Thursday, November 30, 2006

School for Snowbunnies

There is an article in today's New York Times about specialized private winter sports schools and how they're giving their students a leg up on college entrance.

"Once, winter sports schools were mainly the domain of those eyeing Olympic gold. But now they are becoming the choice for students and parents who do not expect to see a dime from future athletic careers. They are willing to sacrifice a traditional high school experience and pay up to $35,000 for a few more hours of play each day — and an edge on scholarships or entry into a prestigious college."

A traditional high school experience is well-worth sacrificing, if you ask me, particularly if you're able to pursue your passion in a homeschooling-type atmosphere.

"Just down the road, the North American Hockey Academy is housed in a chalet. Its classroom setting is informal. In the basement, students and teachers sit in pairs. Thin cubicle walls separate Algebra 2 from History of World Societies. Science class is just an arm’s length away from the Spanish lesson happening near the TV.

Several parents and students said the tiny class sizes often put them ahead of their fellow high school students when they return in the spring."

So why return? If anything, it's more difficult. "Splitting the year between home high schools and specialized academies can result in logistical headaches. Since the sixth grade, Erin Fucigna, a ski racer, has had assignments from her high school in Hopkinton, Mass., e-mailed and faxed to her at the Waterville Valley Academy, in New Hampshire. “It’s confusing at first and overwhelming,” said Ms. Fucigna, now a junior. “Science is the hardest, because I don’t have the same materials that are available at home.”

Sasha Dingle, the subject of a forthcoming documentary called “Balance,” attended both her local high school in Jericho, Vt., and the Mount Mansfield Winter Academy, in Stowe. “I always wanted to be in the high school play, but I would miss the first part of tryouts,” said Ms. Dingle, who was accepted at St. Lawrence University, in Canton, N.Y. “I felt almost like I was living a double life. Every achievement I made through the winter, I would come back to my high school in the spring and nobody would know.”

This is true for most, if not all teen professionals. At my school, we had two professional performers. One was a ballerina, the other had a nightclub act. Neither fit in well or was very happy at high school. Kind of begs the question, "Why try to force yourself into the traditional high school model?" Personally, I think I'd forego the $35K tuition, move to the slopes and homeshool.

1 comment:

Zany Mom said...

It's expected?
Nobody can think outside of the box?