October 20, 2023

Greetings Ospreys,

Thank you to our 9th, 10th and 11th grade families for making time to join us on campus last night for Fall Student-led Conferences. We hope the conversations felt supportive and valuable. It's great to welcome families into the building and we know that strong connections between school and home are foundational to student success. We heard some parent advocacy for helping connect families who live in Bayfield to explore carpooling; if you are interested, please contact libby.cowles@animashighshchool.com.

Three members of our AHS Mountain Biking Team have headed to Glenwood Springs for the Colorado High School Cycling League State Championships, which take place tomorrow and Sunday. Big congrats to Joseba Izaguirre '26, Jake Sandeau '26 and Delyla Kroenung '27 who qualified in the Sophomore Boys, JV Boys and Freshman Girls categories. We're proud of our student athletes, including those competing on Durango High School teams this DHS Homecoming weekend!

This gorgeous fall has been perfect for getting out in the field, and Julian Springer's Geology students took advantage of it this week, heading up into the San Juan Mountains to get up close and personal with the complex, fascinating history of the earth that manifests itself through such varied terrain in our region.On Monday, Mike Bienkowski's Ecology students will visit the Perins Peak burn scar to conduct ecological monitoring and data collection comparing post-burn areas with those unaffected by the fire, which took place in May 2022. Hands-on experiences like these are a key part of project-based learning, as they help students practice skills used by professionals as they explore real-world questions.

Ninth graders and transfer students in Drew Semel's Digital Arts class are building their skills through an AHS classic mini-project, Teacher Creatures, where students use PhotoShop to insert faculty into pop culture posters. We hope you enjoy searching for familiar faces in these exemplary samples from Alex Gonzales, Kali Bane and Delyla Kroenung.

Mini-project in 10th grade Humanities Tracks the Journey of Consumer Products 

Violet Basley ‘26, Animas Quill

Students in Sarah Brockett’s Humanities 10 class completed mini-projects on globalization and trade this week. Students were asked to choose an item to research and track its journey from manufacturer to consumer. They looked at such factors as the working conditions of the factories and the environmental impact their item’s production has on the planet. 

On Thursday, they presented their findings to their peers from a collaborative map, where each student placed pins tracing their item’s journey. The map also contains QR codes that link to their findings and explain their research further.

Sarah shared, “I wanted students to realize that they are a part of a global world and that their choices have a direct impact on people on the other side of the planet.” 

Student Kenna Howe shared “I found it interesting that almost none of the items were made in the U.S.”

Check out the map outside of Sarah’s classroom upstairs to learn more about the research that sophomores did!

Senior Ospreys Win Library Bookmark Contest

Devin Osman '26, Animas Quill

Seniors Haley Hurst and River Horner won 1st and 2nd place respectively in the Friends of the Library bookmark competition. Their gorgeous and brilliant designs featured quotes from famous literary figures such as Jane Austen and Sue Monk Kidd. 

The contest, hosted by the Durango Public Library, asked local elementary, middle, and high school students to design a bookmark containing original art and a book-related quote. The winners were awarded $100 and $50 gift certificates to Maria’s Bookshop

River and Haley explained the motivation behind their designs. “I honestly just chose a quote and decided to start doodling what I associated with it. I was motivated to make it meaningful to both me and everyone” Haley shared.

River explained, “I made mine off of my favorite book, The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd, which helped me make the design I wanted. I wanted it to show life, so i made my design full of the bees and flowers which is a part of the book.” 

Their art teacher, Britt Blasdell, reflected on how she felt towards seeing Animas High School art outside of campus: “I find it endearing, and I feel like as a school we already do a great job showing students’ artistic potential, so I’m very proud to see it showcased outside of school.”

Welcome to New AHS Board Member Christy Deem

We are honored to have Osprey parent Christy Deem (mom to Ethan Deem '27) as the newest member of the AHS Board of Directors. Christy has been committed to service to our community since moving to Durango in 2004. She has served on several boards, including the Durango Public Library, La Plata Community Clinic and Durango BMX. Being involved in her son's school has always been a priority.

Christy earned her B.A. in nursing from William Jewell College in Kansas City, Missouri and after serving as a nurse for 25 years, she is now pursuing a master’s degree to turn her attention to training the next generation of health care providers.

Christy traces her belief in the power of education back to her grandfather, who served as a school superintendent in the Philippines. As each of his seven children immigrated to the United States, they sent money back home to educate the next sibling and help them move to the US as well. Eventually, the entire family obtained college degrees and beyond.

