Rotary Club Student of the Month

Mountain Connection, December 13, 2021

Eliza Bodden ’22 received the Rotary Club Student of the Month Award. Read her nomination letter from Kaiti Kinshella below.

To whom it may concern,

I have had the pleasure of teaching Eliza Spanish 2 and 3, traveling with her on a month-long school trip to the western United States, and going on various outdoor excursions with her throughout her two and a half years at Steamboat Mountain School. Eliza can be described as nothing less than extraordinary. She is one of the kindest, most helpful, and academically committed students attending Steamboat Mountain School. Whether she is in the classroom or in the real world, you can always count on Eliza to be extremely intellectual, care for others, and add joy to every little moment. 

In my Spanish classes, Eliza dove right into every single topic we were learning with vigor, curiosity, and thoughtfulness. Anytime a question was asked, whether it be in regards to culture, grammar, or vocabulary, Eliza’s hand undoubtedly shot up into the air. As a teacher, I had to actively resist calling on her all the time. I knew that her answer would be correct, backed by evidence, and detailed, so it was hard to hold back from providing her insight to the other students. She genuinely loves to learn. This passion comes through in her constant presence and willingness to contribute, and is backed up by her stellar performance on all assessments: she consistently scores at the top of her class. 

Some people who demonstrate high levels of intelligence lack the emotion to balance themselves out. For Eliza, this is not so. She is one of the most caring people you will ever meet. She is the rare teenager who actually asks you questions about yourself and really wants to know the answer. Furthermore, she contributes selflessly to our community. Most recently, our school was tasked with creating a Christmas tree as a community service project for a local museum. Eliza naturally took the lead by coming up with a theme, directing students to design ornaments, and wrapping up the uncompleted tasks and cleanup when all the other students were long gone. This is just one example of the many ways Eliza takes care of both our school community and the greater Steamboat community.

Eliza is a triple threat, as she doesn’t just have brains and a heart, but also a fun-loving and playful attitude surrounding everything she does. I can always count on Eliza to be positive, even if she is suffering on the inside. For example, this past year I took her on a backpacking trip to Bears Ears National Monument for a week. She had never backpacked for that long of a distance nor time period before, and outdoor sports are certainly not Eliza’s favorite activity. On top of that, the trip ended up being extremely difficult for everyone, as there was not enough water in the canyon to sustain us, and we ended up having to increase our mileage significantly each day in order to find water. In spite of these challenges, Eliza was able to keep her spirits high and lift up the rest of the group in the process. She would often strike up conversation with others, joke, play games, and sing in order to keep everyone going. Whenever I go on expeditions, I want someone like Eliza around to keep me motivated and positive when the going gets tough.

Eliza’s combined intellectual prowess, caring heart, and joy causes her to lead the way for others at Steamboat Mountain School. She is an undeniable asset to any community, and for this reason I would like to nominate her for the Student of the Month Award.


All the best,
Kaiti Kinshella
Academic Dean