March 15, 2024

Greetings Ospreys,

We are heading into Spring Break today, with hopes that our students, teachers and families find plenty of opportunities for connection, play and relaxation. It's a well-deserved time for Ospreys to recharge before we return for the final stretch of the school year. As a reminder, Monday after Spring Break is a Professional Development Day, so students will return to the Nest on Tuesday, March 26.

This week, we've seen some outstanding emphasis on the "engaged citizenship" piece of our school's mission, with juniors conducting a mock City Council Meeting in Durango City Council chambers Wednesday and sophomores completing their Model United Nations conferences. Check out some great photos of the class of 2025 at City Council from today's Durango Herald and read on to learn more.

Sophomores Attempt Compromise in Israel-Palestine Conflict in MUN Conferences

Violet Basley '26, Devin Osman '26, and Jax Novak '26, Animas Quill

The 10th graders executed their Model United Nations conferences this week, attempting to negotiate solutions to the ongoing conflict in Israel/Palestine. The three sophomore pods held separate mock conferences on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in Peter’s classroom, which they flipped into a simulated version of the UN Assembly Hall. All three pods had different outcomes in their conferences, but all three found possible compromises.

Sarah Brockett’s 10th-grade class had their Model UN conference on Tuesday, March 12th. There were four resolutions passed: France proposed a two-state solution; Japan proposed humanitarian aid and Palestinian refugee camps to receive food and water; the US proposed Israel and Palestine as UN peacekeeping missions; the UK proposed the protection of civilians and the authorization of immediate humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza. 

During their conference, countries came together with allies and created amendments for these four resolutions. There were two amendments passed. The first was to procure funding from surrounding countries and more from UNRWA, making new camps with food and water and expanding already existing refugee camps. The second is a two-state solution, where Palestine would become its own sovereign nation and the two countries would live peacefully side by side.

Sarah reflected, “I hope that students understand that international relations are deeply complex, and that it’s worthy to try and solve these major global issues in a diplomatic way.”

Peter Bradley’s AM class’ conference on Thursday saw four resolutions proposed. The resolution that ultimately passed was proposed India (Penny Mark) for a modified two-state solution with a partition plan and setting up democratic elections in Palestine. Many amendments were made, and it concluded with an amendment for a temporary ceasefire in which Israel’s troops would be replaced by UN peacekeeping forces who would arrest, disarm, and prosecute Hamas.

Max Magee, who represented Israel, reflected on the result: “Based on the perspective of Israel, it was a win for Israel. But if we take ourselves out of the perspective of Israel it was a terrible resolution for the citizens of Palestine. It really showed the abuse of power of the United Nations Security Council.” 

Penny shared her learning: “My biggest takeaway was about the conflict itself and what people are experiencing. I also learned a lot about how the system works in resolving these types of issues.” 

Peter’s PM pod proposed four different resolutions. Israel’s resolution to take care of Palestinian refugees was ultimately passed with an amendment that included a three year ceasefire. Israel also agreed to accept sanctions on their trade in exchange for Hamas being taken out of power.

A highlight of the conference happened when a member of our Inclusion Department, Academic Coach Charlie Newton, stepped in for an absent student to serve as the delegate for the United States. In keeping with the U.S. would actually do and say, Charlie’s accurate representation of the U.S. angered the majority of the rest of the delegates. South Africa (Thalia Campbell) along with the United Kingdom (Devin Osman) expressed their distaste towards Israel and the U.S. The United States (Charlie) retaliated with mediocre insults towards the United Kingdom’s claims and government functions, along with South Africa’s biased government policies. Other nations got involved in the protestations against the U.S., which resulted in a contentious conference where resolutions were difficult to pass. 

Peter reflected on the outcome of this project: ”I am so proud of my students. Never in my life have I heard so many students call learning about history fun. In a pretty regionally-focused community, we brought the world to them and made them more globally aware.”

Juniors Explore How to Citizen in Mock City Council Meeting at City Hall

Taryn Valverde '25, Animas Quill

On Wednesday March 13th, AHS juniors ventured downtown to City Hall to enact the inaugural Mock City Council meeting as part of their “How to Citizen” Humanities project. Students played the roles of City Councilors and other key city officials, as well as representing members of the public and the press. The main substance of this meeting was to discuss potential proposed improvements to the skateboarding facilities at Schneider Park. 

Two groups of students representing engaged citizens did extensive research and offered proposals on how to improve the skatepark. One group proposed to repair cracked concrete, add lights, and a year round water fountain, and the other group advocated to build a roof over the facility with built in lights. Both groups of students argued passionately for the idea they worked on. It was clear that they genuinely cared about the issue.

