Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cedar Ridge Academy Prepares Students from a Therapeutic Boarding School for Future Academics

Between August 2nd and August 9th, some
Cedar Ridge Academy students attended a trip to the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah.  These students had completed the class academics necessary to attend this trip.  For about the last decade, the certified English teachers have been teaching a rigorous curriculum to help students to understand William Shakespeare's words that also aims to help students with credit recovery, academic recovery, and prepare for college.  The class culminates in a great experience for these troubled teens: the trip.  To help with their academic development, one of their assignments is to write a reflection about the class or the trip to post on the blog.  This post was written by Deborah.

Well this class has been one of the best experiences of my life.  When I first started this class I thought that it was going to be the easiest class ever to get credit on.  Once we started the paper and reading, I felt that it wasn't easy.  People that helped me have a better experience in that area were my teacher and my group.  My group helped me out so much with everything that we were doing. When we got assigned our topic for the research paper, I thought that it was going to be easier.  It really didn't end up being easier, but with my group's help I know that it was better than doing it alone. We managed to get it done, and I feel like I know how to write a research paper better now.  The other big project we had to do as a group was the final project.  Our final project was a news broadcast, which involved filming.  I got really pumped for it because I like acting and I felt that I could do well with this.  I think that doing this class showed me that I want to be an actor of some sort when I get into college. Doing this Shakespeare class has prepared me and helped me to get ready for college.

In addition to the projects, I really enjoyed the plays.  One of the plays that I liked the most out of all of them was Scapin. I like that one the most because it wasn’t all serious.   They were making jokes about a lot of things that I could understand.  I also think that it cleared my mind.  Overall, everyone should go see it.

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Shakespeare Trip 2012
Deborah pauses for a picture in the trees near the cabin on the Shakespeare Trip.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cedar Ridge Academy's Therapeutic Boarding School Students Attend a Performance of Les Miserables

Between August 2nd and August 9th, some
Cedar Ridge Academy students attended a trip to the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah.  These students had completed the class academics necessary to attend this trip.  For about the last decade, the certified English teachers have been teaching a rigorous curriculum to help students to understand William Shakespeare's words that also aims to help students with credit recovery, academic recovery, and prepare for college.  The class culminates in a great experience for these troubled teens: the trip.  To help with their academic development, one of their assignments is to write a reflection about the class or the trip to post on the blog.  This post was written by Kathlene.

My favorite performance at the Shakespeare Festival was the show Les Miserables. Les Miserables is a musical based on the Revolutionary times of France.  The whole show is sung and there are various characters who tell their story through the music.  The main character Jean Valjean is a convict on the run.  He is trying to start a fresh life with a new identity, but there is this pesky inspector named Javert and he is trailing him the whole time.  As the play continues, all kinds of dramas arise like angry prostitutes who aren't paid enough, greedy, grimy innkeepers who spit in people's drinks, and two young people who fall in love.  The lovers are Cozette and Marius.  Marius is one of the rebels going against the Revolution while Cozette is an innocent naive girl who is protected by her father's iron grip.  The interesting thing to me was that Cozette’s dad was Jean Valjean, but he really wasn’t her dad.  At the beginning of the musical, Cozette’s mother, Fantine, dies under Jean Valjean’s care so Cozette is “adopted” by Valjean.  I think this background makes him be more protective toward her.

I had a closed minded attitude toward the idea of a musical so when I heard we were going to see it; I couldn't have been less excited.  So, I was pleasantly surprised during the whole thing.  I couldn't get enough of the energy the play was giving off and I'm so happy to have had the opportunity to go on the Shakespeare trip.

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Shakespeare Trip 2012
Kathlene enjoyed the woods around the cabin and the great scenery that it provided on the Shakespeare Trip

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Students Plan Christmas Civic Service Project

During early Autumn, the students at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School begin to plan their involvement in the local annual Festival of the Trees. Setting aside some time from their regular academics, seniors who are working on the Academy's required Civic Service and Leadership credit put their hearts into planning how they will decorate a special Christmas tree.

Festival participants decorate an artificial tree that is then donated for auction to individuals, organizations, businesses, or church groups. This year, all funds raised will go to benefit local families in need.



