The Pinnacle program offers a series of Honors courses that are challenging to students and respected by college admissions. These courses are often taught by the department head such as Gary Benedix for Honors math and the kids are pushed beyond most of their public school and private school alternatives. The Physics professor is known for developing real life experiments such as designing and building snow guns, conducting real life gravity experiments such as lifting a 10lb weight from the bottom of the pool with balloons and other fun yet complex experiments. Our son was enrolled at a top Massachusetts public high school and Waterville Valley Academy brings academics to a much higher level in most disciplines. The school is not large enough to have robust Arts. They use the Science labs at the local college for certain projects.
Gary Benedix- Dean of Math and Keenan Leip-Honors Physics.
Gary challenges/overloads our son with math problems and reviews each one with him the next day. No hiding. High volume of tough concepts.
Keenan is legendary at the school. He has the ability to take what is perceived as a dull subject and makes it so exciting for the kids. Imagine kids requesting Honors Physics because it is fun. Keenan brings kids out into the world and has numerous projects such as raising weights from the bottom of the pool with balloons, designing, building and operating a snow gun, and numerous other project where the kids spend countless hours in the class room designing the project and then proving it in the real world. The original design and the final solution go through numerous modifications and changes.
This is the big surprise. We come from one of the top rated public school in Mass and find that the quality of teachers here are consistent. However, our son averages approximately 5 kids per class. Each child receives focus and there is no hiding. They have to be on each and everyday or they are exposed. Kids come to class prepared and the learning occurs more quickly than we have seen in a 25 student public classroom.
Kids have a study session for 1 hour during each day an just under 2 hours homework each night. Our son picks things up readily so I suspect some kids may be 1.5 hours and others 2.5 hours. Homework is consistent and you tend not to see no homework one night and 4 hours the next night. It seems to be assigned with consistency.
Kids in this program by definition push themselves hard given they are training to compete at Division 1 ski racing. The surprise is how they have created an environment where the kids can push equally hard academically. Our son has always been a good student but only pushed himself 70%.....he is now pushing 95%+ and is learning to challenge himself even more. His Honors Math and Honors Physics results are amazing.
Son has met a great group of kids. They each compete for their own goals but very supportive of others. Having bad runs and crashes is part of skiing yet even when they have been disappointed with their own results, they are immediately supporting their teammates. I have never seen this level of mutual support. You can see this in a majority of the kids....yet there are still some that are too self absorbed. But the overall balance of support exceeds what I have seen elsewhere.
We recently attended the award ceremony for academics and the kids were genuinely supportive of the others success.
The kids do not build themselves at the expense of others,
Three of our sons attended WVA during their high school careers (2008-2013). Each of our boys had varying degrees of high school cirriculum: Honors Literature, AP Calc, AP Biology, foreign languages, etc. Each of our boys received an excellent education during their winter training, in fact, our youngest son was not only offered incredible college scholarships (as were his brothers) but he was also offered an engineering internship (paid) with a Philadelphia military defense contractor for the summer of 2014. This contractor was so impressed by our son's grades, ability to transition in/out of WVA with no issues, and his 4.0 GPA that they also offered him a private college scholarship. As for the snowboarding coaches, they are fantastic and their attention to detail is astonishing! They have an incredible ability to assess each athlete, and know WHEN to push them to the next level. I cannot say enough positive things about Waterville Valley Academy! If your child is serious about snowboarding and skiing competition during their high school careers, you have found the right academy!
Excellent snowsports winter-term academy. Our son had every one of his academic courses taught in a 1:1 or 1:2 student:teacher ratio by experienced, intelligent, caring teachers. He learned more in the 5 months at WVA than most kids learn in an entire school year at a traditional school. And his coaches for on mountain training are wonderful. I wouldn't trust anyone else to work with him on the high-risk tricks, etc. he is trying. Five star snowsports academy all the way around!