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Upper School Division Director

Dr. Tila Hidalgo

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September 24, 2021

The school year is off to a wonderful start! One of the things I was most excited about when I first accepted this position at The Colorado Springs School was the opportunity to work for an institution that values rich, hands-on authentic learning experiences for its students. I can enthusiastically report that everything I have observed and taken part in thus far this month has exceeded my expectations. 

We kicked off the year with our annual Mountain Caravan trip in a new location, Camp Shady Brook, and it did not disappoint. Students reconnected with old friends, and made new ones, as we welcomed 9th graders and a number of other new faces to the Upper School division. In the spirit of community, our 12th grade leaders shared a memento of their time here at CSS and welcomed the 9th grade class with a cookie social. We bonded over s'mores around the campfire, and even had the opportunity to do some stargazing, a moment so special to me after living for two years in Hanoi where I did not see many stars. 

Planned activities such as tomahawk throwing, archery, rock climbing, the milk crate challenge, and ropes courses presented students with unique opportunities to try challenging things, requiring both an individual and team effort in order to achieve success. Overall, this trip provides a snapshot of the kinds of experiences I’d like our students to encounter and embrace together the whole year through both in and beyond the classroom. 

As we moved into the weeks that followed, I had the privilege of seeing – firsthand – our faculty craft and present meaningful lessons that not only encourage students to engage in learning, but also to demonstrate their mastery. So far this year, our students have tested and identified living organisms and unknown substances, analyzed everything from data to literature, participated in rich classroom discussions requiring them to think critically, practiced speaking in world languages while discovering European culture and cuisine (as shown here), and worked together with their peers to accomplish tasks big and small. These lessons will prepare them to be successful in classes now, but more importantly, our graduates will have obtained the skills necessary to accomplish any goals they’ve set out for themselves in the future. 

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Out on the Quad, our French students partake in a picnic and play Pétanque, a tossing game with roots in Ancient Rome.

Outside of the classroom, our bright, young learners are busy re-establishing their own personal identities by pursuing interests in extracurricular offerings, such as clubs and athletic activities. Our students seek involvement in a wide variety of clubs, with topics ranging from academic and service-oriented activities to interests just for fun. A big congratulations to our newest National Honor Society inductees, who joined the NHS earlier this week! They are:

Leksi E. '23

Henry G. '22

Taylor H. '23

Andrew H. '23

James H. '22

Morgan J. '23    

Carissa L. '23   

Haegan M. '23

Landon M. '23

Sofia O. '23

Chloe P. '23

Cailan R. '23

Zak T. '23

Tristan T. '23

River V. '23

Regardless of the kind of club, students are demonstrating leadership as they plan meetings and events. For example, our Student Council Forum had its first community morning meeting, and has been diligently implementing this week’s Homecoming-related activities, including a fun-filled spirit week that will culminate in a tailgate on Saturday afternoon and traditional Homecoming dance tomorrow night. 

All things considered, I’m so grateful for a school year that – despite still facing challenges brought on by COVID-19 – has proven to be one full of community traditions and authentic learning experiences.

I hope to see you at the tailgate as we celebrate a great start to 2021-2022!


Dr. Hidalgo

Upper School Spotlight

Ahna W. '24

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On September 9, Ahna W. '24 was quoted in a Pikes Peak Bulletin article for her work as a volunteer tour guide with Crystal Valley Cemetery in Manitou Springs. Upon seeing the story, the School dug deeper (pardon my pun) and discovered Ahna's passion for breathing new life into cemeteries across the Pikes Peak region. 

Read more

Dr. Longo

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Our very own Upper School English Teacher John Longo, Ph.D., debuted in the Funky Little Theater Co. production of Moon Over Buffalo on September 17. This madcap comedy – written by Ken Ludwig and directed by Chris Medina – will run until October 2. Please join me in applauding Dr. Longo for his excellence in community theatre!

Learn more & purchase tickets

The Colorado Springs School

21 Broadmoor Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80906

Work: (719) 434-3570

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