The AHS City Councilors ultimately decided to go for the less expensive proposal for the repairs, lights, and water fountain. “Mayor” Plant O’Kane shared her logic for her vote: “I voted based on the information we were given. There wasn’t as much information as I hoped for the roof project, and the budget wasn’t specific enough. There were some counterpoints I heard from the public participation that swayed my thinking.” 

Marlow Mullens was part of the group that proposed a new roof over the skatepark. Although the City Council voted against his proposal, Marlow learned a lot about being a citizen. He shared, “I learned how to participate in our community and how the system works to get new things in our town. It takes a lot of work and research and collaboration. You have to know your stuff to get it done.”

Eleventh grade Humanities teacher Alec Johnson, who has spearheaded this new project and hopes to continue it into the future, commented on what he intended his students take away from this meeting: “I hope for students to get a couple things: one, I want them to have a better understanding than I did when I was younger about how local politics function, as well as a sense of personal authority that they can get involved in and it’s not unattainable, or inexcusable. I also hope they get an experience of agency and they can identify a thing that they feel is important and they want to make a change in.” 

Junior Gavin Nicoly reflected on his learning: “This is teaching me how to be a part of the community, and also a respectful citizen. It's cool to see how everyone works well with each other as well as building off each other’s ideas.“

Beautiful work, juniors!

Ospreys Explore Environmental Resiliency

Des Tsosie '24, Animas Quill

On Tuesday, March 12th, select Biology, Ecology and Water in the West Osprey Block students migrated to the Student Union at Fort Lewis College for the San Juan Resilience Youth Summit event hosted by Mountain Studies Institute.

Students were invited by Community Science Director Amanda Kuenzi, who was a guest speaker in Mike’s class the week before, to join their Youth Summit, either to present their posters in a gallery walk or offer a presentation on a topic they have studied.

Mike shared, “It’s very fun to be able to watch students from Cortez to Ignacio and be a part of an event that was student run. Students did most of the talking and organization for the event. Everything went very smoothly and all the students presented with excellence and expertise, it was also amazing to see our Osprey Block work finally be presented.”


The Nest was abuzz with mini-exhibitions today, as Mike Bienkowski's 9th grade Biology students shared their projects demonstrating what they've learned about genetics, and Julian Springer's Intro to Outdoor Recreation students competed in the Cast Iron Chef cook-off, showing off their outdoor cooking skills. It was a busy week!

Coming Up after Spring Break

Ninth grader Zoe Boespflug is working to start an intramural volleyball team this spring, much as a group of sophomores pulled together a soccer team in the fall. The club will practice at Santa Rita Park on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00 to 5:30, starting March 28, splitting into groups and be doing light drills and games, according to common interest and skill level. All students are welcome, whether you’re already playing at a high level, or if you’ve never played but just have an interest to learn. Contact [email protected] for more information.

AHS Prom tickets go on sale March 26. Juniors and seniors can purchase tickets for $25 each, and may invite one high school aged guest. The prom is Saturday, April 27.

Ninth grade Sexual/Relationship Health Education classes resume Wednesday March 27 and continue weekly during core math and science classes through April 10.

The first graduation deadline is coming up for seniors and families! Cap and gown orders are due Friday, March 29 for seniors. Order from Jostens here or email [email protected] if you plan to borrow these items from AHS or a friend/sibling. If you haven't yet, be sure to email senior photo, baby photo and quote to [email protected] for the yearbook ASAP; we'll use yearbook senior photos in the Senior Celebration Booklet, unless you send a different one to Libby.

Student Council hosts Ospreys on Ice on the Friday after break, inviting all students to Chapman Ice Rink for a fun, free social gathering.

Senior Project TED Talks are April 1-10, and are open to the public. View the Senior Project TED Talk Schedule to see who is presenting when, and what their research questions are. We strongly encourage folks to attend these culminating presentations, which give seniors a chance to share their extensive research and show off four years' worth of presentation skill development!

Ninth graders will embark on Career Site Visits on Wednesday, April 3. Site visits are part of the ongoing Career Explore curriculum where students learn about careers in our area by going out into the community and interacting with professionals. After speaking with over 30 different industries at the Career Fair in February, students now have the opportunity to engage with different career paths by going right to the source, where the work is happening. Students will be excused from their core classes and visiting two different workplaces that they're interested in, all within 30 minutes of AHS. Please sign up here if you can help transport students.

