Lens-Artists’ #65: A Place With Special Memories…Sedona

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.

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View from inside the chapel – Cathedral Rock

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“Brenda” the bus with Napoleon Rock in the distance. We used to take field trips in green buses like this one, which had been repurposed  as a store for VVS memorabilia.

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This is a much older me in front of Rollie’s Camera Shop in Sedona, a place I spent considerable time and money during my high school days.

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.

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We were greeted with this sign painted on the side of a truck we had also used for transportation way back when. It was positioned along the dirt road leading to the campus.

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My dorm room my sophomore year was the one at the top of the stairs.

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The school “farm” – a new addition on campus. They grow a variety of vegetables and spices which are used by the cooks to feed the multitudes. One of the projects that weekend was making “seed balls” to add to the garden – but only the gardener and I showed up! It was fun getting our hands muddy with the wet red sandstone dirt.

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Cathedral Rock in early evening in June

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Looking through a window from the buffet table to where people are gathering for our last brunch on campus before returning to our ordinary lives.

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Painting this geometric mural was the beginning of someone’s project, which was never finished – we were all supposed to write our names or whatever we wanted to say in black paint, but that part never got done.

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Pathway near the art studio

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Another photo of the girls’ dorm, which looks pretty much the same except that in that center circular area there used to be a huge cottonwood tree.

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Someone painted one dorm room door this beautiful shade of blue and I like the contrast with the turquoise blue of the swing in front.

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A student in recent years created this sign “MOTEL” which was the nickname given to the boys’ dorm behind it.

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This awesome mural was painted by a class in the early 2000s, but was whitewashed over shortly after this picture was taken in 2006, which made a lot of people angry! These graduates were happy to learn that I had this photo because no one else had ever thought to take a picture of it.

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.

 

CFFC: Working Hard or Hardly Working?

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is “Busy or People Working.”

Every year, the last weekend in April (this weekend!), our church has a huge rummage sale, our biggest fundraiser of the year. We always need a lot of volunteers.
STAS13-IMAG0363.jpgThe sale takes over nearly every room in the church. We have a clothing room (above), housewares (below – the biggest department), Housewares, always a busy, popular department.holiday, antiques, jewelry, toys, baked goods, books/CDs/DVDs, and outside there is a furniture tent and hot food (hamburgers, hot dogs, etc.).20160421_111420Our church also does mission work. One of our missions is feeding the poor and sheltering the homeless. Des Plaines has a local PADS shelter on Fridays at a nearby church, where homeless adults get a hot meal for dinner, breakfast, sack lunches, and a place to sleep for the night. Different churches sign up for the Fridays they prefer and get volunteers from their church to work the shifts and make or bring food.  Some people work in the kitchen, preparing for dinner…20150227_190349
and then serve the food to the guests.
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In the summer, we have at least one church service outside, with special invited musicians and ice cream afterward! This is the Chicago Metropolitan Jazz Ensemble.20150705_095043.jpgEmergency workers are important in any community.  The American Red Cross collects supplies for people in disaster areas.IMAG0367-RedCrosshelpTeaching is a lot of work, even during special events when we look like we’re having fun (and sometimes we are)! Here’s a teacher holding up the flag of her alma mater during an annual College Day rally.
Sandy Rywelski holds up WIU flag next to her class.
The music teacher works hard – and so do the kids – with the different age groups to put on an annual show for the different grade levels. Here is the 1st-2nd grade music show.
20150415_134623.jpgA student helps out on the last day of school by cleaning the chalkboards.269
For children, school is their workplace and for very young children, play is their work; it’s how they learn. These kindergartners love building things with blocks.
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And in December, everyone works hard on holiday projects. Here, a teacher’s assistant helps kindergartners make gingerbread houses.
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Sometimes, people work to provide entertainment for others, either as volunteers or for tips, such as at a summer concert in the park.
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While kids are getting their balloons, the band plays.
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People with special talents perform for tourists for tips, such as this young man in Tallinn, Estonia.
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Waiters in Japanese restaurants “perform” for diners, cooking their food right in front of them.
IMAG1924.jpgSome of the hardest working people work on cruise ships, in kitchens…20170324_103302or as stewards, such as this one trying to hold a tray of hot soup steady for the tourists on the windy deck of a ship in Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska.The steward holds on tight to the tray of soup.
Some athletes and actors make millions entertaining the public. They might even get a trophy, such as when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016!20161103_001137.jpg
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Go Cubs Go! video