A Costa Rican Sabbatical Yields Many Surprises for Mark Hatch Family

By Greg Collette ’12 

There were 4:30 a.m. wake-up calls from howler monkeys, a two-mile walk (each way) to the grocery store, no television or Internet, and poisonous snakes. Costa Rica, besides the poisonous snakes, was the perfect place for Mark Hatch, Colorado College’s vice president for enrollment management, to take his administrative sabbatical.

            For Hatch and his family, it was the trip of a lifetime.

            After a quarter of a century working in admissions at four private colleges, Hatch was ready for a break. Feeling, sometimes, due to the cyclical nature of admissions that he was running on a treadmill, Hatch wanted an adventure. He wanted a place where he could write and reflect, a place where he and his family could reconnect and not be distracted by the trappings of American life. A sabbatical in the small town of Monteverde in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, offered the perfect opportunity.

            Established in the 1950s by Quakers who opposed the American draft during the Korean War, the town of Monteverde is considered one of Costa Rica’s Seven Wonders. The town is well-known to ecotourists for its nature preserve, Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde. The 26,000 acres, set aside by the Quakers in the 1970s, draws 70,000 visitors a year. Despite the influx of large numbers of international tourists, the town still remains relatively small and Costa Rican with only 7,000 residents – of which only 700 are American.

            Life in Monteverde was nothing like the Hatches had ever experienced. Their house had little in the way of the conveniences of living in the United States.  In addition to no Internet and television, they also had no car. But without the normal distractions separating everyone, Hatch and his family were able to reconnect. After dinner, the kids couldn’t retreat to the TV or computer. Instead, the time between dinner and bedtime was filled with family readings and storytelling.

            Outside of their home, everything was completely different. Instead of squirrels on their front porch, often there were toucans. One morning, Hatch recalls, there were eight toucans sitting on their porch chatting away. Although the flora and fauna were the most visible differences, the language and culture were the most daunting. For Hatch’s wife and daughters, they posed little challenge. Hatch’s wife knew Spanish and was taking classes in it; by the time they returned to America in December, Hatch’s 8-year-old had an 11th grade proficiency in the language.

            For Hatch, however, it was a different story. Having taken French growing up, attempting to communicate with many of the locals was nearly impossible at first. By the end of his stay, he was able to let a taxi driver know where he wanted to go, but often, his 8-year-old would translate for him, an experience he describes as “a proud one for a dad, but horrible for a 45-year-old man.”

            The language barrier did not stop Hatch from engaging in the community while in Monteverde. He began working at the school his daughters attended, the pre-K through 11th grade Centro de Educación Creativa, or the Cloud Forest School. Sitting on a pristine 106-acre campus located in the rainforest, the 200-student school focuses heavily on environmental stewardship.

            Hatch taught courses on environmental education at the bilingual school. He spent 15-20 hours a week teaching both inside and outside of the classroom. For Hatch the courses he taught were a great way to engage with the students. They spent time in the local forests, doing everything from planting trees to testing water samples. And despite a student body that is 90 percent Costa Rican, Hatch found little trouble communicating with the students, which he credits to them, saying that the students were extremely good to him.

            It seemed Hatch’s sabbatical was going to be spent doing things that were completely different from what he was used to at home. In August, the school hired an interim director after the previous director left. The new director was a local parent and did not have any administrative experience. It was not long before she asked Hatch to come in and look at the school budget. They realized that the school was in serious financial trouble. Almost overnight, Hatch’s 15-20 hours of work per week doubled. The long hours, though tiring, were not a burden.

            “Helping the school became a huge passion,” he said.

            Originally, he planned on spending much of his time writing and reflecting, but working to keep the school from closing became a huge priority, second only to his family.  Yet, Hatch still gained much insight from the experience.

            “It made me incredibly appreciative of CC,” he said. When Hatch left for his sabbatical, CC had just endured one of its toughest economic years in recent memory. In fact, Hatch had been approved for his sabbatical in May 2008, but with the recession hitting the country and the school, he decided to defer his leave until the following year.

             Although he already was amazed at how CC handled the financial crisis during the 2008-09 school year, his time in Costa Rica put a new light on how well CC was handling the economic recession. His experience also made him miss his work back at CC. Despite the cold welcome of January weather when he returned to campus, Hatch said it’s good to be back helping students begin their futures here at Colorado College.

