Upper School Intraterm 2018

School News
March 6, 2018
Since its inception several years ago as a "week without walls" for 10th graders, Intraterm has steadily grown to include the entire upper school and now, the entire school. This year, students in grades 9-12 set out for destinations in five countries and five states.


Baja Sur, Mexico Island Ecology

Schedule

  • Day 1: Flight to LAX, then Cabo; van ride to La Paz (2.5 hours); saw whales breaching in Pacific; welcome/intro, dinner, prep for next day.
  • Day 2: Woke early, loaded truck with all gear, walked to Marina; 1.5 hr boat ride across bay to National Protected Uninhabited Island - Isla Espiritu Santo;  set up camp; played introduction games; had orientation to island rules, etc.; set up tents and earned how to manage waste and coexist with animals on the island.
  • Day 3: Practiced snorkeling around nearby rock island observing marine animal behavior and recording in journal; learned to recognize numerous invertebrate species like sea cucumbers, sea stars, clams, urchins, and snails; learned how to avoid fireworms, jellyfish and stingrays!; spent time in the afternoon exploring the tide pools at low tide, learning to observe and find different invertebrates among the rocks
  • Day 4:  Visited sea lion rookery and also encountered blue-footed boobies and cormorants; learned the 12 marine invertebrates species-anemones, sea stars, clams, urchins, sea cucumbers, snails-that are part of the formal research project; learned the official methods for data collection; visited a nearby bay and collected official data regarding location of the invertebrates; analyzed data and presented it to the group in the evening; collected water samples to analyze for eDNA; processed the eDNA samples; saw bioluminescence as we got ready for bed
  • Day 5: Learned about conservation connected to plankton; observed plankton, learned about their adaptations and diversity and how they fit in to the food chain; connected those lessons with big-picture climate change and sustainability ideas; independent science research projects during the afternoon employing entire scientific method of asking questions, collecting data, analyzing data, making graphs and presenting to group after dinner; short hike to a natural amphitheater before dinner and learned some desert plant adaptations, saw a dead babisuri, and had a short solo sit among the boulders; quick star-viewing session before bed
  • Day 6: Packed up camp and returned to La Paz; stopped by a turn of the century pearl hatchery where 1000’s of cormorants were nesting; celebrated our successful week on a beautiful sandy beach all to ourselves for lunch; shopped for dinner; celebrated our group contributions and recognized the role each of us played in the learning community over the week
  • Everyday: we woke with the sun and had breakfast on the beach at 7:00AM - we enjoyed the amazing views  from our outdoor classroom - we enjoyed sunsets over dinner - and we played so many games that made us belly laugh and bond over science.

Student Reflections

  • "The aquatic life around the island was fascinating. We got to see things far cooler than you think you would, what with the sea urchins and sea stars and the eels!" —Andie Billingsley

PHOTOS
 

Southern California College Tour

Schedule

  • Day 1: Visited SB Mission and UCSB campus, lunch at Kanaloa Seafood; trip to Santa Barbara Beach
  • Day 2: Visited Cal Lutheran University and USC  and met with VMS alumni: Thea Knobel, Thomas Singleton, Audrey Deighan, Michele Philippon; went to Anaheim Packing District
  • Day 3: Visited Loyola Marymount University; spent time at the Santa Monica Pier, Grove and Farmers Market and Griffith Observatory
  • Day 4: Visited Occidental College and met with VMS alumna, Kellyn Peck; visited UCLA and attended UCLA/Oregon State basketball game
  • Day 5: Visited Chapman University

Student Reflections

  • "I learned that I really enjoy the Southern California area and could easily see myself attending school in the area."  —Sophia Nisonoff
  • "I learned that I would like to go to a big university instead of a small liberal art college." —Millie Zhu

