November 19, 2021
seniors Marisa Smith, Alaina Wray and Lorelai Brunner, alongside teachers Sara Price and Roxy McKnight, celebrate the work they did to beautify space at 4 the Children as part of their Justice Project
Britt Blasdell, Julia Glotfelty, Sage Robbins, Olivia Gilden and Kenzie Galloway with the Studio Art class's piece, which was awarded Best Collaboration in the Looking UP juried show at FLC's Center for Innovation
Greetings Ospreys,

As we head off to the Thanksgiving Break, we want to share just how grateful we are for our students, teachers, staff and families. It's the people that create a school, and even at a time of year when we all feel grateful for a little time away from campus, we know that what we have here at Animas is something very special.

Visitors on campus just today included:

  • Hannah Shew and Greta Cahill, AHS class of '20 home from Colorado College for the break and eager to swing by to check in with teachers and friends
  • a prospective family from Bayfield hoping a spot might open for their sophomore to transfer in January
  • founder Jesse Hutt, welcoming the former head of the Liberty School to campus since he's helping us with our capital campaign, and
  • the Colorado Charter School Institute's Communication Manager, Amanda Oberg who was visiting charter schools in our region.

Across the board, our visitors reflected back that being at our school makes it abundantly clear that students have found "a home" at AHS, and that we've created a strong learning community that fosters student voice and helps young adults thrive. We have much to be thankful for!

Another thing to be thankful for: the first print edition of the Animas Quill hits newsstands around town next Wednesday, inserted in the Durango Telegraph. Check it out for a semester's worth of beautiful work from our student journalists!

And one last item making us feel very, very thankful: science teacher Tina Trujillo will be returning from her leave of absence after the break. We've missed her around here so much and we can't wait to welcome her back to the Nest.
Upcoming Exhibitions and POLs
When we return from the break, students will be in preparation mode, getting ready for Exhibitions and Presentations of Learning (POLs).

Exhibitions, SLCs, Presentations of Learning (POLs) and some other school-related activities where students are presenting to community audiences require Professional Dress, which means that students must wear a button-down shirt and tie, shirt with finished neck, sweater or blouse; a nice pair of slacks (no jeans), skirt or dress; dark socks to match trousers and dress shoes (no sneakers, no excessively high heels). Faculty will remind students when there exists the expectation of professional dress and will assist students in planning for these experiences. Please communicate with an adult at school if procuring professional dress clothes is cost-prohibitive; we will find a way to help! Maureen Truax, our Registrar has been hard at work restocking, cleaning and updating our Professional Dress Closet and we have many items to lend!

Here are our December Exhibitions of Learning:

Presentations of Learning are individually scheduled and run the following dates:

  • 9th grade: December 14-17
  • 10th grade: December 13-17
  • 11th grade: December 15-17
  • 12th grade: December 9-17

Stay tuned for more details about POLs after the break!
Student Council December Events: Blood Drive, Holiday Gift Drive and Ospreys on Ice
When we return from the break, we will have wish lists for holiday gifts we hope to college for families served by 4 the Children. Student Council hopes to gather and wrap the gifts by Friday, December 10.

The Winter Blood Drive is Thursday, December 2. Sign up here to reserve your spot to donate blood!

On Friday, December 10, StuCo invites all students to the Ospreys on Ice holiday party at Chapman Hill Ice Rink. Students should save the date for this fun holiday gathering!
Be Local Coupon Books
Purchase your Be Local Coupon Book from the AHS Main Office by paying $25 in cash or check made out to "Animas High School" or order using this form and we'll send your books home with your student.

Coupon books make great holiday gifts and AHS receives $6 from each one sold, despite the fact that we don't charge any more than other local vendors do!
VAM Theatre Program Brings Joy to AHS, Hope and Heartache to the Stage
Za Barrett, Animas Quill

When Joy Kilpatrick was a teenager, she connected with her identity through the art of theatre. 

“The art of acting has helped me uncover and discover who I am,” Joy explained. Acting has always been close to her heart, and she has extensive experience with TV, film, and theatre. “Since my youth, I have always used different art forms as a way to explore the human condition and the complexity of what that means to be a human being.”

