Behind The Enemy Lines

Behind The Enemy Lines

Mae Bryant, Journalist


      I find it interesting that as human beings we dream constantly of something beyond our reality. Something grander or bigger, shinier and more spectacular than what we  already have. However,when other people have achieved the thing we dream of, we cast them down with resentment. Probably with bitterness that they are in possession of the ‘greener grass’ we long for in our daydreams. I don’t think it’s impossible to say this is the position of Valor Christan High School. We’ve all driven past the college campus appearing facade of Valor and all had a reaction of scoff or longing. Though I may be inclined to say I’ve never wanted to go to Valor that would be a lie. I mean, wouldn’t it just be a little nice if I could go? However, as if going against my built up cynicism, I had the opportunity to become a Valor student myself. At least for one day. Imagine spending a school day as the rich kid you always scoff at. Funnily enough this chance arose more or less as a joke. Upon chatting with a friend who attends Valor, it was brought up how easy a shadow day can be scheduled. So I said why not? A couple weeks later on October 23rd, my shadow day arrived and I entered with a mission to either confirm the stereotypes of Valor or debunk them.

      It may be important to note that I was shadowing my best friend. She is registered as a shadow leader and there was no hesitation in my requesting her. 

Valor Christian High School Profile (2020-21) | Littleton, CO

      On the morning of my shadow day my best friend wasted no time before the first class. She enthusiastically introduced me to her favorite teachers and enlightened me to any unwritten social rules. For instance upon walking into the vaulted, grand, wood beamed library (Which reminded of that in Beauty and the Beast) My shadow leader pointed out, “This is where all the popular kids hangout”, again emphasizing the stereotype , “Look! Everyone who’s in here is popular.” We circled the Academic building while two things struck me. First off, all the floors are carpeted and second, even with Covid the hallways are packed. Just like how Arapahoe used to be. Friends talking and leaning against their lockers, messing around. I had forgotten what that looked like. 

     Valor’s first bell, which is a literal bell in a tower, rings at 8:10, just a tad before Arapahoe but believe me it makes a difference. The first class I was taken to was Humanities. (A mix of history and theology/bible.) Every wall was decorated with small paintings and quotes, creating  an abeyance that made the class somehow more bearable to sit through. The teacher was a man named Dr. D. He describes himself as a ‘peaceful hobbit’ and says “I digress”,  many times. He was light hearted and kind but only called me ‘The shadow.’ Which I quickly learned was to practically be my name that day.  

 Next period was honors chemistry. As you can assume the classroom was equipped with top-notch scientific supplies and labs. But I’ll be honest, it was a very dull class to sit through. However it was at this point I began to notice something that would later reveal itself as a pattern. I was surprised by the participation level of every student. With each question asked almost everyone raised their hand. I thought to myself, “Geez are all these kids geniuses?”  Everyone appeared excited to learn and ready to be there. Which was an attitude that went against my understanding of how highschoolers can be most of the time. The thing that stood out to me most was, at the end of chemistry the teacher had

Photo by @virginaskyephotography

us all stand on the desks and sing a song called ‘Oh Chemistry,’ at the top of our lungs.

     As 3rd period History passed into 4th period French class I began to take note of some more recurring things. Each classroom was an almost a picturesque ideal of how a movie might portray highschool. Tall numerous windows, livly decorated walls and large white boards. Another pattern which proved consistent throughout the day was the atmosphere of each class. Remember last year at Arapahoe, or really any other year, remember how each period had that one class clown, or you sat next to those certain people who always messed around. Remember when there was a general feeling of fluidity among your peers in class? That element, that masks and social distancing have taken. However Valor has somehow maintained that special piece of highschool, which honestly is the reason I want to stay at  Arapahoe in person. 

     Now it would be deceptive if I were to paint a flawless image of Valor. You see another pattern emerged. Let’s just say kids weren’t too responsible with keeping their masks on. It might horrify some of you to know most kids didn’t bother to wear their mask above their nose. Even more horrifying, no teachers called out any of these habits! I can’t throw everyone under the bus, but it was a consistent theme. 

     I kept in mind many questions which I had whilst going through the shadow day. In history class I was strangely reunited with an old elementary school friend, his name is Zac Brooks. From the brief conversation we had I took away two things which I think capture much of the unseen spirit of Valor. Zac told me one, “It’s not as rich of a school as it seems”, and secondly, “We don’t recruit.”

     In French I was met with a pleasant surprise. I saw none other than the cheery smiling face of Avery Lang, an Arapahoe student last year. She has transferred to Valor and it was amazing to catch up with how she’s been adapting to Valor. (She likes it very much). 

     Now I come to the peak of my Valor experience, lunch. There is only one way in which I can think to describe the cafeteria that I found myself in, (especially when compared to our own). It’s the Hogwarts great hall of all highschool cafeterias. The ceiling is rounded with massive wooden beams which come into three triangular points. There’s tall glass windows which frame a hill top view of the outside world. And each meal the cafeteria serves something new and hot. On that day it was some sort of jambalaya. The specialness of even a thing so average

Valor Christian High School Profile (2020-21) | Littleton, CO

as their lunch seemed overwhelming to me, but maybe that was just my small outsider perspective. My best friend once again wasted no time and after eating we began the journey of me meeting everyone I could. As we travelled the campus and circulated the arts building I noticed the landscape of laid back attitudes each friend group had. Instead of eating in the ‘Great Hall’ most choose some random hallway or corner to eat in which consequently added an inclusive warm feeling to the school. 

     Though nearly at the end of the day, before Valor was done with me, it had to show off a few more surprises. My shadow leader quickly led me to all of the arts rooms. It’s like they indulged in every fantasy an artist of any field could dream up. The perfect atmosphere, the perfect equipment. It felt like a carnival man advertising, “Give me any career, any, and I will offer you the best of the best. Don’t believe me? How about T.V production? We’ve got a whole studio for that! (Complete with a news broadcasting set) Graphic design? I have an entire wing of the building decorated and stocked with things that will take your creativity beyond the moon!” (Once again the ambiance was that of a professional graphic design studio.) In short I could roam endless hours in Valors class rooms, even through the spaces made for subjects I couldn’t care less about. 

Photo by @virginaskyephotography out television production? 


      Being at Valor didn’t answer my questions, only fueled them with more opposing ideas and images of what it’s ‘really like’. However, one voice of balance between all the stigma came from Sarah Simphson. She’s a sophomore who gave some words of wisdom on the matter when I asked her what she would tell us Arapahoe students. “I would just say like yes, there are a lot of kids at Valor who are rude and full of it, but for the most part everybody’s really nice so I would say maybe don’t judge too quickly,” she said. I think Sarah pretty much tied up the wandering opinions of Valor into a slogan for it’s students.

     This experience brought to mind one reigning question, why should these kids be presented with foundations of immense opportunities to an extent seemingly far greater than ours? Why? By the end of the day I had found my answer. While not everyone at Valor is a prodigy by any stretch of the imagination, the platforms and connections to people, students are presented with seems to kinder the spirit of each highschooler and incline them to push themselves academically, athletically and in the arts. For some students Valor may be the peak of their lives, but it seems like most of them are using their privilege to boost a future full of possibilities. And rather than seeing these things and thinking to yourselves, I’m hopeless because I don’t have the same access, move forward with a little glimpse into what amazing careers and futures which await anyone, (I mean anyone) who searches a little, and taps into the potential they have. So rather than dreaming lustfully for a different reality, I don’t think you don’t need to use not going to Valor as an excuse. Use it as a mile marker that you pass on the path of success you will surely achieve.