PHOTOS
 

China: Diversity, Ethnicity, & Identity of Yunnan

Schedule

  • Day 1: Left VMS at 2pm to catch a flight from DIA to LAX; five hour layover in LA before 13 hour flight to Beijing; 4-5 hour layover in Beijing before boarding 3.5 flight to Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan province in southern China
  • Day 2: Arrived in Kunming around 4 pm and met other instructors, Kai and Ginger, at the airport; took vans to our hostel, settled into our rooms, and then walked to dinner at a nearby restaurant. Everyone was exhausted due to all the travel, so we all went to bed early.
  • Day 3: Breakfast of noodles and dumplings at a small restaurant run by two Muslims. Visited a Chinese medical hospital. Learned about acupuncture, moxibustion and Chinese herbs used for medical purposes. Walked to the bird and flower market where students had three hours to explore and complete a list of items for a scavenger hunt. On the walk back to the hotel, we came across a large group of people with their racing pigeons hanging out in a public square. Returned to the hotel to rest for an hour and then went out to dinner. After dinner, many of the students accompanied me to the park where we danced with the locals.
  • Day 4: Last day in Kunming. Rode the public bus to a different neighborhood and spent the morning at a local English school, practiced speaking both English and Chinese, sang songs and played games. Lunch with the students at nearby restaurant. Walked through a street market set up for Chinese New Year after lunch, and then caught the bus back to hostel. Some students decided to check out local temple, while others walked around the university nearby. Everyone met back at the hostel around 7pm to gather our things and head to the train station. At 10:30 pm we boarded a night train to travel to Lijiang, one of the primary cities for the Naxi ethnic minority group.
  • Day 5: Arrived in Lijiang at 6:30am. Students were tasked with finding the cheapest bus that would land us at the edge of the old town in Lijiang. Upon arriving in Lijiang, we located a small, but busy restaurant to eat breakfast. The students were able to invite two young students we met on the bus into town and enjoyed having breakfast with them. After breakfast, the students were giving 4-5 hours to wander the labyrinth of streets that constitute Lijiang. Students were tasked with locating a central meeting point, where they then posted updates to the Dragons Yak board. By late afternoon, we were all back together and began the process of figuring out how to get to the small village Ji Xiang, where the students would be staying with local families. This took some time, but eventually they figured out the correct bus and we made our way to the village. Students were then set up with their homestay families and spent the evening settling in.
  • Day 6: During our time in the village, students generally ate breakfast, lunch and dinner with their families. Today our group met as a whole and discussed the elements that make up daily life in China. Students were tasked with creating a map of the village and learning about the overall layout of the area.
  • Day 7: We began this day at 5am with a silent hike to a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. Hiking in the dark, with only our headlamps, we all practiced a time of reflective silence throughout the walk. Upon arrival at the monastery, students spent time alone, journaling about various topics as the sun rose over the horizon. We were able to spend time exploring the temple, hiked to the top of nearby hill that was covered in prayer flags, learned about some of the central tenets of the monks faith tradition, and played basketball and soccer with some of the younger monks. Upon returning to the village, students returned to their homestays and enjoyed a massive spread of various dishes to celebrate the Chinese New Year with their families. After dinner, we gathered at various homes and enjoyed dancing, fireworks, copious snacks and warm conversation.
  • Day 8: During our final day in the village, we all accompanied our families to the cemeteries where their ancestors are buried. We learned about the cultural importance of this day and felt grateful to participate in such an important event. During the afternoon we visited a local artist’s studio and learned about his work. The evening culminated in a fire pit back at our court yard, where we discussed a variety of topics and went through some simple rituals that helped us to reflect on the impact the trip had on our lives.
  • Day 9: Enjoyed one final breakfast with our families before catching buses to the airport to fly back to Kunming. Upon arrival in Kunming, we took mini buses to our hotel for our final night. After settling in, we journeyed out and explored the surrounding area, before finally arriving at a local hot pot restaurant for our final meal. We had one final meeting at our hotel that evening, in which we shared about our favorite experiences and what we had come to learn and appreciate about our classmates / students.
  • Day 10: We were up at 4am to head to the airport and began the long journey (30+ hours) back to DIA.

Student Reflections

  • "One of the highlights was interacting with a cab driver. It was cool to see how much farther my language skills have come since my first trip." —Garrett Cooper

PHOTOS
 

Costa Rica Immersion

Schedule

  • Day 1: Arrived in San Joaquin de Flores, changed money at the bank, ordered fruit smoothies from Cosechas, received an orientation talk at CPI, and met host families to be transported to homestays
  • Day 2: Took a bus to Manuel Antonio National Park, crossed a crocodile-infested river, walked through the jungle filled with monkeys, sloths, snakes, raccoons, and birds in the trees; spent time on two beautiful beaches, body-surfing and watching the sunset; stopped for ice cream on the drive home
  • Day 3: Explored the capital San Jose- toured the national theater, a pedestrian shopping area, an artisanal crafts market, watched an epic rap battle; attended a professional soccer match in the evening, Alajuela vs. UCR.
  • Day 4: Walked through San Joaquin; had dancing and cooking lessons, and some down time, before beginning Spanish classes for the afternoon; dinner with homestay families
  • Day 5: Volunteered at an animal sanctuary- cleaned animal habitats, met a baby sloth, and handled a 20 foot long snake; Spanish classes in the afternoon
  • Day 6: Volunteered at La Carpio- played with and took care of children in the neighborhood, learned about the community and its struggles; Spanish classes in the afternoon.
  • Day 7: Explored Heredia, including central plaza, and open-air fruit and vegetable market; tried new tropical fruits; classes in the afternoon.
  • Day 8: Visited La Paz Waterfall Park- interacted with local flora and fauna, hiked through series of gorgeous jungle waterfalls, ate a huge buffet lunch; Spanish classes in the afternoon

