In 1979, working as a janitor after graduating from high school in Denver, I had an epiphany one day while eating lunch in my janitor’s closet: “I need college!” Having been a thoroughly disengaged student to that point, I hoped to find a school that could inspire, guide, and help me find my passions (as well as accept my poor high school transcripts). CMC to my rescue!
I loved the mountains and skiing so enrolled in a ski conditioning class.
Day One: Instructor Roger Paris (pronounced Rogeé Pareé) rides up on his ten-speed bike, sporting a Speedo and running shoes, to the waiting 15 or 20 students. “Dis is zee ski condition class and we get in shape for zee ski— follow me.” We ran five miles, off-trail, in the hills surrounding campus.
Day 2: Six or seven students wait for Mr Paris. “Okay, we have weed out zee slow one, today we really go- follow me.” At mile ten, struggling to keep up with the French Apparition, I knew I had found my inspiration. The next two years were filled with chasing Roger, deciphering algebra, acting in theater productions, and learning to love to learn. Graduating from the then two-year junior college program, I went on to Fort Lewis College, in Durango, to complete a Business Administration Bachelor’s Degree with a finance minor, graduating cum laude.
Thirty-seven years later, with many years of US Kayak Team memberships, three National Champ titles, and several sales and marketing jobs in my wake, I find myself as an entrepreneur with several successful businesses, living in a great community, with a wonderful wife and family, and friendships that extend back decades. Most importantly, I’m still inspired. Inspiration that was sparked in those first days at Colorado Mountain College. CMC not only changed my life, it made my life. Thanks CMC!
Listen to the Radio CMC interview with Andy’s mentor/tormentor Roger Paris and current Outdoor Education Faculty Johann Aberger: