March 18, 2022
sophomore StuCo rep Zoell Lhomi provides a little musical entertainment at the campus clean up during Tuesday's culture-building day
Greetings Ospreys,

We are so proud of our students and staff for the thoughtful, connective conversations and renewed engagement we're seeing following our day of student-led culture building activities earlier this week. As we mark the two-year anniversary of the onset of COVID-19's impacts on our school and community and prepare to head off to Spring Break, Animas is feeling more "Animas" than it has in a while. It's been a tough two years for our students, staff and families, filled with many cancellations, losses and disruptions. As we emerge from behind our masks, re-invigorate learning with experiential, field-based activities and work our way towards end-of-year events like Prom, All School Exhibition and Graduation, Osprey energy is running high--and it feels really good!
Upcoming Events
our staff has a Professional Development Day on Monday, March 28, and students return to the Nest for classes on Tuesday, March 29. Upon their return, juniors will have off campus privileges for lunch in preparation for the freedoms and responsibilities they'll experience during LINK Internships, which begin on April 25.

One outcome of our culture-building day was an understanding that Ospreys want more fun opportunities to get to know each other better. Student Council is looking forward to sponsoring lunchtime activities in the remaining two months of the school year, starting with a screening of the film Ratatouille Tuesday through Thursday our first week back.

Seniors and their families, please mark your calendars for the Graduation Meeting on Tuesday, April 5, 5:30pm. We'll share important information about senior pages in the yearbook, the Senior Celebration Booklet, cap & gown orders, graduation week festivities and more.

The AHS Prom is scheduled for Saturday, April 16, 7-9:30pm at the Durango Elks Lodge. Tickets will be available for juniors and seniors to purchase after Spring Break and each junior or senior may invite a high school aged guest. We're excited to host our first prom since 2019 and grateful to the group of students who are organizing this event.

Registration for Fall 2022
Current families, please be sure to complete Fall 2022 Registration for Returning Students by March 28. Need the link to all registration steps? Click here. We look forward to welcoming you back for another year!
Building Our New Nest
Starting April 8, we're inviting the community to join us on Fridays for Elevated Nest Tours, a chance to get a look at the exciting progress on our new campus at Fort Lewis College. The new building is really beginning to take shape--join us as we show it off! We've launched the Elevating Animas fundraising campaign to raise the final $1.5 million needed to ensure that the educational opportunities within the new building will match the capabilities this building will provide. AHS is greatly appreciative of all the support we have and will continue to receive to build our new Nest. To convey this appreciation in a long-lasting and meaningful way the new building will have a Donor Wall, shown below, as a way of thanking the many generous donors who have given to the campaign.
Sophomores Get Inspired by Week of Connection and Service
Maddie Tharp, Illyria Brunner, Mia Macon, and Bella Rodriguez, Animas Quill
Another amazing Sophomore Inspire Week is in the books! Last week, March 7-11, instead of going their usual class schedule, the sophomore class delved into an exploration of future college and career options as well as participating in a variety of meaningful community service projects with local organizations. 

The week was focused on introducing students to prospective careers, their own aptitudes and how these align with their interests. The first two days were spent educating the students about options after graduation and different types of colleges, as well as looking at possible career choices, and what they entail. Over the following three days, the students broke up into several groups and headed off for their community service immersion. The purpose of these experiences was to give students a chance to test the waters of careers and internships, to find out what they like and don't like, and give back positively to the community. 

