Spencer Cook (Cyclist and Prefect)

“I grew up in Chicago with limited access to the outdoors and wide-open spaces. The suburbs of Chicago were sort of confining. Blue Ridge was an opportunity to do much more than I could at home. My middle school years, when I went to public school, I didn’t really have much help. There was no personal connection. Here you can learn anything. In fact, beyond the classroom, I learned to camp, compete on a mountain bike, and head to the mountains to hike further than I had ever gone before. I discovered a love of chemistry and physics. And that has played a part in my reaching further and taking on more responsibilities. Here, class keeps going across campus even after the bell. For example, the dean of students teaches one of my classes and is also my mountain bike coach. Last week a teacher asked us if we wanted to cycle a hundred miles from Richmond to Jamestown and back – you don’t get the opportunity to do that every day. I feel like the sky’s the limit.”

Update: Spencer graduated in 2017 and is attending the University of Nebraska.