Day Students

Brita Ahlers

VVS isn’t just a school. I mean, it’s not just buildings and personality-less teachers with their degrees hanging on the wall. It’s not the loud hallways and the overwhelming rush of people and the unbearable assignments. VVS, for me, has been everything that public high school wasn’t. It’s provided me with a safe space – a place where I feel comfortable and myself, where I am surrounded by kind and caring people. I came as a Junior and have relished every moment at VVS as a gift, because for me it really is.

List of 12 frequently asked questions.

  • 7:30 AM – Breakfast in The Dining Hall

    Arrive at school for breakfast in the dining hall. My mom usually drives me in, but sometimes I drive to school with other students who live in Sedona.  Day students are all welcome for lunch and Monday’s Community Dinner, but I purchase the Day Student Meal Plan so I can eat all of my meals at VVS – the food’s delicious and it’s a great way to catch up with my friends before school starts.
  • 8:00 AM – Music

    My first class this trimester is Intro to Music. Underclassmen rotate on arts classes and this tri I’m in music.  We’re working with the Intro to Theater class on a musical rendition of the “Gift of the Magi” that we’ll perform for the school.
  • 9:00 AM – Science

    After music I walk to the science labs for chemistry. My teacher always has some sort of surprise for us, whether it’s creating smells while learning about polymers, building a “spud gun” to launch a potato across the soccer field while we learn about velocity, or making fudge to help us better understand the chemistry of food.
  • 10:00 AM – Language

    Speaking of food, we’ve been working on the connection between food and culture in Spanish class. Today we’re starting work on making our own cooking shows in Spanish. Next week we’ll have chefs in class, including cooks from the VVS kitchen.
  • 11:00 AM – History

    Switch gears to US History.  Our teachers have been working with us all week as we research philosophers from the 18th century and today we get to dress up in character costumes as we hold a salon gathering. I’ve been researching Mary Wollestonecraft and get to talk with other students in my class who will represent philosophers like John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and many others.  My English accent needs some work, but we’ve all learned a lot.
  • 11:50 AM – Lunch in The Dining Hall

    Lunch! I walk over to the dining hall with some people from history class and meet up with a few other friends on the way. It’s soup day and there are five soups to chose from as well as fresh bread, rolls and salad. Weekend activity sign-ups were put on the patio bulletin board so I sign up for a trip tonight to the movie theater in Sedona.
  • 12:30 PM – Community Meeting

    After lunch the whole school walks up to the Chapel for our twice-a-week Community Meeting.  Since it’s Friday we’ll hear a senior speech (each senior addresses the community before graduation) and a student will read comments from the Happy Box. The idea behind the Happy Box is to send us all into the weekend with some good news. Students can add notes to the box all week and they are read at Friday’s meeting.
  • 1:05 PM – Free Period

    Like all underclassmen I have a free period each day. I can use this time to hang out with friends, catch up on homework or even walk up to the barn to groom my horse. Today I’m just hanging out in the dining hall with other underclassmen who have a free period.
  • 2:05 PM – English

    In English 2 we’re discussing “Into the Wild” by John Krauker and today we’re taking a close look at the poem “I Go Back to May” by Sharon Olds, which is featured in the book. I really enjoy it when we dedicate a class period to a poem; it feels like you’ve cracked this great secret within 55 minutes only to learn that the poem will stay with you and make you ask more questions throughout the day.
  • 3:05 PM – Math

    I finish my day in Interactive Math Program 3. Sure, the last period of the day can be tough, but we rotate our daily schedule to make sure that students never have the same class last or first at any time during the week. Plus, we’re working on a great group project in math where we’re studying probability by looking at casino games.
  • 4:10 PM – Trail Ride

    One thing I love about VVS is that I can end each class day with a long trail ride on my horse.  I head up to the barn to change into my gear I can keep in the tack room. I groom and water her and get started on a beautiful two hour ride.
  • 6:00 PM – Dinner

    After feeding and watering my horse and changing clothes I head to the dining hall for a quick dinner before my mom picks me up at 6:30. I’ll meet my VVS friends at the movie theater at 8:00.  One of my friends who is a boarder is staying at my house for the weekend so we make sure her paperwork is in order and head to my house.
Verde Valley School is an International Baccalaureate boarding and day high school for students in grades 9-12.