We are excited about the ways Christy's organization, persistence and dedication will contribute to our school and are grateful for her service!

FLC Student Teachers

Our ongoing partership with the Fort Lewis College School of Education continues to grow, and many of our faculty began their careers as undergraduate or graduate students at FLC. This year, we are happy to have two outstanding student teachers from FLC

Oliver Kennedy is teaching a Comedic Performance elective while student teaching with our theater teacher, Joy Kilpatrick and digital arts teacher Drew Semel. Oliver hails from Dallas, Texas and his educational journey started in acting and film at Oklahoma City University. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he discovered his passion for teaching. He will graduate from Fort Lewis College this December with a B.A. in K-12 Theatre Education. In addition to his teaching and student teaching, Oliver is supporting students through the AHS Inclusion Department this year.

Outside of the classroom, Oliver enjoys spending weekends on the disc golf course and dedicates his evenings to theatrical rehearsals for upcoming productions. His ability to connect with students and joyful presence make him a valuable addition to our school community.

Antonio Acuna's educational journey began in Napa, California, where they spent their formative years. Seeking to expand their horizons, Antonio made the move to Aztec, New Mexico to attend San Juan College. After earning an A.S. in Mathematics in 2021, Antonio, a first-generation college student, made a pivotal decision to transfer to Fort Lewis College, where they are working towards a B.A. in Secondary Education in Mathematics with a minor in TESOL.

Antonio's aspirations extend beyond the traditional classroom setting. They aspire to challenge and dismantle the stigma associated with mathematics, striving to shift preconceived notions about students' abilities in this subject. Student teaching with seasoned and talented mentor Lauren Lucky is providing a glimpse into the ways successful math instruction can coincide with educational freedom and creativity, while serving students well in an inclusive classroom community. We're glad to have Antonio in the classroom, sharing his thoughtful, kind and insightful presence with our students!

Next Week's Events

We hope to see a strong turnout for the next TWIGS events on Tuesday, an important conversation about the ways open, supportive dialogue at home can contribute to student mental health. Thank you to Osprey parent Rachel Turiel (mom to Col Hinds '24 and Rose Hinds '25) for sharing her professional skills as a nonviolent communication facilitater and partnering with our Dean of Student Wellness Erin Skyles to lead the session.

Our juniors will take the PSAT/NMSQT on Wednesday morning. They will be excused from morning core classes, but expected to attend the NEST Meeting and XBlock that afternoon. Wednesday is the final XBlock for 1st quarter. Look for an email next week presenting choices for 2nd quarter classes.

On Friday, 9th graders will begin a series of Sexual/Relationship Health Education classes co-taught by Erin Skyles using the evidence-based UnHushed curriculum. See full details here.

AHS Enrollment

The January 2024 Intent to Enroll form is now open for students who would like to transfer to AHS for 2nd semester. Fall 2024 enrollment opens January 17 and 8th grade families are encouraged to visit with us to learn more and see if AHS is the best fit. The next Campus Tour is Thursday, November 2 at 5:30pm. RSVP here. Contact libby.cowles@animashighschool.com with enrollment questions.

Enjoy the weekend and thanks for all you do to help the Ospreys soar!

Upcoming Events

TWIGS Teen Mental Health Event: Tues. 10/24, 6pm

PSAT/NMSQT (11th grade): Wed. 10/25

NEST Meeting: Wed. 10/25

AHS Spirit Week: Mon. 10/20 through Fri. 11/3

Student Ambassador Applications Due: Fri. 11/3

2nd Quarter XBlocks Begin: Wed. 11/1

10th Grade Postsecondary Night: Wed. 11/1, 5:30pm

AHS Campus Tour: Thurs. 11/2, 5:30pm RSVP here

No Hub Bus: Mon. 11/6

9th Grade Postsecondary Night: Wed. 11/8, 5:30pm

TWIGS Parent Evening Coffee (online): Mon. 11/13, 6pm

AHS Board Meeting: Thurs. 11/14, 5:30pm

Thanksgiving Break: Mon. 11/20 through Fri. 11/24

AHS 2023/24 School Calendar
22/23 Daily Schedule
AHS Events Calendar
Animas High School prepares all students for college and postsecondary success by creating critical thinkers and engaged citizens through an innovative, student-centered, project-based curriculum. We accomplish this through:
Rigorous academics, where all students are prepared for college success
Culture of excellence, where students are held to high expectations
Strong student-faculty relationships, where students are well known.
Engaging learning, where students see the relevance in their education

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