An Alumni’s Perspective

Growing up I had a good life. I loved my family, had good friends, and I was a good child overall. As I approached my teens that all began to change. For some reason, I felt I had to rebel in order to live up to the reputation of “Generation X”.

Over the next few years I became unruly and uncontrollable. At the age of fifteen, after multiple failed short-term placements, my parents decided it was time to take serious action. On February 13, 1997, I was sent to Spring Ridge Academy in Spring Valley, Arizona. From then on, my life would never be the same.

I arrived at Spring Ridge Academy late on a Thursday night. It was cold as I walked up the steps of the school I would soon call home. In my baggy jeans and sweatshirt, I entered the house that had been converted into a dormitory, kitchen, dining room, and school all in one. The first few weeks there were strange ones. I met other girls from all over the country who had problems and issues in their lives similar to mine. These weeks turned into months, months that changed my life forever. – Excerpted from Kate’s College Essay

February 2016 marks the 19th Anniversary of my arrival at Spring Ridge Academy. 19 years later I am the Admissions Director. Has the path from my graduation day until now been an easy one? Absolutely not. There have been mistakes and hard times. With milestones and rites of passage, old trauma would resurface. This, however, is life. Change is the only constant.

There were certainly times I reverted to old patterns. But I was not the old Kate. Spring Ridge Academy gave me a firm and unyielding understanding of the person I am and who I want to be. Spring Ridge helped me understand that the past only dictates my future if I allow it. There is an awareness in my life, not present before, which allows me to quickly recognize when things are headed off track, with both myself and those around me. There is then choice – the choice to stop, assess and take action.

You see, Spring Ridge offered me many things – self confidence, insight, relationship with family, friendship I had never known, academic success and therapeutic healing. The most significant gifts I received were the understanding of accountability and choice.

As I have remained true to myself, these gifts have never wavered. They have allowed me to live a life of integrity and honor. This does not mean I have never made mistakes, never needed to apologize. This means that I am free – free of resentment, free from past hurt, free from crippling fear of the future.

When I rely on accountability and choice I am present and whole. I allow people to assist me. I meet and exceed my goals. While Spring Ridge has grown and become better as the world around it has changed, it has remained true to those fundamental gifts. They will free your daughter and your family if you simply let them. I will be forever grateful for Spring Ridge and am blessed beyond words that today I am able to assist other families in finding healing.