Joy teaches theatre to younger 9-R students and has taught summer theatre camps at the Durango Arts Center for their Lil’ Thespians. Now, she is bringing theatrical-- opportunities to Animas students through her VAM Theatre elective and the newly founded Osprey Theatre Company. VAM stands for Voice, Acting, and Movement, and student thespians are given the chance to explore the craft of acting through all three lenses. Students get the opportunity to learn how to use their bodies, voices and imaginations while exploring the human tapestry of emotions and needs, diving into every aspect of their character’s identity. 

The actors don’t hesitate to express how much fun they are having, their faces lighting up with grins. “It’s been nothing but laughter and excitement!” junior Abigail Hoff said. “Everyone in that class is very kind and I’m really happy that I get to be a part of such a wonderful theatre culture.”
Joy started teaching at Animas in the fall of 2019. In the previous years that the elective has been taught, the pandemic has prevented the class from performing live for the school, pushing them to find creative alternatives.  
“Each year we’ve had to adapt to the situation at hand,” Joy shared. “Ironically, the first year we had theater here, we were in a play for a satirical adaptation of Oedipus Rex, where, you know, there was a plague was pretty foreshadowing.” Unfortunately, COVID ended all hopes of live performances in 2020. But even quarantine didn’t stop the following year’s class, which consisted of only a few students, from finding another way to perform. “The second year, we were actually online, and the actresses created, I felt, a remarkable radio play!” Joy shared. 
She hopes that Animas actors can create something new and beautiful of their own this year. “One of the things I really appreciate about this school is that it encourages students to think in an original and creative way and to me that’s like having a blank canvas where anything is possible!” And this year, they will have the opportunity to perform on stage, at the DAC. 
The class is putting on The Hope and Heartache Diner, a one-act play by Lindsay Price. Performances will take place at the Durango Arts Center on December 10 and 11 at 7:00pm and December 12 at 2:00pm, as a double feature with the DAC Youth Theatre’s Willy Wonka Jr. One ticket serves as the admission to both plays, so viewers wishing to see Hope and Heartache Diner should buy a ticket for Wonka. Tickets can be purchased at the DAC website for $15. 
According to Joy, the play is “character driven, meaning each character (like us) has background history that drives and contributes to their current feelings, needs, dreams and motivations, etc. I encourage these fine actors to imagine, explore and step into the shoes of another human.” Her students have embraced the opportunity; when asked about their characters, they eagerly give insight into the personalities they portray. Tiernan Stein describes his character, Sam, as an insecure person, saying, “I think the way he makes himself just by making everyone sandwiches, ‘cause that’s really what he’s good at.” Sophomore Caleb Bates, who plays the character of Felix Sr, comments that “The main character has a great connection with [my character] so it’s a really fun kind of relationship we have.” Abigail, who plays “stern mother” Nell, expresses that “I feel as if this role fits me very much.” 
Freshperson Cassidy Hayden is making her theatrical debut as the main character, Felix Brown. According to her, the play is about a family trying to figure out their future and the future of the diner. “I am pretty nervous, but I’m also excited,” Cassidy stated. “It’s gonna be fun. We’re working really hard.” 
It has been an effort to raise funds for production. The actors hosted a “Duke’s Diner” bake sale, selling sweet treats to students in the morning and at lunch. “The class doesn’t have a budget or anything,” Tiernan commented. “It’d be nice to have a bigger classroom, you know, more supplies for the production of the play.”

But this show will go on, thanks in large part to the generosity of several community sponsors. Posters are being printed by Basin Printing. Oscar’s Cafe is providing set pieces and some props, and the Handcrafted House is donating paint. Merely Players, another local theatre company, is also contributing to the set and costumes. The Durango Arts Center has offered a space for their performance. “Fostering relationships with local businesses is part of our vision in helping our OTC sprout and blossom,” noted Joy. “Live theater, in the end, provides an occasion for people – on stage and off – to come together, to work together, to create another reality- a community.”
In the end, Joy insists, the process of mounting a play is more about the journey of exploration, creativity and relationships. She encourages her students to connect deeply with each other and with themselves. “When we step into the role of another character, we get to develop that capacity to empathize. And some could say that’s what’s missing in our culture today: our ability to really understand and share the feelings of another and recognize each of us has our own ‘story’ which is contributing in some way to the heart of the present story (play).”
Actors and theater enthusiasts alike hope that VAM Theatre continues to cultivate this virtue in our school community. 
Van Life Dreamin’: Engineering Mathematics Hits the Road, Theoretically
Scarlett Moore, Animas Quill

