Battle Mountain High School (BMHS) junior Rebecca Cotton is one of 64 students in the country to be accepted to the prestigious and highly-competitive Telluride Association Summer Program (TASP), a six-week all-expenses paid educational experience for high school juniors that offers challenges and rewards rarely encountered in secondary school or even college. Each program is designed to bring together young people from around the world who share a passion for learning.
“I am honored to have been selected to attend the Telluride Association Summer Program,” states Rebecca Cotton. “I wrote six essays and was interviewed in Denver as part of the admissions process. I know this experience will be invaluable as I begin working on college applications.”
TASP centers on an academic seminar that meets every weekday morning for three hours. The topic of the seminar that Rebecca is participating in is The Origin of the Species and the Politics of Evolution. Each seminar is led by a team of two professors, who are selected for the distinction of their scholarship and the excellence of their teaching, and classes emphasize group discussions rather than lectures. Participants can expect to spend several hours on assigned readings or other preparation for each class, and will complete a number of writing assignments over the six-week seminar. The discussions and essays allow the professors and students to engage the material in detail and to form a close community of scholars. Students receive written and oral feedback from the professors, but no grades.
In addition to the seminar, students participate in a public-speaking program, attend lectures by guest speakers, and hold other social and intellectual activities as a community. Through the guest lectures, the students learn about a range of ideas and academic disciplines, encouraging them to develop broad interests. Recent guest speakers have included a Nobel laureate physicist, a DNA researcher, a lawyer who worked at Guantanamo Bay, a prominent poet, a college president, and an anthropologist.
“As a member of the Vail Youth Ballet Company, I’ve attended several summer dance programs, including last year’s inaugural Vail Valley Dance Intensive which coincided with the Vail International Dance Festival,” states Cotton. “TASP is the first opportunity I’ve had to participate in an academic summer program. I think my teachers at Battle Mountain High School have prepared me well for the challenging academic environment that I will encounter in Ann Arbor. I’d like to especially thank Mr. Caudill who wrote a letter of recommendation to the Telluride Association for me.”
Life at TASP extends well beyond academic exploration. One of the program's remarkable features is that the students are responsible for organizing most of their out-of-classroom time through weekly group meetings and on smaller committees. This element of self-government is an essential part of the TASP experience. Students plan all kinds of activities, including group-wide discussions, field games, community service projects, music and theater events, reading groups, and excursions to state parks and art museums. Participants also share responsibility for keeping their environment clean and safe. Between all of the formal events, TASP students will be able to find time for fun outside of the classroom.
Students attend TASPs because they want a personal and intellectual challenge. Telluride Association seeks students from all kinds of educational backgrounds who demonstrate intellectual curiosity and motivation, rather than prior knowledge of the seminar's subject matter. TASPers (as TASP participants are called) participate solely for the pleasure and rewards of learning with other intelligent, highly motivated students of diverse backgrounds.
The TASPs seek to bring together students from across the United States and abroad who are not just intelligent but thoughtful, not just motivated but generous with their talents and energies. TASPers have a wide variety of life experiences, and come from many different kinds of backgrounds. TASP has a rigorous selection process and TASPers generally go on to America's finest colleges. Telluride Association hopes the TASP experience endows its students with a sense of intellectual vitality, interpersonal awareness, and community responsibility that will prepare them for leadership in whatever walk of life they choose.
TASP is one of the most successful and prestigious academic summer programs in the nation. The more than 2,500 living TASP alumni include leaders in politics, journalism, academia, the sciences, education, medicine, business, and the arts. For many, the six-week Telluride Association program was a formative experience in their lives.
For more information on the Telluride Association Summer Program, go to www.tellurideassociation.org.
~ Educating Every Student for Success ~