Student Reflections

  • "I learned that I have so much to be grateful for. I also learned that I want to take more spanish and become fluent, and that I would like to travel more and experience more of the cultures that the world has to offer." —Quinn Kelley

PHOTOS
 

Development of Meaning: Yoga & Service Learning

Schedule

  • Day 1: Self Awareness/Offering- Overview and yoga workshop at Dogma Athletica ; lunch in Edwards; made bead bracelets (one to give away one to keep) and fleece blankets for Our Community Foundation
  • Day 2: Warriorship- Visited June Creek Elementary School and read to students; yoga and mindfulness session at Dogma Athletica
  • Day 3: Balance- Yoga and mindfulness practice; shopped for food for dinner; cooked and served a community meal at Loaves and Fishes Cafe at Eagle River Presbyterian Church
  • Day 4: Giving to Others- Met with Susie Davis of Our Community Foundation
  • Day 5: Compassion/Kindness- painted fingernails and played cards with senior citizens at the Minturn  Senior Center; participated in Tai-Chi with the seniors as spotters; yoga/reflection/closure at the Minturn Fitness Center


Student Reflections

  • "I learned that American culture has drastically changed within the last decade leading to more stress and anxiety, especially among students. We are fighting different and intense stressors that our parents did not, and it needs to be addressed." —Emma Calarco

PHOTOS
 

Hawaiian Cultural & Historical Exploration

The following is Kim Cope Tait’s letter to families summarizing their experience:

"I am writing to follow up on our trip to Hawaiʻi on behalf of Mr. Sweeney and myself...to say thank you to the students for their humble, respectful, and generous approach to our studies and service on the island and to share a few photos of our adventures. I also want to acknowledge the many entities that provided programming and hospitality to our group at nominal costs, happily receiving our small service projects as reciprocation for their efforts.

Na Kalai Waʻa is the organization that provided our housing in Kohala (the house is called Hoea, which means ʻarrivalʻ). It is “an education-based 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to the maintenance of cultural values and customs through the teaching and application of non-instrument navigation and open-ocean voyaging.” Pualani Lincoln Maielua met us in Kawaihae, led us to our lodging, and, together with Leiʻohu, a voyaging crew member,  oriented us to our lodgings and amenities. These two women were generous and hospitable in providing all that we needed during our stay, coming and going to make sure our needs were always met. Pualani was a guest of honor, along with her husband Kealiʻi Maielua, who is also a voyager, and she shared with us stories of her many voyages, including the most recent as an apprentice navigator aboard the Hōkūleʻa on the last leg of its worldwide journey...from Tahiti to Hawaiʻi Island. She shared, as well, about the history of long distance canoe voyaging in the islands and framed the Hōkūleʻa as the impetus for the recent renaissance of Hawaiian cultural practices.

Leiʻohu is in charge of maintaining Hoea, which is essentially the land-based center for Na Kalai Waʻa, and it is through her own efforts and her direction of groups like ours coming in to do small service projects that the land is becoming more and more abundant. The goal is that for the 2019 voyage of Hawaiʻi Islandʻs Makaliʻi, all food aboard the canoe will be derived from the land and sea-based endeavors of Na Kalai Waʻa. Our work in clearing the driveway of branches, stripping them of their greens, and transporting those greens to be composted next to the garden site gave us an opportunity to have a hand in the next voyage of the Makaliʻi...in helping to sustain its crew members for their long journey on the ocean.

While we were at Hoea, Kumu Teri Chong, who teaches at Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy, and her daughter Maya Chong, who teaches at Kanu o ka ʻāina, were our guests and spoke with our students about Hawaiian spirituality and Hawaiian healing. It was Aunty Teriʻs story about her son Zeke and his powerful healing under the care of Papa Henry Auwae that had perhaps the greatest impact on our students, who were moved by Aunty Teriʻs openness, her frankness, and her fearlessness in sharing. The name of the organization that continues Papa Auwaeʻs work today is called Laʻau Lapaʻau.