You may have been asking yourself these past few months what's up with the weird Scooby Doo van in the parking lot. This semester, Dave Farkas and his 7th period Engineering Mathematics class have been working away to convert their newly purchased van into a completed mini-home on wheels. 
This class is the logical evolution of a previous class, “Engineering Mathematics: Theoretical Design,” where students designed tiny homes or van conversions. In that class, students dreamed big trying to design something they would actually want to live or travel in. 
Building on what they figured out in last year’s class, “Engineering Mathematics: Van Design and Build” takes it one step further by actually designing and building something real. 
With the generous support of donors and community sponsors, Farkas was able to fundraise almost $12,000 to purchase a 2000 Ford E350 1-ton extended Econoline Van and nearly all the materials necessary to remodel it. Last spring, he started a GoFundMe page and broadcast it to the Animas community. 
Farkas explained: “Through our incredible community, donations started coming in. The final influx of funds came from a grant I wrote to LPEA through their ‘Round Up’ program. Basically when your LPEA bill comes in, if you elect to “Round Up” your bill to the nearest dollar, those extra dollars and cents go to a fund that folks like myself can apply for. I received a $4500 grant from them and I’m so excited and grateful for their generosity.”
He shared his plan for remodeling saying, “We’re going to take out the interior of the van. We’re gonna rebuild the interior starting with the floor, and put a nice engineered floor in it. We’re going to re-panel the sides, put a new ceiling lid on and lights. And we’ll build a bed, do the cabinetry, put a full kitchen inside, paint the van, and put new rubber on it.” 
Different groups are working on designing different aspects of the van, such as ceiling, electronics, cabinetry, beds, and doors. Sophomore Brayden Harms is working with his group on designing cabinets for the van. He shared, “It is frustrating and also rewarding to go through many iterations of a design and have to collaborate with others to revise and redesign concepts.” 
Farkas also seems very motivated and passionate about wanting to, “convert this van into the classic van life craze that's sweeping the nation right now,” he shared. “I love it. I have my own van that I have been working on for years. I’ve also helped friends with their van builds.”   
Sophomore Max Spilsbury shared, “It's a fun class because you get to learn how to use power tools and how to craft cool stuff. Farkas has also built his own camper van so we have someone with a lot of experience teaching us. It’s amazing to be back in person and collaborating with my peers on such a fun project.”
Once they complete their to-do list, the plan is to sell the van and use the proceeds to build up the program for next year. And with plans to move into the new school by that time, Farkas hopes to expand the program more. “Hopefully, the seeds we’re planting today will bear much growth and fruit for years to come. I see this program as a perpetual cycle of build and sell. I’d like it to be a program that incoming students know about, are psyched about, and want to participate in: an AHS signature engineering class with real world application.”
Juniors Deconstruct American Politics with Guest Ideology Panels
Nizhoni Benally, Animas Quill

On October 28 and 29, Animas High School juniors were graced with an opportunity to listen to two panels made up of people from all across the states, such as Texas, Washington DC, and California. They Zoomed in to share their views and opinions on American values and politics. 

AHS juniors have spent the past several weeks studying rhetoric, ideology, and the democratic experience in preparation for their Humanities’ exhibition.

During their research, they studied the two dominating parties in America’s politics and their ideals and beliefs. To further her students' understanding of the two parties, AHS teacher, Jessica McCallum, organized two panels for her students to listen to.

The first panel consisted of more conservative-minded people: Craig Manes, Travis Price, Jesse Wray, and Acasha Mick. The second panel contained more liberal-minded people: Cooper Stowers, Marley Weaver-Gabel, Kristin Hoff and Debby Wilson.

When asked about his thoughts on being able to speak with the junior class, Travis Price, father of Humanities teacher Sara Price, had commented that “meeting with the Animas students to discuss the conservative side of current events and history was a heartwarming intellectual delight.”

Jessica has stated that “[She] convened these panels in order [for her students] to better understand our democracy and the underlying beliefs about America that are driving personal politics.” This was an important experience for the junior class as “the partisan media does a terrible job representing both sides fairly and honestly,” explained Jessica. 

During the panels, the students were able to ask the panels any questions about what they believed and were encouraged to ask the same questions to both panels to get a contrast between the two. 

Panelist Kristin Hoff, mother of junior Abby Hoff, made the observation, “The junior students of Animas High School had wonderful, thought provoking questions.”

Craig Manes, a friend of Jessica’s from high school, also observed that “The topics [they] covered in the class were very relevant to the cultural conversations happening today in our society across America.” He also added that “It was both helpful and encouraging to have open dialogue and seek clarity, truth, and understanding together.”

Price stated that “[he] too learned new things from the students as well as [from his] fellow interviewers.”

Juniors voiced that this was a good experience for them and has surprised them with how similar the two parties could be.

Panelist Jesse Wray, father of senior Alaina Wray, expressed the same sentiment when he said, “Even though we tend to split down the middle as conservative and liberal, when we sit down and have a conversation we realize that people share views from both sides.”

Junior Alexis Hanson voiced that the panels “helped [her] think more deeply about [the fact] that there are several different sides and… we all share values, but we have different solutions to solve [problems].”

Jessica communicated that she wanted to help her students “get out of the black and white thinking that is plaguing many of the adults of our culture.”

Junior Sage Robbins confirmed that this deeper thinking Jessica wanted for her students worked for him. He voiced that his views on politics are “no longer left or right… [and he] doesn’t think there is a good or evil side.”

Wray conveyed a similar thought, saying, “I think it’s really important to have discussions with people that have different views. It helps us see their point of view and realize that they aren’t crazy or evil.”

Osprey alum Cooper Stowers expressed, “It always excites me to see young people, our leaders of tomorrow, express interest in politics and the philosophies tied to politics. By asking tough questions and being open to different viewpoints, these students are enhancing their critical thinking skills and ultimately becoming well informed voters.”

With their newfound knowledge, the junior class will take what they’ve learned in Humanities and start on their final project: making a Rogerian argument on an issue that they feel strongly about. Please join them for our exhibition on December 8.
COVID Updates
This week, we had no new COVID cases. Contact [email protected] with any positive COVID results, questions or guidance you might need.

To register your student for our weekly, voluntary on-campus COVID testing sign up here. Our school code is C0075 and once registered, students can test weekly without re-registering. Learn more about the program here.Parents must provide consent for students under 18. Students receive $25 for first test and $10 for each thereafter.

Enjoy the break and remember NO SCHOOL on Monday, November 29. We'll look forward to seeing our Ospreys back in the Nest on Tuesday, November 30. Thanks for all you do to help the Ospreys soar!
Upcoming AHS Events

Thanksgiving Break (no classes): Mon. 11/22 through Fri. 11/26

Professional Development Day (no classes): Mon. 11/29

Holiday Gift Drive 4 the Children: Tues. 11/30 through Fri. 12/10

Student Ambassador Training: Wed. 12/1, 1:45-3:30

Student Council Holiday Blood Drive: Thurs. 12/2, 9am-2pm; sign up to donate blood here

Get a Job Fair: Thurs. 12/2, 4-5:30 at Fairgrounds

Humanities 10 Mask Exhibition (10th grade): Thurs. 12/2, 5-6:30pm

Advanced Digital Art Exhibition: Support & Shop Local Osprey Artists: Thurs. 12/2, 5-6:30pm at Magpie's

Online Osprey Parent Coffee: Fri. 12/3, 8:30 am via

Painting Exhibition: Coal Painting Nature Studies: Mon. 12/6, 5-6pm at D&SNGRR Roundhouse Museum

Last Advisory and XBlock of the Semester: Wed. 12/8
Winter Exhibition Extravaganza (9th and 11th grades): Wed. 12/8

Last Day of 1st Semester Classes: Fri. 12/10

Ospreys on Ice Holiday Party: Fri. 12/10, 7-8:30pm at Chapman Ice Rink

Osprey Theater Company: The Hope and Heartache Diner: Fri. 12/10, Sat. 12/11, Sun. 12/12

iAM Music Winter Student Showcase featuring AHS Music Students: Sun. 12/12

Presentations of Learning: Mon. 12/13 to Fri. 12/17

Winter Break: Sat. 12/18 through Sun. 1/2

Professional Development Day (no classes): Mon. 1/3

First Day of 2nd Semester: Tues. 1/4
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