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Unique senior project for all around girl

Cindy Ramunno

During Lauren Utzig’s final semester at Vail Mountain School, she chose a senior project topic that was very close to her heart. Her topic: The developmental tasks which confront children who have lost a parent. Utzig lost her own mother at the very young age of 8, and is interested in pursuing a career in teaching and psychology.

The senior project at Vail Mountain School is intense. Seniors study an area of interest and write a 25 page paper as a result. Remind you of college? It’s supposed to. “We get the unique opportunity to complete a senior project,” says Utzig, whose topic is broken down into 3 sections. The first section outlines normal child development. The second section deals with how that development is curtailed once a parent dies and in the third and final section, Utzig describes her own personal experience.

In addition to Utzig’s interest in psychology, she is very comfortable around children. She has babysat since the 7th grade and still baby-sits about twice a month. “Kids react well to me and I love being around them ” they are so simple and honest,” says Utzig. She would like to be a teacher or maybe a school psychologist, but she’s not set on just the younger set. “I’m looking into elementary and secondary education,” states the senior.



Utzig served as Vail Mountain’s captain on the volleyball team and skied on the Alpine Team. She is also Special Olympics coach and has many friends at neighboring Battle Mountain High. At Vail Mountain, Mr. Schindel was a huge influence for Utzig. “Mr. Schindel is the teacher I go to when I need to talk ” I feel very comfortable talking with him,” explains Utzig. Her younger brother, Jake, 16, also attends the school.

After working this summer, Utzig is heading to the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. “I went to visit UNC with my dad and the minute I walked on campus, I knew it was the right school for me,” says Utzig, who met her new roommate during that same visit.



One of the many unique things about Vail Mountain is that the school students ages kindergarten through 12 grades. While walking through the halls, you see a classroom full of kinders and then seniors sitting in the library. It makes for a close-knit school community, and Utzig says she’ll miss that. She laughs at a recent memory, “I was in an important advisor’s meeting and a 2nd grader walked in and clung to my leg.” Yep…the kids love her.


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