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Building Connections and Community: The Heart of Eagle Rock School's Houses

Building Connections and Community: The Heart of Eagle Rock School's Houses

Nestled amidst the breathtaking landscape of Colorado, Eagle Rock School stands as a firm example of academic excellence and personal growth. At the heart of this transformative educational experience lies the vibrant tapestry of our residential houses, where students forge deep connections, negotiate relationships, and cultivate a sense of belonging that lasts a lifetime.

Negotiating Relationships: The Essence of House Life

In the bustling corridors of Eagle Rock's houses, students embark on a journey of self-discovery and living in community. Guided by dedicated houseparents and student leaders, each house becomes a microcosm of community, where students negotiate everything from household chores to conflicts, love, and joy.

Beth Ellis, Eagle Rock's Director of Students, emphasizes the pivotal role of houses in shaping the school's unique culture. In houses, students and staff are negotiating everything: from working in the kitchen on Kitchen Patrol (KP) to cleaning the house, to house pride and culture. Every house has a set of values and norms that are collectively established.

Within this dynamic environment, the young adults are learning valuable life skills as they navigate the intricacies of relationships and living in community. Whether it's resolving conflicts or collaborating on household tasks, the houses provide a fertile ground for personal and interpersonal growth.

Empowering Student Autonomy: Shaping House Culture

Central to the ethos of Eagle Rock's houses is the principle of student autonomy and empowerment. Unlike traditional residential schools, where adult authority reigns supreme, we intentionally place students at the forefront of decision-making processes.

House culture is continuously defined and shaped by those who live in the house. Each house has a veteran student house leader. These veteran students help inform the culture for new students, ensuring that the house reflects the current inhabitants, including their values and expectations for communal living.

This emphasis on student agency fosters a sense of ownership and belonging, empowering residents to take pride in their living spaces and shape their collective identity. From decorating their wings to establishing house codes, the youth play an active role in creating a supportive and inclusive environment.

Sustaining Lifelong Connections: The Legacy of House Life

As students navigate the joys and challenges of house living, they forge bonds that transcend time and space. From late-night conversations to shared meals and laughter-filled evenings, it's the little moments that leave an indelible mark on their hearts.

Beth reflects on the enduring impact of house life, recalling the joyous reunions and continued relationships that flourish long after students graduate. "There's no easy metric for how to measure success in houses," she remarks. "What you do get is students who stay connected with us and families who are transformed beyond graduation. Eagle Rock students often return with their families 5, 10, or 15 years later to share Eagle Rock with the next generation."

Community, however, is not a linear or easy endeavor. It's a commitment that requires active participation and dedication. "To be a part of something, you really have to be in it," Beth emphasizes. "There is this sense of commitment to showing up every day regardless of what's going on."

As Eagle Rock continues to nurture the next generation of changemakers, the legacy of its houses will endure, serving as a testament to the enduring bonds of friendship, camaraderie, and love.