The High Mountain Institute (HMI) is a semester-away school in Leadville, Colorado, for high school students from around the country. It is just one of the many enticing options Concord Academy students can pick from if they choose to take a semester away during their junior year. HMI students combine academic studies with wilderness and environmental science activities, and take expeditions during the semester to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, among others. 

CA alumni, Anna Ginsburg ’17, is a science teaching apprentice at HMI this fall. Besides teaching environmental science, she works in the residential dorms (like a house parent), advises students, and supervises the expeditions. Although she did not go to HMI for a semester away while at CA, she took advantage of their summer program between her sophomore and junior years. Anna took some time to write to her old friends at CA and share all about her new job: 

Dear CA, 

As an apprentice, I help to teach Science, which is a mix of in-classroom class and field classes, I help lead backpacking expeditions in the Rockies as well as in the Utah canyons, and I help with residential life such as running activities and overseeing a cabin. It’s been a lot of fun combining these three aspects and creating a cohesive, fun community!

What it’s like being a teacher to juniors: It’s a lot of fun! I love teaching things that I’m passionate about, and the students here are really engaged and curious, which makes teaching easy. I only wish we had more time to cover the material more in depth.

The most valuable thing in my backpack is: Probably my sunglasses—here at 10,200 ft the sun is 60% stronger and I can really feel it, especially on sunny days. Since we’re outdoors so much, it’s really important that I wear them to protect my eyes from glare as well as to prevent headaches!

Being a teacher, I’ve learned that everyone has different learning styles and something that might work really well for me doesn’t work really well for everyone.

Something I brought to HMI from CA: The importance of friendship and trust. Without trust, communities can’t form, and CA showed me just how powerful a community based on trust is. I try and bring this into my interactions with students and adults at HMI. 

Hopefully I’ll come back and visit soon! 

– Anna ’17