Upon arriving to teach at the Aspen Community School (ACS) in 1980, I was struck with the incredible dedication of parents and staff. They were dedicated to encourage student risk-taking, in search of excellence. I was also taken with the friendliness and warmth of the people involved with the school. This could not be mistaken for physical warmth, though. I still remember the afternoon when candles for a science experiment were blown out by the cold wind coming through cracks in the logs and windows. Oh, the log building in Woody Creek is unique and has an engaging mystique about it. However, it is a poor structure for housing the wonderful education that takes place there on a daily basis.
Our valley is one that encourages excellence in the arts, music, science, athletics, community service, and education. Many of these endeavors are housed in facilities, both public and private, that enhance their work. ACS is in desperate need of a structure that contributes to education, not one that makes it more difficult. The building is literally falling apart: Plumbing, heating and structural integrity are all major concerns.
ACS has grown and improved over these many years. There is a waiting list for students to enroll in the Aspen School District charter school that is now one of the highest-performing schools in Colorado. The ideals that the school was founded upon still are in place. Ask any former student or parent about their experience and you will hear heartfelt admiration. However, the wind still comes through the walls.
After three years of effort, the Aspen Community School earned a $4.2 million BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) grant from the state of Colorado. In order to secure this grant, ACS must raise $4.9 million by May 1. It is an ambitious yet, I believe, achievable goal. The grant and matching donations will go towards the development of a modern, green, and education-friendly facility that will match an outstanding ACS education. I urge you to support the Aspen Community School in its effort to build a facility worthy of educating its students.
To learn more, please visit: iBelieveACS.org
Teacher, Aspen Middle School