Kudos to the students, teachers, and administrators at Roaring Fork High in Carbondale. It is time that the school’s reputation catches up with its excellent reality.
A dozen years ago, the high school was struggling and parents who wanted an academically rigorous experience for their teens were hesitant to buy in. Seven years ago, my husband Bill Spence and I became Pre-Collegiate mentors at Carbondale Middle School and started watching RFHS. When our group reached high school, our Freshmen spoke up and said that it was not challenging. The administration listened, and sophomores were able thereafter to take AP classes and to attend college classes at CMC. The rigor has only increased since. Teachers stepped up, and working hard academically became a respected value among the students. In 2000, the list of where high school graduates were headed was very disappointing; when we saw the 2017 list of what graduating seniors had planned, it brought tears of joy to our eyes. This year, every one of the 84 students who started senior year graduated, and 80% of them are headed to college, mostly four-year institutions including some of the most respected in the country. Four RFHS students earned full-ride Daniels scholarships, phenomenal for such a small class. Two more earned prestigious Boettcher scholarships, and a huge number of private scholarships were awarded. Each student feels supported by other students and the staff, and almost all head off to their futures with a strong sense of self-esteem.
I hope local families can put aside the old trope that Roaring Fork is a mediocre high school. On the contrary, it is exceptional. I would be thrilled to send my youngster. Alongside academics, there is a great sports program, challenging extracurricular activities, opportunities to travel the world, and more.
Special thanks to departing principal Drew Adams, who arrived five years ago with the intention of creating rigor and improving retention. Job well done. Good luck to Drew and his family as they begin their adventure living and working in Cali, Colombia.
And thank you to everyone in Carbondale who has been part of the transformation of Roaring Fork High. Go Rams.