The festival project offers two-fold benefits for the Cedar Ridge Academy students: the chance to open their hearts in empathy for others and the opportunity to develop organizational and leadership skills that will enhance their current abilities while helping prepare them for future success as contributing adults.

Last year, with an orphanage in mind, the students decorated a tree with warm children's clothing items such as mittens, scarves, and hats. Additional clothing was wrapped and placed under and around the tree as part of the package. All proceeds, including the individual gifts, were donated to an orphanage in Mexico.

After participating, one student wrote the following:

"Dear Kids,
Helping you by making a Christmas tree that fetched three thousand dollars so you have more money helped me by making me realize the value of hard work. In doing this whole project, I did many things, including putting sprinkles and glue on clothespins, putting those clothespins on clothing (like hats and gloves and scarves and mittens) to put on the tree, and put those in a box. By doing all of this hard work, I felt better about myself because I knew that I was doing something for someone else."



Another student wrote:

"We made this tree and collected all the gifts so that we can share some of our Christmas spirit with all of you. We were very touched to see that we were a part of something much larger than we might have imagined. We were shown that you guys were going to receive the gifts that we collected and it warmed our hearts to see that you guys are cared about by so many people. There are so many people that are here to support you and knowing that I am one of those helpers that care should be a good indication that I will not forget you guys."

This year, keeping in mind that both the auction proceeds and the gifts attached to the tree will be donated to families within the local community, Cedar Ridge Academy students decided to decorate with children's toys. As in past years, school staff and student's parents will donate items and funds to help make this community service project a great success - for both students and recipients!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Encourages Learning About Shakespeare

Between August 2nd and August 9th, some
Cedar Ridge Academy students attended a trip to the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah.  These students had completed the class academics necessary to attend this trip.  For about the last decade, the certified English teachers have been teaching a rigorous curriculum to help students to understand William Shakespeare's words that also aims to help students with credit recovery, academic recovery, and prepare for college.  The class culminates in a great experience for these troubled teens: the trip.  To help with their academic development, one of their assignments is to write a reflection about the class or the trip to post on the blog.  This post was written by J.T.

This summer I took the Shakespeare class offered at Cedar Ridge Academy.  Throughout the course, we studied three plays, two books, and one musical. The three plays we studied were The Merry Wives of Windsor, Henry IV Part 1, and Titus Andronicus.  The books that we studied were To Kill a Mockingbird and A Tale of Two Cities.  Finally, the musical was Les Miserables. Out of the three plays I enjoyed The Merry Wives of Windsor because I felt like it was more enlightening and more fun than the other two. Titus Andronicus was a bit too graphic for me and I felt like it was pretty messed up. Henry IV was too boring and was too much focused around history.  Out of the books, To Kill a Mockingbird was my favorite because it was a book that I had read prior to this class and I really enjoyed it.  It gives you a whole new perspective on what it was like to live back then when there was a lot of racism and hate going on. The musical was also amazing! I really enjoyed the entire story behind it and how the entire thing was done in singing.  It was easy to understand and it had a lot of emotion behind it.  Overall, I feel like I've learned a lot more about English than I have in any of my other classes.



Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Shakespeare Trip 2012
J.T. lounges at the cabin working on his English papers.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Public Land Trail Service Project


For over seven years now students at Cedar Ridge Academy have been helping to establish a hiking trail on public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. A group of Cedar Ridge Academy's therapeutic boarding school students recently hiked the route and did some service work on the trail. They were accompanied by their science academics teacher, Chad, and two other staff-members. One of the staff-members brought her dog, Archie, on the trip.


The trip started with a brief geology lecture by Tom Elder, Chad's associate from a public high school. Tom talked about the different geological layers visible from where the group was standing, and how the different layers formed over millions of years in different climatic conditions. The area is now high desert habitat, but past habitats have included rivers and large lakes that sediments deposited into. The different rock and sediment layers that are present today support different kinds of plants. Students learned about how each of the different layers has a different name, based on the location where that layer was first studied.



After learning about geology the group left the road and started hiking the trail. Students and staff tied flagging ribbons onto trees and shrubs to help mark the route, and in places where the trail crossed slick rock they sprayed white paint on the rock to show the route (white paint works well because it's visible but not so noticeable as to distract from the scenery).



