Audience Member, New York Trip, 2012
“I recently returned from a trip to New York where my husband and I enjoyed several Broadway plays. On our last evening there, we attended The Fantasticks, my all-time favorite show. Attending the same performance was a group of students from Tara... it caught our attention because we, too, are from Colorado. I have to be honest, I was a little nervous about having such a large group of high school students in the audience because that play requires such an intimate connection between the performers and the audience... a connection that might not be possible with a group of high school ‘kids’. But my concerns were absolutely unnecessary. These students conducted themselves with the utmost maturity, and they were fully engaged in the performance. They looked and acted like young ladies and gentlemen. These kids knew how to behave at a performance and it was clear that the adults accompanying them had no reservations whatsoever about taking these kids ‘on the road’. It was a pleasure to be in the audience with this group, and I must commend the teachers for selecting such a marvelous array of theatrical genres for the kids to enjoy. I plan to follow your school website, and I hope to be able to attend a performance or two at Tara in the future. Thank you for providing such great opportunities for Colorado’s kids!”
Jane Goodall, Primatologist and author of Reason for Hope
“Dear Senior Class of 2010, Your letter and messages to me and the gift of the Viktor Frankl book Man’s Search for Meaning warmed my heart on a cold day. Viktor Frankl is one of my heroes. I am impressed that you study this book, and it also touches my heart that you read Reason for Hope as part of your high school Zoology curriculum. It was a hard book to write. I shall be in Colorado later this year, maybe we will meet.”
Bill Fisher, Visiting English Professor
“The students’ constant eagerness to learn and to know all that could be known about various subjects requires me to stay fully awake, totally present to each student an utterly fulfilling experience. ”
Dr. George Russell, Visiting Science Teacher
“I have had the privilege and opportunity to teach each of the senior classes at Tara. The privilege, of course, is the chance to meet each day for a two-hour main lesson with a group of exceptionally eager and capable young people. The Tara students are inquisitive, quick to learn and very open to the several themes we undertake to study. Many college teachers of my acquaintance will complain about indifference and ennui in their students; Tara students are rather more like a team of spirited horses that need to be reined in, not urged or compelled to move forward.”
Eleventh grade parent
“I have several times this year been on the verge of attempting to write an eloquent—or perhaps mushy—letter, thanking you for the many wonderful gifts that my daughter is (and, indirectly, I also am) receiving from you all at Tara. Of course I love what I see (on my rare visits), hear about from her, or read about (in teacher comments and other communications from the school); also the very heart-warming welcome I invariably receive from Tara faculty and students whenever I have the good fortune to be around. But, more than that, I thank you for the wonderful person that she is enabled to be. There is so much shoddy, cheap, (commercial) stuff in the world today to seduce people, distract them, and dumb them down. It is no small wonder for a haven/a workshop to be created, as you have done at Tara, where love, creativity, joy in working, working together, and in studying great art and literature and music, time to reflect, appreciate and express and share what is living in everyone’s soul is their daily bread. The example you all set with your lives—your dedication, love, creativity, hard work, joy, and honesty—is at the heart of what I feel all your students are taking in. As a parent, and just as a citizen of the world, it is indeed much to be grateful for. And so, I thank you.”
“I wish I could more articulately express how you all [Tara students] have inspired me this weekend with your production of Les Misérables. I know that I speak for many when I say that your performance touched my heart and soul and spirit in a deep way. While I am aware of many of your names and personalities, it remained easy to stay in the story because of the level of your acting and the fact that it came straight from your hearts. I could see and feel that it was your intention to convey all the important lessons that Les Misérables offers us for our lives. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for enriching my life in such an impactful and lasting way.”
“Tara changes students’ lives, helping them mature into insightful and joyous human beings. And it teaches them how to connect deeply and genuinely with each other. Last month, all of the members of my son’s graduating class ‘came home’ to Tara to see this year’s musical and just to hang out with each other again. I am immensely grateful for how Tara nurtured my son and his classmates and gave them a safe place to grow and explore together.”
