Freshman class for the real world | VailDaily.com
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Freshman class for the real world

Cindy Ramunno

Make no mistake – this isn’t “study hall.”

This class, required by freshman this year, was added to the Eagle Valley roster by Principal Nelson Gould. Veteran social studies teacher Eric Mandeville and rookie Ron Beard will be leading the class, with Beard teaching five periods and Mandeville two.

Such classes, with names like Survival Basics, are catching the eyes of many college students.



Real-world skills are said to be needed by many employers, too, even those in this valley. It is frustrating to have potential candidates for a position with terrific resumes and stellar grades, employers say, yet with no idea how to interview or speak directly to an employer. Everyday skills needed for employment – skills not listed in employee handbooks – can be missing from an otherwise perfect candidate’s experience.

Eagle Valley’s Freshman Study Skills is largely based on the book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens,” by Sean Covey.



Covey is a former college football player, as well as the son of author and leadership guru Stephen R. Covey, author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”

The habits create a framework for teens to set and achieve their short- and long-term goals.

“Everyone can set and talk about goals, but we believe that the “Seven Habits’ program will give kids a very clear road map and a plan,” says Beard. “My personal goal is to help every kid develop these positive habits to achieve lifelong success.”



An enduring theme of “Seven Habits” is principle-centered living. Mandeville makes clear the distinction between teaching “morals vs. principles.” Principles, unlike morals, are unchanging and make no political, religious or social statements, he says.

“I think this is an extremely important class,” adds Mandeville. “Principles, such as honesty, integrity and hard work, will never go out of style.”

Another class topic is study skills. The teaching duo will be helping every student develop the proper tools necessary for success in academics, such as note-taking, reading strategy, research techniques, active listening and using daily and weekly planners.

“I have had many bright students who earn high grades tell me that they are apprehensive about college because they don’t have confidence in their study skills,” said Mandeville. “Our aim is to ease that apprehension and give these kids more confidence.”

“Being a freshman can be very overwhelming,” adds Beard.

Mandeville says he and Beard strongly believe every student possesses a skill or talent.

“We want to help the student realize his or her full potential,” Mandeville says.

Teen leadership and character education are another two topics. Students will get experience in public speaking, as well as creating and executing service projects. The character portion is based on the six pillars of character – trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

“Citizenship is where the service projects come in to play,” says Beard. “Kids need to have a larger focus than themselves. The world needs great leaders with vision and ideas – and who is to say that they can’t come from Eagle Valley High School?”

“We are so fortunate to have a leader, such as Principal Gould, who feels strongly about what we are doing with this class,” Mandeville adds. “By giving us the opportunity to implement this program, he is sending a clear message to students that while there are high expectations of them, they are valued and can achieve.”

For more information on Freshman Study Skills, call Mandeville or Beard at 328-8960.


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