We visited Maya’s class at Kanu o ka ʻĀina, and she escorted us into Waipiʻo Valley and to the kalo farm of Aunty Kaʻiu and Uncle Tom Tom. Aunty Kaʻiu, also with Kanu o ka ʻĀina, shared beautiful stories of the Valley of the Kings and imparted the importance and centrality of the kalo (taro) root to Hawaiian culture and life. Uncle Tom Tom shared that Aunty Kaʻiu had been quite ill of late, but it was her joy to come and be with our students that day in the valley and to guide them through the experience of caring for, harvesting, and even planting the precious plants that have been providing sustenance for her people for generations. Some of the plants, she told us, because of the way they are cultivated, were hundreds of years old!

The next organization that hosted us was The Nature Conservancy under the direction of Rebecca Most. She partnered with Kumu Kuʻulei Keakealani, Cultural Director of Hui Aloha Kīiholo, to provide our students with a rich and educational experience in Kīholo Bay, where we camped for one night. When the storm forced us to relocate for the second night of camping, Kuʻulei called on close connections with the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, to secure accommodation up mauka (above and away from the ocean). We landed at the Puʻu Waʻawaʻa Forest Reserve, where Kuʻulei, accompanied by her two sisters, Lehua and Puaʻala, and the steadfast Pualani Lincoln Maielua, continued to provide incredible, unique, and meaningful programming for our students. In exchange for the accommodation there, we were able to do a planting project in which we planted 175 native and endangered species of plants and trees alongside the park rangers and Elliot Parsons of the Three Mountain Alliance.

Our trip concluded with a powerful circle in which students reflected and expressed gratitude, and Pualani and Kuʻulei spoke, giving high praise to our students for what can only be described as their love and willingness to learn. I was so proud of our group and happy to share with them the people and places I consider home. Parents, thank you for trusting us with your children, and students, thank you for meriting my trust in bringing you to what is, for me, a very sacred place. Mr. Sweeney and I could not have asked for more."
—Kim Cope Tait

Student Reflections

  • "I learned about the Hawaiian people and the connection that they have with the environment and voyaging. I loved the entire trip because I was able to become friends with new people and have a new experience that I wouldn't have had without the guidance of Ms. Cope Tait."  —Nellie Smith

PHOTOS
 

Sports Research & Injury Prevention: Rocky Mountain Consortium

Schedule

  • Day 1:  Met with Michael Decker and Kim Gustafson with the Rocky Mountain Consortium to gain background knowledge of their company, what we would be doing for research, how we will conduct the research, and to plan the data collection days  
  • Days 2 & 3: Collected data on the mountain on a controlled course with brush gates taking on run on slalom skis and one on powder skis
  • March: We will be meeting with Dr. Decker again to review the results, determine what the study tells us about ski width, injury, and performance, and to prepare a presentation of our work for the Academic Symposium in May at VMS

PHOTOS
 

Local Threads

Schedule

  • Day 1: Met at school and research Patagonia (the company) focusing on ethical business practices, materials sourcing and quality, company policy and philosophy, etc; met at Maker + Stitch to discuss small business details with Kathryn Cooper and Liza Alrick and Nicole Hustad. Learned to knit!
  • Day 2: Traveled to Alpaca farm in Palisade to learn about wool, materials sourcing, mini-mill machinery, and creation of garments from animal to retail; traveled to Telluride and met with Western Rise, clothing company to learn about small business start-up, sourcing, production, online retail, clothing line development, etc.
  • Day 3: Met with Western Rise again, same focus including designing garments; traveled back to VMS
  • Day 4: Developed a business plan for a particular garment or clothing genre and presented to the group

PHOTOS
 

Makerspace Bike Lab: From Mechanized to Motorized

Schedule

  • Day 1: Disassembled mountain bike; located online instructions for installation of the mid-drive motor, brake cutoff switches, dropper post seat, thumb throttle; solved battery mounting location problem; installed dropper post
  • Day 2: Installed drive motor, speed sensor, brake cutoff switches, and downtube battery mount; Adjusted dropper post cable routing and tuned remote; researched solutions for chainring clearance issue; reprogrammed/hacked the motor controller to offer 9 levels of pedal assist and improve upon factory provided program
  • Day 3: Tested bike and determined that pedal assist levels should be optimized and that thumb throttle response was twitchy; programming was further optimized
  • Day 4: Replaced front and rear brakes and redesigned brake cutoff switch installation; design custom logo for vinyl cut decals
  • Day 5: Further testing and Fat Bike excursion at the Vail Nordic Center

