Congratulations, SVSEF Grads! A Cap, Gown and a Vast Horizon

ruby mardenSpring in Sun Valley is a time of transition; hillsides erupt in saturated purples and yellows, rain showers blanket the valley in the stead of snow, and cleats and running shoes replace the ski boots that for the previous six months held significant real estate in the mudroom. For a small group of SVSEF athletes, spring is the signifier of a rather momentous transition, as it marks graduation from high school and the SVSEF program. Some are headed off to college while others are opting to take a post grad year. Regardless of the route each has chosen, we are eager to see where the road takes them, and would like to express our sincere congratulations to the graduating class of 2016.
Sixteen SVSEF athletes are headed to top schools this fall – from Middlebury College to Rocky Mountain College to UC Berkeley, their new homes span the far reaches of the United States. Taking on the East Coast and all its humid glory are Luke Brecheen (University of Vermont), Hunter Kern (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) Max Polito (Middlebury College), Annika Landis (Middlebury College), Max Tanous (Bowdoin College), Griffin Curtis (Clarkson University), Leo Lukens (Bates College) and Emily Siegel (St. Lawrence University). Athletes attending college out west include Jay Fitzgerald (Gonzaga University), Sarah Kope (University of Utah), Jacob Truxal (South Dakota School of Mines and Technology), Loni Unser (University of Colorado at Boulder), Ransom Bleyer (University of Colorado at Boulder – Business/Engineering), Ben Brunelle (UC Berkeley), Kristian DeWolfe (Rocky Mountain College) and Trey Potter (Sierra Nevada College). Of these athletes, a number will continue to compete at the collegiate level. Griffin Curtis will ski on the alpine team at Clarkson, Annika Landis and Max Polito will race on the Middlebury Nordic Team, Emily Siegel will race Nordic at St. Lawrence, and Kristian DeWolfe will be a member of the RMC Alpine Team.
carter rosOther SVSEF athletes have accepted spots at top colleges, but are deferring for a year to continue ski racing. These athletes include alpine racers Yuri McClure (PG at SVSEF; Plymouth State University), Ella Pepin (PG at SVSEF; St. Lawrence), Ruby Marden (St. Lawrence) and Will Snyder (Williams College). Also opting to take a PG year are cross-country skiers Danny Graves (Bend Endurance Academy), River Vorse (Boulder Nordic), Eli Jensen (SVSEF) and Carter Ros (SVSEF). Alpine skiers Duncan Fuller and Wyatt Smith will be skiing this coming season with SVSEF as PGs, as well.
There is no manual for navigating college or a PG year. Juggling classes, new friendships and extra-curricular activities, or figuring out a whole new pace and schedule without the tangible support of loved ones or a familiar structure and routine can be daunting. A common theme we have seen in our athletes’ reflections on their time in the program, however, is the notion that SVSEF has helped set a solid foundation for them to be able to overcome obstacles and challenges in the future.
Annika Landis, who will be attending Middlebury College and skiing on the Nordic Team, eloquently summed up these sentiments. “I honestly believe that the experiences I’ve had through SVSEF, the ones that shaped my character just as much as they improved my ski racing, have profoundly influenced how I will move forward in my life. The joys of ski racing were almost simply an aside to the grit, pranks, jokes, and self-discovery.”
yuri mcclure
Jay Fitzgerald, an alpine racer who starts at Gonzaga University in the fall remarked, “SVSEF has given me the skill set to confidently go out and explore new areas of interest. I think that SVSEF has made it possible for me to be willing to try something new and go to school and live in a place that I had not previously considered.”
The program has required its athletes to take responsibility from a young age, has demanded conscious planning and time-management skills, and has taught the importance of working hard and of creating meaningful and impactful relationships with both peers and mentors. All of these qualities are applicable to life beyond SVSEF, whether or not an athlete continues to ski or snowboard competitively – we can’t wait to see the success that this group of graduating seniors achieves in their future endeavors.
Regardless of whether SVSEF graduates plan on skiing competitively past high school, many have garnered financial support and awards both locally and from their schools as a result of their hard work and success in academia.
Awards and scholarships:
Luke Brecheen – Trustee’s Scholarship (merit-based)
Jay Fitzgerald – Merit Scholarship Award
Hunter Kern – Merit Scholarship Award
Sarah Kope – Freshman Academic Achievement Award, Non-resident Business Scholar Scholarship
Jacob Truxal – Freshman Scholarship, Sun Valley/Ketchum Rotary Scholarship, St. Charles Memorial Scholarship
Ransom Bleyer – Dean’s Scholarship to Colorado State (not attending)
Kristian DeWolfe – Dean’s Academic Scholarship and Athletic Scholarship
Annika Landis – National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist
Ruby Marden – Sesquicentennial Scholarship Award
Trey Potter – Merit Scholarship Award
Emily Siegel – Merit Scholarship Award, Presidential Achievement Award, Wells Fargo Scholarship
Ben Brunelle – Sun Valley/Ketchum Rotary Scholarship, Power Engineers Dependent STEM, Freidman Foundation
danny Garves           sarah kope

Photos from top: Ruby Marden, Carter Ros, Yuri McClure, Danny Graves, Sarah Kope.