‘Western Skies’ to Ride KRCC’s Airwaves Once Again

The much beloved news magazine “Western Skies” returns at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 6 after several years of dormancy. Produced by KRCC News Director Andrea Chalfin and “The Big Something’s” Noel Black, the hour-long, monthly show addresses a single topic facing the region and the West. The show will air on the first Sunday of each month.

“Tourism” will be the subject of this Sunday’s “Western Skies” and will feature:

  • A roundtable discussion about the past, present, and future of this vital industry with Terry Sullivan, CEO and president of Experience Colorado Springs, Leah Davis Witherow, archivist at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, and Susan Wolbrueck, board president of the Manitou Springs Business Improvement District.
  • A segment on the burgeoning agritourism in Colorado by Michelle Mercer.
  • A conversation with Capitol Reporter Bente Birkeland about proposed legislation pitting whitewater rafting against private land owners.
  • A feature on Pikes Peak’s famous donuts.

Tune in to 91.5 FM, and make sure you check the KRCC website for additional web-only features, including a video of donut making, a history of Balanced Rock in photography, and much more.

CC Golf Warriors Take No Prisoners at 14th Annual Golf Tournament

By Ron Smith, Director of Campus Safety

The winning golf team. Photo by Pam Butler.

The winning golf team. Photo by Pam Butler.

The sun is peeking over the horizon as the dew is glistening on the fresh mowed grass.  At that precise moment there stood 62 fearless CC warriors dressed in their brightly colored battle clothes, their faces painted with sunscreen, just waiting to receive the word to grab their clubs and climb aboard their covered chariots to do battle on the sacred grounds of the Valley Hi Golf Course.

The atmosphere was tense as the command was finally given, “Welcome to the 14th Annual Colorado College Golf Tournament.

“Today you will be facing an opponent that is relentless and deceiving.  This opponent will stop at nothing to gain a victory over you by using such devious tactics as sand, water, weeds, gullies, trees, beer carts, outhouses, boogies, double boogies, and yes, even the dreaded geese and geese droppings.  Some of you will survive, some of you will use mulligans, and some of you will falter, but remember, whatever the outcome of today’s events, you will be honorably welcomed back at the 19th hole.  So, my comrades pick up your clubs and go forth to get as many birdies as you can.”

As the war correspondent/photographer Pam Butler stood at the gateway to the upcoming battle, she remarked that the sight was breathless as the 31 chariots with the 62 CC warriors headed off to uncertain results.

After an excruciating day, the embattled CC warriors returned to the 19th hole to claim their prize. The team of Chris Melcher, John Calderhead, Randy Stiles, and Ray Nunn held their clubs high as they proclaimed victory over the 16-team field. The crowd was silent as the winners accepted their prize and listened as the winners boasted that their names will be forever engraved in CC history along with the other teams that passed before them. 

Of course, during all great battles there are people who excel in individual greatness by going above and beyond the capabilities of their nemeses. These individuals seek no rewards for their accomplishments. They do it because they know that they are good enough to beat anyone, one-on-one, when it comes to their specialties. For the sacrifices these individuals endured throughout the day, each was presented with a token which was commensurate to their accomplishments. So without further ado here are these exceptional individuals:

Ken Cooper – Men’s longest drive
Jill Fetters – Women’s longest drive
Stacy Davidson – Women’s closest to the pin
Tom Walters – Men’s closest to the pin 

So as the sun set over Valley Hi and the geese were finally out of danger and at peace, the mighty CC warriors said good bye to the 14th Annual Colorado College Golf Tournament and limped home to the big tube of Ben Gay.

TCO Committee:  Stacy Davidson, Don Davidson, Lynda Smith, Ron Smith

KRCC Receives $15,000 Grant from El Pomar Foundation for Programming

KRCC, Colorado College’s NPR-member radio station, has received a $15,000 grant from the El Pomar Foundation. The grant will be used to produce local news shows for the community and provide additional political coverage on the state legislature in Denver, both of which have been requested by KRCC’s member stations. “These programs are vital components of the comprehensive news programming that KRCC provides members and listeners in Southern Colorado,” said Delaney Utterback, KRCC’s general manager.

Although Colorado College is the fiscal agent for the radio station, KRCC is solely responsible for raising revenue for its budget each year. This is the toughest economy KRCC has faced in its 26-year history as a National Public Radio member station, Utterback said.

