Q&A With An Alum

Director of Development and Alumni, Brian Smith connected with Noah Zedeck '16 a few weeks back for a Q&A.

Brian Smith (BS): What is your favorite Steamboat Mountain School memory?

Noah Zedeck (NZ): I have so many favorite memories at Steamboat Mountain School it’s honestly very hard to choose just one. I don’t think it’s often that a high school student actually enjoys and gets excited to go to school, but that is certainly something that I felt during each of my four years at SMS. I even chose to hang out at school during the weekends as I hosted my weekly Sunday basketball games. While the turnout wasn’t always so great, I have many fond memories of playing basketball with my friends in the gym every weekend and beating Mr. Morse in every one-on-one game that we played (don’t let him try to tell you otherwise).  I also really enjoyed going to a school where I had friends from all over the country and the world and hanging out with them in their dorm rooms after class.

BS: What lasting impact has Steamboat Mountain School had on your life since you graduated?

NZ: Steamboat Mountain School has had a profound impact on my life and character since I graduated. By far my most influential experiences at the school occurred during each of my trips through the Global Immersion Studies (GIS) program to India, Ecuador, Mongolia, and Tanzania. Steamboat is an incredible place to live and to grow up in, but it is also a small town that is not necessarily representative of the world beyond the picturesque mountains that surround it. In a word, these trips gave me perspective. I was exposed to people and cultures unlike anything I had ever imagined. Because of these trips, I have seen and done things that few people ever will in their lifetimes. I attribute much of my academic success to the education that I received in the classroom at SMS, but even more valuable than that is the knowledge I obtained through my experiences with my teachers and classmates on these yearly trips. I can tell you firsthand that living with a local family in Northern India, hiking through the Ecuadorian rainforest, cooking your dinner on the floor of your yurt in the middle of the Mongolian desert, and reading to underprivileged girls in rural Tanzania teaches you more than you could ever learn in a classroom.

BS: Give us an update! (family, career, location change, travels, anything you’d like to share).

NZ: After graduating from Steamboat Mountain School, I attended college at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated with a degree in Political Science. I am currently in law school at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Few lawyers will ever tell you that they enjoyed law school (or even practicing law for that matter), but I am learning a lot and am very happy with my decision to attend law school as I know that it will pay off. My sister also attended Steamboat Mountain School, where she started her own news program. She is now using the reporting skills she acquired there in her new job as a reporter for a local news station in Huntsville, Alabama. My parents are also doing well and will soon be moving to Tennessee near Nashville.

BS: What about your favorite Emerald memory?

NZ: My experiences at Emerald have also had a lasting impact on me. I think that my favorite memories are learning to play the violin. The strings program is so unique. I both commend and sympathize with my strings teacher for somehow managing to teach a group of kindergarteners how to play the violin, and I know that I did my fair share of complaining at the time. That said, by the time I graduated I was very proud of the work I had put in and how far I had come. I still have my violin, although I doubt anyone would want to hear me play it now. Losing that talent is something that I definitely regret, and I would urge others to stick with it.

BS: How did the programming at Emerald prepare you for SMS?

NZ: I was seven when I started my first year at Emerald, so I don’t have many memories of that year in particular. What I will say is that my transition from Emerald to SMS felt very natural. The curriculum at SMS is challenging, and I remember some of my classmates who came from other schools struggled in the beginning. Both Emerald and SMS are unique. They create an environment where students are challenged on a daily basis, but that also fosters a love of learning. Because most other schools are not like that, I can imagine it being a difficult transition. But it was something that I was ready for.

BS: Is there a question I didn’t ask that you’d like to share?

NZ: I would just like to give a shout-out to all of my teachers at Steamboat Mountain School. I still go back and visit the school every time I am in town, but I don’t go to see the students (because I am old now and do not know any of them). I go to see the teachers, who I consider my friends or, as Brian would say, my people.

Thank you Noah!

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