Live and Learn
When you choose to live and learn as a boarding student at Sun Valley Community School, you’re choosing:
- To join an active community of students from around the country and around the world;
- To connect with a welcoming and supportive faculty and staff;
- To make your home in a mountain-town location that offers unique outdoor and cultural opportunities in a vibrant resort community.
A Day in the Life
Curious if the boarding program at Sun Valley Community School is right for you? Take a look at a typical day in a boarding setting that is anything but typical.
Rufus M. Brown Hall comes to life early. The Julia Argyros Training Center on the first floor is the site of frequent early-morning workouts, as student-athletes make the quick walk downstairs from their residential suites for cardio and strength training sessions. With their first training session checked off, students have time to grab a quick shower and a healthy breakfast before they head to school.
Ours is an inclusive and vibrant community, and Community School boarding students are fully integrated into the life of the school. Academic classes take place on our Trail Creek Campus, a five-minute drive from Rufus M. Brown Hall. Boarding students are supported academically by the residential staff and by faculty. All students are also assigned an academic advisor, with whom they check in daily and who helps manage academic scheduling and communicates any academic issues or successes with the student’s family and the residential staff.
During the week, students participate in team sports, clubs, theater performances, outdoor leadership outings, and service learning, among other activities of student life. Depending on the season, when the academic day is done, students may head to the playing fields at the Dumke Family Sagewillow Campus for soccer or cross-country running, to the Fishtank to play volleyball or basketball, to a Model U.N. meeting or other academic club, or, if they are members of Sun Valley Ski Academy, to train on snow.
Early evening at Rufus M. Brown Hall offers boarding students time to recharge, share a meal, and reconnect. Students might spend an hour in their suite with roommates or visit with day students who swing by the dorm. Because Rufus M. Brown Hall functions as a vital student hub, day students, faculty, and staff often spend time there on an informal basis or to host study sessions during this time.
Throughout the week, boarding students—together with residential staff—assume responsibility for Rufus M. Brown Hall through regular chores, including dish duty. This responsibility cultivates leadership and teamwork, and students emerge from the program as responsible, respectful, independent adults who understand how to live and thrive in a close community.
Evening hours see most students focused on homework, whether on their own in their room or in the designated study hall. Boarding students also benefit from the expertise of the RA staff, who are also teachers in a variety of academic subjects.
Clay Wawner succeeded Nancy Parsons-Brown as Director of Residential Life in 2018. Clay joined Sun Valley Community School from Miller School of Albemarle in Charlottesville, Virginia, where, since 2013, he served as Dean of Students, history teacher, Community Service Coordinator, Head Varsity Lacrosse Coach, Residential Duty Team Chief, Student Advisor, and Senior Administrative Team member.
In addition to his extensive academic, residential, and coaching experience, Clay has over ten years’ experience as an outdoor education instructor, having led wilderness experiences around the U.S. and globally, including two summers employed as a fishing and river guide for The River Company in Stanley.
Clay, along with his wife Maggie, bring warmth, a familial approach, clear expectations, and great residential experience to the dorm, while also working to expand programmatic offerings for all Community School students.
Clay is a graduate of Denison University, where he captained the men’s lacrosse team for two years and graduated with a degree in history. In his reflection of his visit to Sun Valley Community School, Clay shared, “Through a strong set of guiding values, I believe that I can help define a culture that successfully integrates the residential life program into the greater community, bridges the gap between day and boarding students and faculty, and creates a fun and safe environment for our students.”
The most valuable experience has been being able to meet and become friends with a variety of people.Bergen '18
I have met kids from many different countries and have learned about their cultures; everyone in the dorm is different and brings a unique personality to the dorm.
On the weekends, boarding students explore and engage as they make the most of the mountain-town lifestyle. They might spend time outdoors on their skis or on a bike or hiking trail, explore town, take in a movie, or spend time with friends. Boarding students also have the opportunity to venture further afield, participating in outdoor excursions in the surrounding are or outings to arts or other local events.