EXPERIENCING ACADEMY LIFE AS A SEVENTH GRADER – FACT 11 of 50
The G7 Program is specifically designed for alpine and Nordic racers who are eager to experience ski academy life. The program started in the fall of 2005 under the leadership of Megan Travis (then GMVS Ski Club Assistant Director / now mom of Harper ’25) with the goal of helping bridge club-level athletes to the academy on a part-time/ trial basis.
Since the beginning, G7 students have immersed themselves in the life of the school from the start of the ski season in early November, through the end of the racing season in March. The first “7th Grade Program” participants were all alpine skiers and came to us through their affiliation with the GMVS Ski Club or its counterpart at Mad River Glen. From its inception, the G7 program allowed students to explore life at GMVS during the winter term, while still living at home, and then return to their local schools in the spring.
Initially, the program was limited to ten students and the original curriculum consisted of math, science, English, Vermont history, and languages, and mirrored daily life at GMVS with on-snow training in the morning and afternoon classes. Because the groups were small, early cohorts of G7 students were immersed in hands-on learning and visited sites like the Vermont state capital and the Vermont Ski History Museum in Stowe. A stop at Ben & Jerry’s for ice cream was part of these early academic expeditions. The winter term was capped off by a reception for families and the showcasing of each student’s portfolio of coursework. These portfolios were then shared with each of the student’s sending school teachers to assure them that the time away was well spent!
As the program grew, most students continued to be locally based. Through its strong relationship with the local Harwood Union Unified School District, students would leave their public school curriculum, and GMVS teachers would work closely to complement and cover much of the same curriculum that was ongoing at Harwood and/or Crossett Brook Middle Schools during the same time period. Classes were taught by our dedicated G7 staff, and students would learn the art of balancing their academic course load with the demands of intensive ski training.
Today, under the leadership of Grif Edwards, the program continues to attract local student-athletes as well as those from further afield who are looking to experience a taste of academy life. The G7s are fully immersed in the GMVS community, including working directly with older students who act as peer tutors or mentors during student life programming. The curriculum is now different in all subjects and includes a 6-8 week STEM course taught by Eddie Merma of Sculpture School. The G7 program now culminates with a community-based STEM project and a GMVS version of TED Talks which keep students focused on an end goal outside of qualifying for championship ski events in March.