KRCC’s mission is to offer broadcast radio programming which reflects Colorado College’s commitment to the liberal arts and diverse ideas and people. KRCC began in 1944 in Colorado Springs as a public address system at Colorado College, and began airing NPR news in the fall of 1984. As of 1999, KRCC was heard in Westcliffe, Gardner, Limon, Manitou Springs, Trinidad, Buena Vista, Salida, Villa Grove, Canon City, Colorado Springs, and Raton, N.M. In 2000, a repeater station for KRCC in La Junta was completed.

In 2003 KRCC added a political show, the “Capitol Coverage Project,” and in January 2005 KRCC began broadcasting a local weekly news magazine called “Western Skies.” Two years later, the show evolved into “KRCC Local News” featuring daily news segments during “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”

Winners of Lewis Award for Student Film of the Year Announced

The winners of the Lewis Award for Student Film of the Year have been announced. Arielle Gross ’12 took first place with “Contact: The Eye,” and received a $500 prize. Nick Wellin ’10 took second place for “Showdown,” and received $300. The other two finalists were Connie Jiang ’12 for “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and Rachel San Luis ’10 for “Bullet in the Brain.”

The selection committee, consisting of retired Lecturer in Film Studies Tom Sanny, English Professor John Simons, and History Professor Peter Blasenheim, looked at films chosen from the English department’s filmmaking classes as well as the student film festival.

The Richard A. Lewis Memorial Film Award was endowed by Estelle and Barton Lewis in 2002 to honor the memory of their son Richard ’75. The award serves to recognize high-quality student work as well as provide encouragement and support for future film projects. DVDs of the finalists for each year are on file in Special Collections at Tutt Library, and there is a DVD of this year’s finalists in the English department office. To view all the past winners, go to: http://www.coloradocollege.edu/news_events/releases/2010/May%2010/LewisAwardDVDIndex.pdf

Two CC Students Named Rotary Ambassadorial Scholars

Colorado College students Rachel San Luis ’10 and Rakhi Voria ’11 have been named Rotary Ambassadorial Scholars. San Luis graduated cum laude as an English/film studies major and Spanish minor; Voria is an international political economy major and journalism minor.

The Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, awarded by The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, provides a $26,000 grant for a year of study in any university in the world outside the United States. San Luis will spend a year at the Denver School of Science and Technology as a Colorado College Public Interest Fellow before using the Rotary scholarship to study filmmaking abroad. She hopes to study in Prague, Madrid, Barcelona, Vancouver, or Auckland, N.Z. Voria plans to use the grant to pursue a degree in international development at Oxford, Cambridge, or the London School of Economics after she graduates.

The purpose of the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship program is to further international understanding and relations among people of different countries and geographical areas. The program sponsors academic year scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as for qualified professionals pursuing vocational studies. Upon returning home, scholars share with Rotarians and others the experiences that led to a greater understanding of their host country.

CC Shoes Sent Walking Worldwide

Lauren Paley, Kasi Carter, and Andrew Baird spent two days boxing donated shoes.

Lauren Paley, Kasi Carter, and Andrew Baird spent two days boxing donated shoes.

CC’s Soles4Souls shoe drive was a resounding success, as many faculty, staff, and students stepped up and donated their old shoes. The campus-wide project was launched in conjunction with a children’s book published by Charlotte Blessing, CC’s director of international programs.

The book, “New Old Shoes,” is told from perspective of a pair of shoes, and was inspired by the secondhand clothing and shoe markets in East Africa, where Blessing lived for 13 years.

Blessing’s book is narrated by a pair of red sneakers, and follows their journey from their first home with a young American boy to children in Africa. When the sneakers become worn-looking, the family sends them to Africa, and a boy there receives the shoes with as much excitement as the original owner. After adventures with him, the shoes end up with a girl who walks to school in them, and ultimately uses them as the hands for a scarecrow.

Blessing read her book to “Little CC” at the CC Children’s Center, and the children, parents, and staff there donated shoes there as well.

The Colorado College community donated enough shoes to fill 22 boxes. Lauren Paley ’11, Kasi Carter ’11, and Andrew Baird ’12, Center for Service and Learning interns, spent two days sorting and boxing the piles of shoes, which ranged from flip-flops and pumps to running shoes and consstruction boots. The shoes were shipped to a Soles4Souls warehouse, where they will be sorted and distributed around the world.