2023/24 AHS Yearbooks

The Animas High School 2023-2024 Yearbook is officially on sale! Purchase a yearbook directly from Jostens for $40. The deadline for ordering yearbooks this year is May 20. This year’s book will include late spring events such as prom, LINK, graduation, grade-level trips, and more! Everyone who orders a book will receive the signing pages by the end of the school year, and the Quill will host an August distribution party when the complete book arrives.

State Champions!

Finn Scarpella '25 and Zoe Ramsey '25, Animas Quill

It has been a long road for the Durango Demons Men’s Hockey team; however, it was well worth it. Last Tuesday, March 5th, after a grueling competition against the Summit High Tigers from Breckenridge, the Demons won the state championship at the University of Denver Magness Arena. The final score of the game was 4-2.

After starting 2-5, the Demons rallied an impressive comeback effort, finishing the regular season 14-6. It is only the second year that the team has been a part of the CHSAA program, marking a rapid rise to the top of their Class 4A bracket.

Animas High School senior Eli Holden is a left wing and has been playing with the varsity team since 10th grade. This is the first time that an Animas High School student has been a part of a state champion team.

Eli is known on his team for being an “enforcer”; he hits hard, but always has a positive attitude and tries to spread team spirit. A midseason shoulder injury didn’t hold him back from a strong finish. He played in the championship game with great energy and grit.

After reflecting on the season, Eli commented that it was a “slow start, but a fairy tale ending. I couldn’t ask for a better way to end my high school career. I am so lucky to be a part of this team, all the players, coaches, and families will forever be with me and the championship run.”

Congrats to Eli and the whole DHS championship team!

Academic Advising and 2024/25 Student Schedules

Erin Cummins-Roper and Elliot Baglini will continue with one-on-one spring academic advising meetings after the break, doing a personalized credit review with each student to be sure they are on track to meet all graduation requirements, and using the 2024/25 Course Catalog to review next year's elective offerings along with honors, concurrent enrollment and Career Technical Pathway opportunities. Course requests will happen via Infinite Campus in May, with support from staff during school hours. Students and families who are transferring to AHS or joining our 9th grade next fall are encouraged to attend the New/Transfer Student Academic Advising Session for Fall 2024 on Wednesday, April 10 at 5pm.

Fall 2024 Enrollment

This Wednesday evening the Nest was filled with excited students and families who plan to join our school community for the 2024/25 school year. We loved meeting them! Fall 2024 Enrollment is now open for incoming 9th through 12th graders, with limited seats in each grade and a waitlist for our 9th grade.

Families considering AHS for next school year are strongly encouraged to visit our campus or attend an online information session. The next Campus Tour is Tuesday, March 26 at 5:30pm. View all dates and RSVP here.

Current 9th, 10th, and 11th grade families, please complete re-registration as soon as possible to help us get an accurate count of open seats for next year.

Email [email protected] with enrollment questions.

Have a great Spring Break and thanks for all you do to help the Ospreys soar!

Upcoming Events

Spring Break: Mon. 3/18 through Fri. 3/22

Professional Development Day (no school): Mon. 3/25

AHS Campus Tour: Tues. 3/26, 5:30pm; RSVP here

NEST Meeting: Wed. 3/27

StuCo Presents Ospreys on Ice: Fri. 3/29

Senior Project TED Talks (12th grade): Mon. 4/1 through Wed. 4/10; see TED Talk Schedule

AHS Online Information Session: Wed. 4/3, 5:30pm; RSVP here

Osprey Theatre Company presents An Evening of Original One-Act Plays: Fri. 4/5 and Sat. 4/6, 7pm at the Durango Arts Center

CMAS Science Test (11th grade): Wed. 4/10

AHS Campus Tour: Thurs. 4/11, 8:45am; RSVP here

TWIGS Parent Coffee: Fri. 4/12, 8:30am

Application Case Study Workshop: Sat. 4/13, 9am to 12:15pm

Professional Development Day (no school): Mon. 4/15

PSAT10 (10th grade): Wed. 4/17

SAT (11th grade): Thurs. 4/18

PSAT8/9 (9th grade): Fri. 4/19

TWIGS Teen Mental Health Event: Tues. 4/23, 6pm

Animas Wilderness Experience: April 19-26

AHS Prom: Sat. 4/27

LINK Internships (11th grade): Wed. 5/1 through Tues. 5/21

Professional Development Day (no school): Mon. 5/6

All School Exhibition: Thurs. 5/16, 4-7pm

Graduation: Fri. 5/24, 4pm at Community Concert Hall

Transitional Presentations of Learning: Tues. 5/28 through Thurs. 5/30

Last Day of School: Thurs. 5/30

AHS 2023/24 School Calendar
23/24 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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