Educating Elite Athletes


In the aftermath of the 2012 Olympics, “the stories” of a few, carefully selected athletes will dominate our memories of the event.  Yet, in all but a few cases the details of their education were not part of these stories, despite the fact that most athletes are of school or college age.  Read More»

Learning by doing


There are moments in our lives that make an indelible mark on who we are and who we become. For me, the realization that education is a gift  – from our families, our communities, our institutions, and our government – and with that comes obligation, occurred in Soweto, a township in South Africa.  Soweto is famous for the role of its school children in ending apartheid in South Africa.  The students walked out of their classrooms on June 16, 1976 to protest the government decree that the exams in mathematics, arithmetic, and social studies in black schools would be in Afrikaans, the language of the white population, instead of in English, the language of education prior to then.  The students came out of their high school singing and dancing.  They were waving their arms in the air when they encountered the tear gas and bullets of the Afrikaner police.  Hector Pieterson was the first boy killed.  The students stopped, registered what had happened, and then a remarkable thing happened.  They kept going, singing louder and stomping their feet harder in dance moves, more determined than before. Their maturity and their willingness to take action when the adults had been cowed, stunned the world, and the South African adults who had been complacent about their own role in maintaining a system of apartheid.   These students changed the world that day.  And they did so because they wanted to learn and  they wanted to take their annual exams in a language that they understood so they would get credit.  Their belief in education humbled me when I visited the site. Read More»

The Significance of Sophomore Year for College Admissions


Sophomore year is one of the most significant in the college admissions process for high school students, but it is often dismissed by students and parents alike who think it is “just sophomore year.”  Students are just coming out of their freshmen year, and they are still adjusting to high school.  College is the last thing they want to think about.  In a cover article in the San Francisco Chronicle, “The Great Admissions Race,”  August 10, 2003,  I was quoted as saying, “Often times, kids are immature at 15 or 16,” says Walker-Moffat. “There’s a lot of denial. They don’t want to look into the future. … I try to tell them that what they do now matters to their future, but at the same time, I try to get rid of the fear that they’re not going to be good enough.”

The Olympic Valley Academy provides a non-threatening and fun way to provide all students with opportunities to augment their GPA, to gain solid knowledge in fundamental courses that will serve them a lifetime, and to take advantage of the unique circumstances surrounding them.   It is these three steps that will increase the choices of colleges, the scholarships offered regardless of income, and help to connect natural curiosity with a love of learning.

I use the University of California requirements for admission as my gold standard because if high school students meet those, they can go anywhere in the world.   The University of California only looks at the courses studied and the grades from Sophomore year and Junior year.  And while the admissions officers will look at activities from Senior year, if the student has not been involved in those activities or similar ones at least since Junior year, and preferably since Sophomore year, they are not given a great deal of weight in the ultimate admissions decision as to whether the student is accepted or rejected.