Finishing Year 3, Extending the Vision

Alzar School | 01.05.15

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Each semester, the Alzar School asks our students to challenge themselves.  In the course of their semester, they find themselves consistently stretched.  There are long days on the trail, backpacking through the Owyhee Canyonlands.  There are epic study sessions as they engage in rigorous, college preparatory courses that equip them with the critical thinking skills to be thoughtful leaders.  And there are the meaningful culminating leadership projects students plan for implementation in their communities.  In their career as leaders, joining the Alzar School for a semester is just the launch of a lifelong journey towards being community leaders who work to make the world around them a better place.

The Alzar School provides transformative experiences for students… experiences that push them out of their comfort zones, and in the process challenge them to become leaders who are passionate and engaged in their communities.  We do this through the integration of rigorous academics, cultural exchange, and outdoor adventure.

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Metta (Cascade, Idaho) and Settie (Cleveland, OH) practice teamwork (and have some fun) on the Rio Petrohue in Chile.

Each year, we have refined our experiment in education to improve our programs.  There is a loose association of similar schools, called the Semester Schools Network, which requires for membership that a school has completed three years of operation.  The idea is that an out-of-the-box school that can “make it” for three years is likely to be around for the long haul.  So, since our first semester, finishing year 3 has been a benchmark we have looked forward to.  We are here tonight to celebrate the Alzar School’s successes, and we’re proud to be wrapping up an amazing year filled with many accomplishments.

We have been able to have this success thanks to supporters like you!

One of our alumni, Charlotte (from Maine), says this about her semester:

“The best experience of my life: learning from/being inspired by my peers and mentors all while spending my days on beautiful rivers and mountains.  I’ve learned what it means to be a leader, be a follower, be independent, be aware of my surroundings, and to manage risk, among many other things.  Two years later I find myself being grateful everyday to have been part of such a community.”  – Charlotte, Fall 2012

Boise BBQ Presentation - 4.22.2015 (4)Last year, we asked for supporters’ help in funding a new yurt for students.  We had a goal of raising $80,000, and thanks to donations big and small, we GOT THERE.

With the additional yurt, we are up to our largest semester yet, with 19 students.  Many of these students would not be having this life changing experience right now if it hadn’t been for your support.  This year, we have really expanded our draw, attracting students from all over the world… NYC, Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco, Memphis, Baton Rouge, Charleston, Denver, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Spain, Chile… and of course, Boise, Cascade, and McCall, Idaho.

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The growth of the semester program has been incredible to be a part of, for so many reasons.  First and foremost, we love that more motivated teenagers are able to have this experience and we are able to accomplish our mission of developing young leaders on a larger scale.

This year, a visible symbol of our increased presence has been our new school bus, which transports our students to their expeditions here in the States.  With increased enrollment, we have been able to add two more full time positions at the school.  We have exceeded our staff housing capacity on campus