Campus Life

Squaw Valley Academy Testimonials


Squaw Valley Academy can be an ideal college-preparatory school for students needing structure, support, and challenge. The following true stories and testimonials show academic, professional, and personal accomplishments of SVA alumni. Please contact the Academy to help locate a reference, parent, or alumnus/a in your area who may have had a need similar to yours.

Squaw Valley Academy was a perfect match for our son. When he was younger, he was able to adequately get by in school. As he got older, his lack of organizational skills and written expression began to wear on him and we saw a change in his personality. My husband and I began thinking that instead of trying to fit our son into a traditional school, we would start researching to find a school that fit our son’s unique learning style and his love for the outdoors. That is when we found Squaw Valley Academy. I truly believe our son is a success because of his three years at Squaw Valley Academy. He graduated in May 2011, a full year ahead of schedule and full of confidence. I cannot say enough about the positive influence SVA had on our son, and we are very proud of his accomplishments. He was accepted into eight (8) colleges and has decided to defer enrollment to Sierra Nevada College for the fall of 2012. He will be heading to New Zealand and Australia in the fall of 2011 to do volunteer work as part of his gap year experience.

Best Regards, Debra S.

We are grateful for the experience our son had during his time at Squaw Valley Academy. While he had his ups and downs, the faculty and staff were committed to working with him to help him focus on the values of the opportunities at school. The friendships he made with students and staff continue to be important to him. The experiences he had balancing his academic work with a variety of sports and travel, were part of learning about keeping his life in balance. As he progresses through his post-secondary education, I think he is recognizing the value of these experiences even more. I know it will be two years which he will always remember. Thanks to SVA for your help in meeting his needs for a productive high school experience.

Sincerely, Jack & Elizabeth C.

Squaw Valley Academy provided our family with an excellent college preparatory education for our child, which helped him to be successful at the post-secondary level. The small class sizes and individual attention offered to our child at SVA allowed him to excel academically. SVA is the type of academic community in which our child was not able to “slip through the cracks” as he was in his large public high school. The college preparatory education our child received at SVA was highly effective, and the night time study halls proctored by SVA teachers helped our son take accountability for his academic performance. College preparatory academics combined with daily athletics such as skiing and snowboarding made Squaw Valley Academy the perfect California boarding school for our son. In addition, boarding school allowed him to become an independent young man prepared with the necessary skills for college. In our experience, SVA was a perfect fit for our child.

Best Regards, Elena V.

After my stay at Squaw Valley Academy, I returned to my home country of Norway and worked with multi-handicapped children at one of the regional hospitals. I returned to Lake Tahoe and attended Sierra Nevada College and decided to enroll at the University of San Francisco for my third college year. During my time at SVA, I noticed a lot of people drinking bottled water when they came up to Squaw Valley. That experience sparked an idea. During my stay in San Francisco, the idea became more and more of a reality. I decided to leave USF and start my water business full-time. The company I started was Voss Water ASA. Today, I am the third largest owner in the company, but I left as an employee in 2002 and went into the family business, Harlem Food AG, where I am CEO. I would like to use this opportunity to thank all of you for making my time at SVA the greatest time in my life.

Warmest Regards, Christopher Harlem CEO, Harlem Foods AG

Being at SVA was one of the best experiences I’ve had in life. Besides the great education, friendly people, and fantastic sport opportunities, I was able to follow my passion of snowboarding. I became a professional snowboarder after I left SVA and studied medicine next to my sports career. I have started a global company which helps the progression of all sorts of freestyle sports by learning tricks in a safe environment that we call a “BagJump”; You can even see our products in the Lake Tahoe area at Boreal Mountain Resort and at the Red Bull Pro-Training events at Squaw Valley. SVA was great! I wish I could do it all again!

Sincerely, Martin Rasinger CEO, BagJump Action Sports

The benefits of my experience at the Academy can be summed up as preparatory. Upon my graduation in 1981, I enrolled in Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. My early college experience would not have been the same if I had not attended SVA. I was used to being on my own, living away from my family, and being responsible for myself and my studies. Southern Methodist wasn’t much different from being at the Academy; just more people. I was prepared for my college experience. After four years at SMU, I graduated with a BFA in Broadcast, Film and Television with an emphasis in audio production. I’ve been in that field pretty much ever since, and now live in Los Angeles. Over the last twenty-five plus years, I’ve worked on dozens of feature films and hundreds of episodes of network television. Currently, I am the Production Sound Mixer on the Fox Television show “Glee”. In 2010, I was honored with an Emmy Award for my work as Production mixer and was nominated again for the 2011 Emmy Awards. I’m proud to be an SVA Alumni!

Best Regards, Phillip Palmer

ISES, Inc. has been placing students at Squaw Valley Academy for several years. The school’s Administration has been extremely helpful, expediting decisions, and providing personalized attention for our students from their first inquiry and throughout the entire application process. Squaw Valley Academy has a very supportive, nourishing environment where our students not only prosper academically, but also achieve personal triumphs. We are pleased to have SVA as an option for our international students.

Squaw Valley Academy has a very strong ESL program to fit the needs of international students with different English levels. The teachers and staff members are very caring. I have also enjoyed working with SVA’s Admission’s Director, Adrienne Forbes over the past couple of years. Mrs. Forbes worked very efficiently and professionally when handling my students’ cases.

Bingguang Li, Ph.D. ECO, Bingguang Li Education Center, LLC

I filled several different roles in my four years at SVA, and those roles allowed me to observe the school, students, and staff; each from a new perspective. The small classes and dedicated faculty do an excellent job of providing a greater level of attention to individual student needs. Given that SVA is an international boarding school, these needs vary from student to student, and I have seen faculty handle these needs with ease and enthusiasm. SVA is never idle in its continuous pursuit to grow and strive for excellence.

Sincerely, Allison Krohn

“ Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. ”

– Albert Einstein