Board of Trustees Meeting Actions

The CC Board of Trustees met May 13-15 on campus and conducted the following business.
Voted to approve:

  • Isabel Werner ’08 as the first “young alumni trustee.”  She will serve a non-renewable two-year term.
  • Renewal of terms for trustees Neal Baer, John Chalik, Eben Moulton, Adam Press, Jane Rawlings, Bob Selig, Mike Slade, and Hans Utsch.
  • 2010-11 trustee committee assignment changes.
  • Professor Emeritus status for Mike Hoffman and John Watkins.
  • Six tenure-track hires: Daniel Arroyo-Rodriguez (Spanish), Andrea Bruder (Mathematics and Computer Science), Mona El-Sherif (Arabic), Maroula Khraiche (Economics and Business), Ryan Platt (Drama and Dance), and Carrie Ruiz (Spanish).
  • Self-funded health, legal, and scholarship reserves as Board-designated funds.
  • The final phase of Cossitt Hall renovations, not to exceed $503,000.

The Board dined with members of the Faculty Executive Committee and Staff Council and recognized outgoing trustees Meg Mathies ’57 and Ed Robson ’54.

‘Wait, Wait’ a Huge Success for KRCC

WWDTM Sidecar High ResColorado College’s NPR-member radio station KRCC was hugely successful in bringing the popular radio show “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” to Colorado Springs. KRCC Program Manager Jeff Bieri said the event had been two years in the making, dating from 2008 when Bieri contacted NPR’s main office in Washington, D.C., asking to host the Saturday morning show. “They said, ‘Sure, you can host in it May 2010,’” Bieri said.
“Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” billed as the “oddly informative news quiz,” has an audience of 3 million listeners and 1 million podcast subscribers. The show featuring Host Peter Sagal, Official Judge and Scorekeeper Carl Kasell, and panelists Tom Bodett, Faith Salie, and Paul Provenza was taped live before a sellout crowd at the Pikes Peak Center on May 6, and aired on May 8.
“People came from all over the state – Boulder, Greeley, Montrose – to see this,” Bieri said. “People were coming in from everywhere. This is the only time this show is happening in Colorado this season, and people from around the state knew about it and were coming. The audience was hungry for this thing.”
Colorado College, as one of the underwriters of the show (Fountain Valley School was the other), had to develop a 10-second tagline. Delaney Utterback, manager of KRCC, and others came up with a spot that mentioned Colorado College “challenging students to mono-task, one class at a time,” and provided the web address for information about the college’s Block Plan.
That “mono-task” phrase resonated with panelist Salie, who used it while on the air. And it also resonated with a listener in Chicago.
The same day the show aired, Colorado College received an e-mail from Marne Glaser in Chicago, which read:

I want to tell you that as I was listening to “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell  Me” on the radio this morning, my ears perked up when I heard the words “mono-task,” “Block Program,” and “Colorado College” mentioned. I am many decades past college, and have no college bound kids, but the idea of one course at a time really cheered me.  I have been a school psychologist for many years, and just been so disappointed in the continuation of “whoops, there’s the bell—put your work away– next!” practices in the schools.  Perhaps it’s my Montessori training that sensitized me to the need for children to focus and mono-task.  I think it’s no wonder that kids are so unable to concentrate these days—we sure don’t help them.  Likewise, I have been disappointed in the way higher education continues to operate—every day and week fragmented so that success in school has more to do with your ability to administratively orchestrate all the required tasks, while deep learning, thinking, and understanding are short-changed.  It gave me a little feeling of hope that some college honored those needs, as well as fortified the connection between the real world and the academic. I wish my college (university) experience could have been like that!
So I just want to say, whatever resources you put toward your advertising, they were effective in getting at least one person’s attention and admiration!  Keep up the good work!
Best wishes,
Marne Glaser
Chicago

The May 8 “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” show can be heard at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=35

State of the Rockies Photo Displayed at DIA

Traveling through Denver International Airport this summer? If you’re going out of Terminal A, be on the lookout for a photo taken by Steve Weaver, CC’s technical director of geology.

Layout 1The image, which appears on this year’s State of the Rockies Report Card and poster, is of a herd of grazing bison with the Crestone Peaks in the background, taken on the Medano Ranch in the San Luis Valley.  It will be on display at DIA until July, when it will move to the Colorado State Capitol Building for three months. Because the photo is in a terminal, it can only be viewed by passengers who have cleared security.

The image also was hanging in the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins as part of the Artists’ Association of Northern Colorado (AANC) 19th National Art Exhibition and Sale. It was one of 130 works selected out of a total of 800 entries.