Options Students Take to the Ski Slopes in Celebration of the Literal Ups and Downs of Life

Options-Carmel student Dominick Andrews takes a turn while snowboarding for the first time (photo credit: Meredith Stasik)

Story written by Meredith Stasik

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Options Schools are a place where students go to succeed and to learn an appreciation for hard work, grit, and determination. This has never been truer than when a group of students from the Options campus in Carmel, IN and their teachers took to the ski slopes at Paoli Peaks in Southern Indiana on crisp Friday morning in February. The students were selected based on their achievement of certain benchmarks and by demonstrating the aforementioned academic skills.

Since this was the first time skiing for many students, and teachers, this field trip was a metaphor for the challenges of learning new skills and obtaining goals.

Sarah Cash, teacher, lamented this idea when she said, “We love to see our students succeed but we know that the path to success isn’t a straight one. Sometimes you fall and have to pick yourself up, tend to your bruises, and keep going. That’s exactly what you do while skiing. This trip is a perfect example and real-life application of grit and determination. It was a great lesson for all of us today.”

Not every student was quick to hit the slopes. After a lesson from the Paoli Peaks’ ski instructors, some students opted to hang back and watch the action for a while.

Samantha Floyd was one of those students. “It was a bit scary and intimidating at first. It was cold and wet. At first, a lot of people were falling down. It just seemed hard. But then people were skiing and snowboarding longer and faster and you could tell they were having fun. It made me want to get out there and try as hard as they were!” And it was not long before Floyd did just that. She was able to snowboard down the slope on her own in no time.

The Options Schools motto is “Believe. Belong. Achieve.” Teacher Phil Bertch exemplified this when he remarked, “Our school is huge on embracing the notion of ‘second chances’ and recognizing setbacks not as failures but an opportunity to improve. It is why many of our students end up enrolling with Options. We truly believe all of our students are capable of success. It’s about working with them and personalizing the support given to them to get them there.”

Some students found success quicker than others. For example, student Dominick Andrews. “He took to snowboarding right away. He served as a role model and a bit of inspiration for other students,” one of his former teachers Meredith Stasik commented. “That’s one of the powerful things about the Options smaller community. We have the ability to recognize the successes of our students and allow them to serve as motivation for the rest of us.”

Andrews added, “At first I didn’t think I was doing so well. It’s hard to tell when you are still figuring things out but then you have your teachers congratulating you and cheering you on. It gets you more excited and wanting to do more.”

Other students like Titus Barber and Daelyn Presswood could be heard giving words of encouragement to their teachers and peers from the ski lift or coming to the aid of a fallen teacher.

At the end of the day, each student made an attempt at least once down the hill. Everyone had their fair share of falls and bumps. Most importantly, everyone got up, mustered up their grit, and tried again. It was truly a fun-filled day that made a lasting impression on everyone in attendance and even leaving some students asking to come back again next year!

To explore Options, visit OptionsSchools.org. With enrollment now open for the 2020-21 school year, prospective families can attend an upcoming Open House or schedule a campus tour & Principal meeting.


About Options Schools
Serving students in grades 6-12, Options Schools are free, public charter schools with brick and mortar campuses in Carmel and Noblesville & a new campus opening in Westfield in August 2021. Options also offers additional programs that serve students throughout the state of Indiana (serving over 90 school corporations). With a high-quality, individualized approach, Options was founded in 2002 and specializes in providing students with an inclusive environment and a student-to-teacher ratio of 15-to-1.