeon, Jeremy Coles, Nicole Bau, Tiffany Wright, Jessy Mejia and Jaliza Perez — relate their Eagle Rock experiences:
Nikolay “Nick” Hayden grew up in Ukraine. When he was adopted at age 11, he relocated to Colorado where he was confronted with a pair of stumbling blocks — a new language and a different culture.
He lived in Colorado Springs with his mom, dad, two brothers, and a sister before enrolling at Eagle Rock. He came to us for a new experience — attending a traditional high school.
“I was crazy because I was young,” Nick said. “I was active all the time. That’s how people saw me.”
In his time at Eagle Rock, Nick said he’s become better at accepting people for who they are by co-existing with others within a small community. He said has also learned a lot from the structure here, which encourages him to be on time and to be organized. For those tools, he credits his house sister, Sandra.
“She helped me a lot in Juniper House,” he explained. “She helped me stay on track. She was really motivated, and I found myself following her because she helped me.”
After graduating, Nick plans to go home to work in lifeguarding or construction with the eventual goal of joining the U.S. Navy.
Marjorie “Star” Furio struggled with the extroverted nature of Eagle Rock from the get-go. Growing up with her mom in Prescott and the Grand Canyon area of Arizona, Star lost her scholarship after receiving failing grades at another boarding school. When she arrived in Estes Park, she was surprised by the difficulty of living so closely with such a diverse group of people.
“I expected it to be cozy, and I had to adjust to conflict and feeling uncomfortable at times,” Star admitted.
She cites Human Sexuality as one of her favorite courses for being “really honest.” And she credits her instructors — Jen Frickey and Beth Ellis — for making her Continue reading…