“Tara brought out the best in both our children. They certainly benefited from the rich artistic life and healthy social environment that Tara offered, but it wasn’t until they went off to college that we began to realize the true value of their Tara experience. Not only were both children well prepared academically, but more importantly they were ready ‘as individuals’ to contribute to the broader community. They had a thirst for learning and a depth of understanding about themselves, which was revealed in their self-assurance and ability to rise to any challenge.”
“Tara is an extraordinary place. As the parent of a Tara graduate, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for what my student received at the school. The ‘teenage years’ are foundational years for all of us, and to have the kind of foundation that Tara provides is an exceptional opportunity for a young person. At Tara, students experience their education, from academics to travel to performance, as a life full of meaning, free of the imperative to be someone they’re not. To have a safe place as a high school student to explore and discover one’s world, one’s abilities and one’s inner self is a gift indeed.”
Tenth grade student
“To further enhance our understanding of geological formations we embarked on a rafting trip down the San Juan River, hiked into areas of geological interest, having what would normally be classroom learning with pictures to illuminate the words. Here, the lectures are delivered while we are in the actual environment, and the pictures are made by nature itself. As I write this, I am looking at Comb Ridge. It is a massive sandstone monocline that is 100 miles in length, so big that it can be seen from outer space. What an amazing way to learn!”
Tenth grade student
“Going so deep into the text of the play is fascinating. When rehearsals end, I can feel myself surfacing and breaking from the dense waters that I’ve been immersed in. Heavy, weighty and strong are the waves that drag me to and fro in these pools, and I drift with them readily.”
Ninth grade student
“I know that I gained a lot of things from the NYC trip, but the simplest thing that comes to mind is a new trust and confidence in myself. I learned that I can take care of myself, even when I am tired. And as I stood in front of the art work in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I learned, in addition to all of the particulars that are part of my knowledge from the History of Art class, what a deep impact standing in front of a painting can have on me. My emotions start to change. And if I stand there long enough and just let the painting speak, I feel like it transforms my psyche.”
Alum, class of 2001
“As a student at Tara, I found the academic subjects enlivening and rigorous, delivered by the faculty and received by us with a sense of joy. Tara has created a truly extraordinary environment for learning.”
Alum, class of 2011
“My internalization of the substance policy ran along a continuum from ninth to twelfth grade. As I revisited my commitment each year it solidified my values a little more each time. What started as a choice in ninth grade became a fully embodied and conscious lifestyle in twelfth grade.”
Alum, class of 2010
“Tara has taught me to focus thoroughly and participate in the actions of my existence.
Tara has taught me to listen first and judge later.
Tara has taught me to look at the details for a more in-depth understanding of the subject.
Tara has taught me how to find something to enjoy in every class, every job, every activity no matter how ridiculous or mundane.
Tara has taught me how to present myself in order to be understood in the way I desire.
Tara has taught me the importance of receptivity and gratitude.
Tara has taught me to recognize life as a living process in which the understandings that I receive from my experiences change over time. Tara has taught me to reflect and observe those sometimes subtle yet substantial changes.”
Alum, Class of 2009
“I really wanted to write and thank you for all that you have done for me. I didn’t realize how well Tara prepared me for college until I got here. All my new friends seem to be in a constant state of panic over homework and such. However, I feel like I have all the time in the world, considering the work load of my senior year. The academics at Puget Sound are very competitive but I am doing very well. Before I got my first essay back, my professor gave a long speech about how the average college freshman’s grade goes down almost a full letter grade from their average grade in high school. He said that the average Puget Sound student got a B-. I actually ended up being pleasantly surprised when I got an A-. I'm doing just as well in all my classes. The only class I didn’t get prepared for at Tara is Chinese, but even in that class I find that the work ethic Tara gave me makes it much easier.”
Alum, Class of 2001
“As a direct result of my varied and intense high school education, exploring life outside my comfort zone has always felt natural and exciting.”