The trail took the students through various types of terrain and vegetation. Periodically Chad would stop to teach the students about a particular plant species, or to show them some kind of animal track or other sign. One of Chad's favorite things to show the students is a packrat nest that the trail passes by (the official name of the species is the desert wood rat).



Students and staff ate lunch under a sandstone overhang in an area that resembles a large, but shallow cave. The area provides shade, shelter, and an amazing view of the canyons and cliffs that rise to the north.

After lunch it was back to hiking. It was not an easy hike, with a lot of ups and downs, but the scenery remained beautiful and the students and staff enjoyed each others' company and had great conversations while they hiked. Eventually the group came to what is possibly the most scenic part of the trip - a spectacular arch! The arch is huge and amazing to see, and right next to the arch the group explored cave-like features.



After spending some time at the arch, the participants hiked the last leg of the trip - ending up at the highway. At this point the students had hiked across an entire mountain face. The hike had been long and hard, and the fatigue could be seen on people's faces, but smiles where abundant as students and staff talked about future hiking adventures together.



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Dean's List Lunch


Every month our Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School teachers nominate a group of students for the Dean's List. The Dean's List is for students that the faculty has noticed working hard at their daily academics in order to meet their commitment to the school's high academic expectations and prevent being placed on mandatory structured study. Criteria for Dean's List nomination includes making a consistent effort with their online classes as well as direct instruction and also a willingness to help their peers under teacher supervision. Students on the Dean's List are rewarded for their positive attitude and hard work by going off-campus for lunch with one of our teachers.



For the month of September, four students went with Kimberly Hawks (Social Studies and English teacher), to Marion's Variety. Marion's is an old-fashioned ice cream parlor that serves lunch and "the best shakes ever!" None of the students had been to Marion's before so they had a lot of fun exploring the broad range of novelty trinkets in Marion's gift shop. Marion's is known for their juicy hamburgers, so of course the kids wanted to try them out! Most of the students ordered double cheeseburgers with shakes, however, one of them ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and one even ordered chicken noodle soup! According to the students, everyone needs to try the strawberry-marshmallow and Oreo milkshakes!

Daily meals at Cedar Ridge Therapeutic Boarding School consist of healthy foods that don't include items such as soda and sugar so it's always a treat for students to eat off-campus.

This is what the students had to say about their Dean's List experience:

"The Dean's List is fun, exciting, and well worth the wait. It gives you a chance to get out of your comfort zone and enjoy something new."

"It was fun to go off-campus and the food was really, really good!"

"I was just happy to get a soda!"

"I love being able to reward the students for their efforts and dedication to their school work in this way. It gives us an opportunity to build a teacher-student relationship outside of the school that can translate into the classroom."                                                                                                     -Kimberly Hawks

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Does Birthdays on Shakespeare Trip

Between August 2nd and August 9th, some
Cedar Ridge Academy students attended a trip to the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah.  These students had completed the class academics necessary to attend this trip.  For about the last decade, the certified English teachers have been teaching a rigorous curriculum to help students to understand William Shakespeare's words that also aims to help students with credit recovery, academic recovery, and prepare for college.  The class culminates in a great experience for these troubled teens: the trip.  To help with their academic development, one of their assignments is to write a reflection about the class or the trip to post on the blog.  This post was written by Katelyn.

The Shakespeare class trip to Cedar City was one of the best experiences I've had at Cedar Ridge.  While we were down there, I got to let my walls down and just be myself with my peers from the minute I woke up to the minute I went to bed.  As the trip progressed, I found myself more reluctant to go back because of how safe I started to feel.  I think that being able to talk to anyone at anytime helped me just be real.  I think this is one of the times that I've been the most vulnerable with both boys and girls.  I've let new emotions out and just found things out about myself that I didn't know. 

Also, I had my birthday while on the trip, and it's one of the better birthdays that I've had in a few years.  Because of the strong relationships I was building I felt like I was with my family and I felt cared for.  I also felt this, a lot during the last night when we had our fire family.  We basically all bawled our eyes out, gave each other hugs, and just gave each other love.  While we had our serious moments, we also were allowed to be light and joke around a little throughout the day.  I could spend a long time describing why I loved this trip, but I think its good enough.  All together, I loved it, and I would do it all over again if I could.

Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School Shakespeare Trip 2012
Katelyn (with Conrad in the background) posing with one of the actors from the Shakespeare Festival

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