Student Reflections

  • "I learned that I am good at improvising." —Henry Heaydon

PHOTOS
 

Morocco: The Crossroads of Islam

Schedule

  • Day 1: Denver to JFK; JFK overnight flight to Paris; Paris to Casablanca
  • Day 2: Arrive in Casablanca; met Cara and Shino, our Dragons instructors; 4 hour Train to Meknes; Dinner at a Cafe; 1 hour Grand-Taxi to Moulay Idriss; check into Riad; relaxed and recovered from travel
  • Day 3: Intro to Arabic; community mapping of Moulay Idriss; lunch and dinner at Riad
  • Day 4: Morning Hike into foothills; Grand Taxi to Azrou; met homestay families and began homestay
  • Day 5: Spent Day with homestay family; lecture with local Imam; tea with families, back to homestay
  • Day 6: Lecture with Aiesha about Feminism and women’s rights; host family farewell party
  • Day 7: Grad Taxi to Fez; checked into Riad; 4-hour scavenger hunt through the Medina; dinner in town
  • Day 8: Lecture with Dr. Fatima Sadiqi about linguistics and patriarchy; exploration of Medina in Fez; Trip to the Hammam; Ramadan-style breaking of the Fast at sunset
  • Day 9: Early train to Casablanca; visit to the Hassan II Mosque; exploration of Casablanca Medina; farewell dinner and closing ceremony

Student Reflections

  • "I learned that the Moroccan culture is all about creating personal interactions between one another and really valuing relationships regardless of being related. A highlight was definitely when we were in Fez and they were "breaking their fast" and the call to prayer came from every direction, and the sun was setting. It was a beautiful way to end our trip together listening to the call and listening to the city come to life." — Shelby Ostertag

PHOTOS
 

Mountains To Mardi Gras: Exploring New Orleans through Cultural Experiences and Hands-on Ecology

Schedule

  • Day 1: Orientation with Common Ground Relief; Visited David Young of the Capstone Project to discuss his urban farming initiative in the Lower 9th Ward; lunch at Melba’s PoBoys; toured the French Market; attended the Orpheus and Proteus Night Parades preceding Mardi Gras
  • Day 2: Attended Mardi Gras parades on St. Charles Ave. in the Garden District and enjoyed time with the Bolyard family who hosted our group
  • Day 3: Morning bike tour of New Orleans; watched street performers in Jackson Square; evening Jazz Show at Preservation Hall and Ghost Tour of the French Quarter
  • Day 4: Volunteered with Common Ground Relief and participated in two wetlands restoration projects planting trees and iris plants
  • Day 5: Volunteered half day in the Common Ground Relief nursery getting saplings ready to grow and be planted in the wetlands; headed to the airport in the afternoon

Student Reflections

  • "I learned a lot about the history of colonization and how it impacts modern day in aspects such as food, music, and art."  —Sammie Gish

PHOTOS
 

Santa Fe: Discovering O’Keefe Country

Schedule

  • Day 1: Travel to Santa Fe
  • Day 2: Visited Ghost Ranch where O’Keefe painted and drew and created our own art in the same vistas; enjoyed hiking, yoga and art games in the yurt
  • Day 3: Visited Plaza Blanca and Meow Wolf, took part in group art project
  • Day 4: Georgia O’Keefe Museum self guided tour; SITE Santa Fe Museum tour; walking tour of Santa Fe Plaza; Screen Printing workshop
  • Day 5: Travel back to Vail

Student Reflections

  • "A highlight for me was exploring all of the museums in Santa Fe with my Intraterm group. I think art is so much more thought-provoking when you have a group to explore it with. My group had the diversity of opinion to make discussions far deeper and more meaningful." — Mel McCalley
  • "I learned that I have some leadership skills. That if you really take the time to get to know people, they will become a good friend." —Maru Payen

PHOTOS
 

Ski Area Comparative Analysis and Statistics

Schedule

  • Day 1: Collect data about resorts and snowpack from resorts’ social media and websites; learned how to use Google sheets to organize, summarize, and display data; planned surveys and data collection strategies for the resorts we would visit
  • Day 2: Visited Aspen Snowmass to complete skier surveys, take snow measurements, and speak with a hospitality professional who collects data on customer satisfaction
  • Day 3: Skype interview with a marketing professional from Vail in Broomfield to learn about data collection and marketing; visited Vail to complete skier surveys, take snow measurements, and speak with a mountain ops professional about how data is collected and used on the mountain
  • Day 4: Skype interview with a business professional at Waterville valley to learn about how independent resorts operate; visited Ski Cooper to complete skier surveys and take snow measurements.
  • Day 5: Aggregated and completed summaries and displays of the data collected at each resort to discuss their differences, then examined sources of bias and brainstormed ways we could have improved our project


Student Reflections

  • "I learned that I love to work outside." —Cam Bill

PHOTOS