Estes Park Trail Gazette – Eagle Rock graduates seven

by Nic Wackerly

With the closing of the 72nd trimester for Eagle Rock High School, seven students earned their high school diplomas. The graduation ceremony on Aug. 11 was a celebration of the students, staff and fellows that contribute to the success of Eagle Rock.

“Looking at these graduates today, and while there still is some room for growth and learning like there is for all of us, I am confident that they have gotten what they came to get out of Eagle Rock and it is time for them to move on,” said Jen Frickey , director of curriculum.

All the graduating students were able to speak to the audience and give thanks to those who have helped them along the way. They also imparted advice to their fellow students about what helped them be successful.

The Eagle Rock graduates: (Back row) Levi Sage, Nigel Taylor, Keny Bernardez and Sam Winskill Dodson, (Front row) Chemi Lewis, Djibril Cayolbah and

The Eagle Rock graduates: (Back row) Levi Sage, Nigel Taylor, Keny Bernardez and Sam Winskill Dodson, (Front row) Chemi Lewis, Djibril Cayolbah and Courtney Coleman. (Nic Wackerly / For the Estes Park Trail-Gazette)

“Something that we all have to realize is that we control our own destiny here at Eagle Rock and you get to make your own choices,” Chemi Lewis said, one of the seven graduating students.

The students of Eagle Rock have been making important choices since the application process. One of the many unique features of Eagle Rock is that students choose to attend the school and must lead the application process themselves.

Another unique feature of the school is the Eagle Rock Professional Development Center. They work with schools across the country to improve high school education.

“Our mission is much broader than just serving our own students,”said Jeff Liddle , the head of the school. “Our vision is that every high school student in the country is meaningfully engaged in their education, we are not going to stop until that happens.”

The school continues to grow through the professional development center, teachers, fellows and students. Part of that process is the unique curriculum that is developed at Eagle Rock. Students learn about topics including the physics of roller coasters and the psychology of rock climbing. They also have the opportunity to provide feedback about the experience.

“This group of [Presentations of Learning] is the best I have seen in my 17 years here,” Liddle said.

The Presentations of Learning, or “POL’s” as they are referred to at Eagle Rock, are presentations that the students make at the end of each trimester about their learning experience and personal growth.

The ceremony was a true celebration. Live music filled the performance center and got everyone in attendance out of their seats to dance or sing along. The speeches made by graduating students drew tears from many in attendance.

Eagle Rock continues to assist their students after they have graduated from the school.

“We are proud that Eagle Rock is one of the small number of high schools around the country that provides financial support for graduates to pursue their higher education,” Liddle said. “Currently every graduate is eligible for 14 thousand dollars towards their higher education.”

Eagle Rock School is an initiative of the American Honda Education Corporation, a nonprofit subsidiary of the American Honda Motor Company. It is a full-scholarship high school for students and a low-cost professional development center for secondary school educators, according to the Eagle Rock School website.