Junior Days

Prep juniors spent the last two days outside the classroom immersed in various real-world learning opportunities during our annual Junior Days. The workshops and trips planned for this program are intended to engage the juniors’ heads, hearts, and hands in ways that are sometimes overlooked in the focus on preparing for college. The time is meant to be fun and give students glimpses into interesting ways that people make a living, while providing others with an intensive encounter with the natural world. Our hope is that our students get some answers to that perennial junior question, “Why am I having to work so hard?” and begin thinking about how they can put their education to the service of their own passions.

This year’s projects included:

FOOD with Rob Wilder, Olga Herrera, and Walter Burke Catering

Students spent the first day cooking, prepping, bussing, waiting, and hosting at Atrisco Cafe & Bar and La Choza. They got a close look at the behind-the-scenes reality of these very popular restaurants. On the second day they learned how to make the New Mexico classics: red and green chile, enchiladas, and tamales—yum!

SW CULTURE with Mark Bixby and Melissa Carl

Students visited Inscription Rock at El Morro National Monument, an incredible area filled with petroglyphs of the Ancestral Puebloans, as well as writing by Spanish and other European travelers. The group also visited Acoma Pueblo for a tour by a young, Pueblo guide. This program provided a better understanding of the early interactions between Spanish explorers and the people of Acoma, and the complexities and contradictions of history.


Northern New Mexico has inspired writers and artists for well over a century. Students spent their first day exploring the village of Abiquiú and Ghost Ranch. Using the style of 20th century photographer and poet Minor White as an approach for their work, they photographed and wrote about the people, landscapes, and abstract forms with which they interacted. On their second day, the group was back on campus to create a small exhibit bringing together images and words.  Their art show is currently up in the foyer at Prep.

FINANCE with Jim Leonard and George Strickland

How can leverage work to your advantage in real estate investing? What does an equities portfolio manager do each day? For a venture capital firm, how many start-ups in which you invest are likely to fail . . . and where can you find the next Uber? These and many questions drove the inquiry for eleven juniors over two days of meetings at Thornburg Investment Management, Santa Fe Advisors, SF Brown and Company, Half Moon Capital, and Sun Mountain Capital.

RED RIVER YURT CAMPING with Eric Rounds and Ashley Watson

Students embarked on a short two-mile snowshoe hike to a cozy yurt (huge canvas tent with kitchen, woodstove, and beds) in an incredibly beautiful location in the Enchanted Forest outside of Red River. The group spent the night, prepared their own meals, built a giant snow fort and enjoyed the pristine beauty of the New Mexico Wilderness.