The week was planned and executed by the sophomore teaching team and College and Career Counselor Erin Cummins-Roper, who did a lot of the outreach for the community service projects. Erin shared her feelings about the experience: “Sophomore Inspire Week was super successful. We were able to complete five projects and touch on a variety of different ways to engage with the community. Students seemed to have a really good time and they learned a lot. I was really stressed leading up to it that it wouldn’t fall into place and work out, [but] the magic of Animas came to life, and it turned out to be this really amazing thing.”
Erin took her group of sophomores to the Durango Early Learning Center (DELC) to design and build a mud kitchen and fairy houses for their playground. The first morning they got to know the little ones, playing and collecting feedback about design ideas and how the preschoolers wanted everything to look. After spending time at DELC, sophomores consolidated all of the ideas and made a list full of supplies they would need to make the children’s ideas come to life. Once the plans were finalized, they went to Home Depot and Walmart to gather materials to start the building process. Back at the Nest, with help from a volunteer parent, some of the students were able to build a professional mud kitchen, while also learning how to properly use power tools. Others worked on building and beautifying tiny fairy houses, full of magical touches for the little ones. They took a trip to the Humane Society thrift store and got little pots and pans along with cooking utensils and measuring cups for the children to play with. They then loaded up the houses and mud kitchen and delivered it all to the DELC, much to the amazement of their new little friends. DELC Director Becca Trefry remarked, “The best part of the experience was seeing the connections made between the AHS high schoolers and the DELC students. The children's faces seeing the final products of the mud kitchen and fairy houses was pure delight! I love that our children were able to have role models in ‘the big kids’ that came to visit!” Bennett, age 5, offered, “"I liked playing the zombie game with the teenagers. We were trying to eat one of them!"
Humanities teacher Lori Fisher’s group worked with The Juniper School to plan and design a sensory garden for the elementary school children to be constructed in the fall. The Juniper group began by observing and getting to know the 4th and 5th grade classes at the school and compiled fun and aesthetic designs from the children and staff. Ms. Andrea, a 5th grade teacher from Juniper, reflected, “It may be called Sophomore Inspire Week, but it really inspires the 5th graders. They were really excited to work with older students as mentors and teachers.” In addition to designing the garden, Animas students planned and taught lessons relating to the wildlife and plants of Colorado. The interaction with the students allowed the sophomores to gain communication and leadership skills while having a larger product in mind. Niko Peterson reflected, “Seeing the little kids so excited to learn gives me hope for the future because knowledge is power, and their enthusiasm was electric. I also have a newfound respect for teachers who plan and execute lessons.” Throughout the week the Animas students worked together to design, market, and plan ways to create the sensory garden that incorporated all five senses. The garden is designed to foster an interactive experience instead of simply having a few boxes with flowers, so the children may have a new nature element in the fall. The end result of this week will hopefully allow for a beautiful, fun experience for everyone who comes upon the garden!
Lori’s student teacher Katherine Pamplin rallied her group to design and create a beautiful large mural for the Rainbow Youth Center at the Commons Building. They created the mural on one of the walls in the office building hall to brighten up their community. The students painted the earth with a rainbow rocket coming out of the Four Corners area, and they let their imaginations run wild embellishing the space around the Earth. All supplies were donated from parents, AHS, and Handcrafted House who generously donated fresh paint. The mural can be seen by all who visit the Commons building! After three days of hard work, the people of the Commons now have something beautiful to see every day. Katherine shared her perception of the experience: “It went really great. I left all of the design and work up to the students, and I was pleasantly surprised with the result. They were able to add their own inspiration to the mural, which left us with a beautiful final product.”
Physics teacher Madi Neukirch took her group of sophomores to Weaselskin Farm and Equestrian Center to work with horses and conservation efforts with owner Jennifer Thurston. Each day started with the students helping Jennifer and her assistant with feeding and watering the horses and cleaning the pens. Interspersed with working with the horses, Jennifer shared her plentiful knowledge and wisdom with the students, teaching them about business and conservation as well as her philosophy of handling horses. The first day ended with Jennifer walking the students around the property she has been working to conserve over the past few years. She explained the ecological, archaeological, and cultural significance of the space and the amazing fact that the land hadn't been disturbed for nearly 1000 years. The second day was slightly derailed by a freak snowstorm that hit. Instead of spending the day working on the organic garden, the class learned how to handle, walk, lunge, and harness horses. Although gardening wasn't possible on the second day due to the weather, by Friday enough snow had melted to move large pieces of fencing and survey where a new irrigation system would eventually be placed. The last few activities of the internship included fencing with swords, as Jennifer is a pentathlon coach, and reflecting on the activities and what the students had learned over the course of the internship.
Math teacher Ande Lloyd’s group gave back to the community by building and distributing Free Little Library boxes to be placed around Durango. They spent a few days drafting designs for the boxes, which they would be building themselves. After the designs were done, the group stayed at Animas, building the boxes shaped like little houses, giving students the opportunity to learn how to use power tools and work with wood. After painting and other refinements to the library boxes, the group was able to collect a plethora of books to be placed in the boxes. They finished three libraries to be placed at choice locations. Ande shared, “It was really cool for the kids because they got to create something to benefit the community. It was great to come together and make something for other people that they can use and enjoy.”

It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has absolutely strained this community and the interconnectedness of the whole world. It has been hard to function as a school, let alone a city and a society; however, after these difficult times many individuals are coming together stronger than ever. In the past, Sophomore Inspire Week has been a chance for students to contribute to their community and see themselves as a young adult in the world, learning about their own skills. This year, not only did the sophomores get to discover new things about themselves, but they were also genuinely involved in strengthening and rebuilding lost connections in the community as a whole. Sophomore Mia Macon shared, “Being able to join the Durango community as a young adult, especially after Covid, truly allowed me to feel as if I had more of a place in this town and gave me the chance to work at something more than an assignment. We need to rebuild this community after such a global challenge, and in my own mind Sophomore Inspire Week is a spectacular example of how we as a school can contribute.”

Thanks for all you do to help the Ospreys soar and enjoy Spring Break!

PS--our apologies for an error in last week's News from the Nest, where we misidentified Gareth Keohane as Nove Tocco in the Spanish 1 photo!
Curious what Ospreys are doing for Spring Break? Check out this video from Quillsprey Scarlett Moore!
Upcoming Events

Spring Break: Mon. 3/21 through Fri. 3/25

Professional Development Day (no classes): Mon. 3/28

StuCo Sponsored Lunch Movie: Tues. 3/19 through Fri. 4/1

AHS Open House for Prospective Families: Thurs. 3/31, 8:45am

AHS Board Meeting: WEd. 3/30, 5:30pm

School Excellence Committee Meeting: Fri. 4/1, 12pm

Graduation Information Family Meeting (12th grade): Tues. 4/5, 5:30pm

Elevated Nest Tour: Fri. 4/8, 1pm at new campus site

PSAT9, PSAT10 and SAT (9th, 10th and 11th grade): Wed. 4/13, 8:30am-12:30pm

Professional Development Day (no classes): Fri. 4/15

Elevated Nest Tour: Fri. 4/15, 9am at new campus site

AHS Prom: Sat. 4/16, 7-9:30pm at Elks Lodge (tickets on sale after Spring Break)

Online Osprey Parent Coffee: Fri. 4/22, 8:30am

Elevated Nest Tour: Fri. 4/22, 1pm at new campus site

LINK Internships (11th grade): Mon. 4/25 through Fri. 5/13

Elevated Nest Tour: Fri. 4/29, 9am at new campus site

Bears Ears Camping Trip (9th grade): Mon. 5/2 through Thurs. 5/5

Professional Development Day (no classes): Fri. 5/6

All School Exhibition: Thurs. 5/19

AHS Graduation: Fri. 5/27, 4pm
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