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Caroline Fairchild-‘I Got There From Here’
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Monday, June 5, 2023
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Caroline Fairchild told her fellow Cutthroats Sunday afternoon to treasure their differences and their Cutthroat heritage.

“If my career has taught me anything it’s that differences can scare people,” said Fairchild, a former business reporter at Fortune Magazine. Have confidence what your differences can bring to others, she added.

Cotton seeds packed themselves into baseball-sized balls, rolling across the floor of the Sun Valley Pavilion as 48 graduating seniors walked through an archway made of blue and white lilacs and orange roses. Dark thunderclouds threatened, but bright sun shone through as the students took their first step into the next chapter of their lives.

The ceremony marked the conclusion of the 50th year of the private school. Former Hemingway Elementary School Principal Sam Hazard started what he dubbed the “Hap-Hazard Academy” in the basement of St. Thomas Episcopal Church with 30 students and three faculty members in 1973.

Today Sun Valley Community School is a pre-kindergarten through twelfth-grade school with 385 students and more than 100 faculty and staff. Its campus has grown to include a residential dorm for high-level ski racers, an Athletes’ Training Center and the Sagewillow Barn with soccer fields, trampolines and other training equipment.

Fairchild, a 2008 graduate of Sun Valley Community School, noted how her journey following Sun Valley Community School and Duke University had seen her work featured in such publications as The New York Times, CNN, CBS This Morning and Forbes.

Still, when she sat down to interview Melinda Gates, whom she called “one of the most impactful women in the world,” she found herself wondering why Gates would want to speak with a girl who grew up in a small town in Idaho. It turned out, Fairchild said, that she had read an article that Fairchild had written.

“How did I get there? I got there from here—Sun Valley Community School,” added Fairchild, now editor-in-chief of Education at Lean In.

Fairchild noted how Sun Valley Community School’s varied curriculum had forced to confront her fear of heights on the climbing wall and broadened her world through such experiences as snow camping.

“When you tell someone you grew up in Idaho, you don’t get a lot of follow-up questions,” she said. Some people may make small talk about potatoes. Others may confuse Idaho with Iowa.

“But growing up in Idaho is a central aspect to all of our identities,” she said.

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