I have been to so many places, in the U.S. and abroad. Every place has been memorable and I thought of the places that were most meaningful to me for this photo challenge: Lens-Artists’ #65 – Pick a Special Place. Scotland – my mother took us on an ancestors’ tour there in 1999 and visited the actual homestead where my 3-greats-grandmother lived. That was very special, but I have no digital photos of it. A couple of other very special places we traveled to came to mind: Tanzania – our safari there was the most amazing trip I’ve ever taken, and Egypt – I fell in love with the ancient ruins of a civilization over 3,500 years old. But I have blogged extensively about both of those trips. So I return to my childhood: I was privileged to attend high school in one of the most beautiful places in the United States and today a major tourist attraction – Sedona, Arizona. At the time I attended high school there, Sedona was just a small town in a beautiful setting where movies were sometimes filmed – it was not well-known then; just a sleepy artists’ colony of sorts. So here are some photos of Sedona, or more specifically, the high school that changed my life and my world view, Verde Valley School.
I start with some photos I took when I was at school there. In my senior year, I was learning photography and developing my own black & white photos in the campus darkroom.
I attended reunions in 2005 and 2006, and then didn’t return until December of 2015, when we were passing through on our way to the Grand Canyon. Here are a few from 2006.
In June of 2018, Dale and I attended a 3-day anniversary reunion, celebrating the school’s 70th year. Unlike other reunions, there were people from all different classes and it was fun to get to know some of those I had never met and reconnect with those who had been there at the same time I was.
And here are a couple of iconic Sedona landmarks: Bell Rock and Cathedral (taken from Oak Creek – the side facing the school is to the right). Elvis Presley once made a movie with Bell Rock as a backdrop. We students got to see him one day (in 1967) when we were in town, when he was filming a scene on a motorcycle emerging from behind a bank. This view of Bell Rock was the scenery from our back window at a resort/condo we rented with friends for 2006 reunion weekend.
Verde Valley School is today one of the most prestigious private high schools in the United States. This school of about 120 students is known for its location, small teacher-student ratio, and its innovative and inclusive curriculum, with an emphasis on environmental and international studies. Many students, especially foreign students, are attracted by the IB (International Baccalaureate) program that was initiated sometime in the late 1990s. The IB is a rigorous, internationally recognized curriculum. VVS graduates are accepted at all major colleges and universities, well-equipped for the demands of college life. Students at Verde Valley School continue to go on one major field trip each school year, as has always been the case since the school was started, as well as shorter trips at various times a year, and also complete a two-week “project period.” If you think your son or daughter or grandchild would be interested in VVS’s progressive and inclusive program, you can browse the school’s web site www.vvsaz.org.