What Thanksgiving 2016 Is Like at Eagle Rock School

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Once again, it’s that time of the year when the leaves fall off the trees, the temperature drops to single digits, and the sun has a shorter workday. To some, this portends the beginning credits of a horror movie where there is no beauty to be found.

But to me, this particular season marks the beginning of a wonderful time of the year. It’s a time when we can wear “cozy” clothes, like wool gloves and knit scarfs wrapped around our necks. It’s a time where hot cocoa with a marshmallow on top can be found held tightly in the hands of people on the sidewalks.

And we shouldn’t neglect the best part: the arrival of celebrations and holidays that create smiles and visits with friends and relatives in nearly every home.

Here at the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, students and staff have actively prepared for the first of these late fall festivities: Thanksgiving. And at the center of all this holiday attention isThe Lodge,” our most frequently utilized building on campus.

On most days, The Lodge is where the Eagle Rock community members eat their meals and hold community gatherings to learn about various aspects of life through each member’s point of view.

But today, things look different as “The Lodge” revels in its makeover for the holiday. The building smells different — a direct result of cranberries cooking under a low fire and turkeys roasting in the oven. The tables are dressed with our fanciest tablecloths and best part of all; our hungry crew will consume everything.

All of this magic is the result of preparations that began last Wednesday here on campus. Since we are a boarding school, many students don’t get an opportunity to visit their families and loved ones in various parts of the country. So our objective is to create a series of fun-filled days to dispel the absence of families, replacing that absence with the Eagle Rock family.

Here’s what we’re doing today, and below that, Friday’s planned activities:

Thursday November 24

  • 10 a.m.: Gathering and KP – Lodgepole
  • 10:30 a.m.: Breakfast
  • 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Activities (see below)
  • 3 p.m.: Thanksgiving Dinner

Other activities scheduled for today included a Turkey Trot at the YMCA with Anna Magle-Haberek (Human Performance Center Instructional Specialist & Lodgepole House Parent); aikido at the Human Performance Center with Jeff Liddle (Head of School); board games at the Learning Resource Center with Becky Poore (Math Instructional Specialist): Life After Eagle Rock time at the Learning Resource Center with Bea Salazar (Life After Eagle Rock Instructional Specialist); flag football at the Field of Dreams with Jack Hilbrich (Adjunct Outdoor Education Instructional Specialist) and Cordell Church (2016/2017 Public Allies Teaching Fellow In Human Performance); Coloring, Cosmos, Cookies at Aspen House with Sara Benge (Interim Science Instructional Specialist), Janet Jon Johnson and Beth Ellis (Learning Resource Center Instructional Specialist & Aspen House Parent); baking at Spruce House with Meg Tokunga-Scanlon (Music Instructional Specialist & Spruce House Parent); crafts at Ponderosa House with Josan Perales (World Languages Instructional Specialist); knitting at Lodge Hearth with Helen Higgins (2016/2017 Public Allies Teaching Fellow In Math); Climbing Wall with Jordan Cerna (2016/2017 Public Allies Teaching Fellow In Outdoor Education); NFL games at Lodge with Jesse Beightol (Outdoor Education Instructional Specialist); and CrossFit at Human Performance Center with Jeff Liddle (Head of School).

Friday November 25

  • 9 a.m.: Study Hall (Optional)
  • 11 a.m.: Brunch
  • Noon: Gathering and depart for Laser Tag or Apex Center
  • 6 p.m.: Dinner
  • 7:30 p.m.: Three on three Basketball Tournament
  • 8 p.m.: Pool Party

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About The Author: Sebastian Franco is the 2016/17 Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development at the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center in Estes Park, Colo. A recent graduate of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., Sebastian holds double degrees in political science and international studies and a minor in Spanish.


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