Wasatch students showing up for classes, year’s theme is ‘belonging’

Students at Wasatch Academy engaged in activities both in and out of the classroom on the first day of classes last week.

Wasatch Academy welcomed students from 25 different countries and 30 states back to campus for in-person learning last week. There are around 30 students from right here in Sanpete County too. 

Matt Culberson will start his second year as Head of School but he is no stranger to education. With over 30 years of formal education under his belt, he started on the East Coast and has slowly made his way west. 

Not an official theme of the year, but Culberson said the school is focusing on belonging. 

“We are a quite diverse school, diverse in ethnicity, culture, geography, learning style, politics, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, thought and experience, and even as a welcoming environment,” said Culberson. “We believe there is intentional work for us to do for individuals, staff and students, to feel they belong to our community.”

It has been a welcome sight this past week having students back on campus in person. The enrollment this year is strong and higher than anticipated. 

Last year students were taught synchronously in 19 different time zones. Even with that 80 percent of the students were on campus learning, but this year they are fully in-person. There are still a few students who have had challenges traveling for the start of school, but they are expected to be on campus by the end of September.

Also joining the academy are two new faculty members. Kyle Quales moved to Wasatch Academy from Maine and will be joining their music program and Patrick Nueali will be teaching engineering classes. 

All the teachers are committed to helping students discover who they are and what they are passionate about to guide their growth. 

Wasatch Academy’s director of Institutional Advancement, Kerry Bedell, said that their campus is truly a place where everyone belongs. 

“Students, faculty, staff and families are appreciated for who they are as individuals,” Bedell said. “Collectively it is a really special community. It is a place where you get to know people from all over the world and students from Utah are able to share our state with them.” 

Culberson says that one of the greatest strengths at Wasatch Academy is the deep care they have for each individual student and how they differentiate teaching and learning to each student. They provide an educational experience that prepares them for college, work and an engaging life in global society. 

“We have an outstanding staff and faculty who hold as their prima facie duty, that every student has an extraordinary experience every day,” said Culberson. “They work hard to make that happen in an equitable and inclusive environment that embraces each student how they identify as a human being.”