Bears Ears National Monument
Bears Ears National Monument

“Dr. D., is this the favorite part of your job?”

A student asked me this after we were heading downstream in McCloyd Canyon, a remote area on Cedar Mesa, Utah. We began our trip on a beautiful sunny day about halfway down the canyon; then a storm blew in. As we were rappelling on cliffs high above the canyon floor, we got to see a normally dry canyon flood. As we walked above the water, we kept pace with the progress of the flood as pools filled and pushed water downstream through waterfalls and drop offs. My energy level was high and enthusiasm more present than usual when a student asked me about my passion for Interims. I spent this with week with 10 students, Jess Brown (Class of 2018) who returned as a trip leader, and Director of Operations Jesse Schumacher exploring the canyons of the Bears Ears National Monument.

There are many great parts of my job at Colorado Academy, but Interim is always a highlight. This year’s students were fantastic and represented the best of CA. They are involved in the school, thoughtful, smart, and fun to be around. Conversations flowed easily in the car ride and on the trail. We had a lone Ninth Grader who everyone loved getting to know and who quickly contributed to the humor and conversation.

The faculty experience—at least for me—is one of teaching and learning, as well as building community. My annual Interim trip focuses on the archeology and world of the Ancestral Puebloans. We found and explored amazing ruins and rock art. This year’s students were especially inquisitive about the history and culture. If you were to come on this trip, you would hear me give talks about the history and geology of the Bears Ears region, as well as the politics surrounding environmental protection and economic development. Our students asked great questions. But, there was also a lot of talk about life in general. As I have been in past years, I was so impressed and taken by how kind and outgoing our students are.

I want to thank our faculty and staff for their efforts this week. It’s a lot of work to pull off these extraordinary learning experiences. I always come home re-charged and thankful for our school. Experiential education has always been a core part of the CA experience, and I am grateful for the vision of our school’s founders to make Interim a fundamental part of the CA experience.