Randi Pyper is a Waterford Parent Ambassador and the mother of three. Her daughter, a Waterford graduate (Class of 2012) currently attends Bucknell University and her two sons are in grade 10 and grade 12. Randi has served on multiple Waterford volunteer committees, including Annual Fund, Book Fair and Auction.
How did you choose Waterford?
We were living in Sydney, Australia at the time and in the process of moving to Utah. We knew that we wanted to look for the best school first and then decide where to live. So we looked online and found a few private schools. We asked my mother-in-law who was a first grade teacher for years to help with the evaluation. She helped us review the curriculum and each school’s mission and we really liked the fact that Waterford not only provided great academics, but the arts — visual arts, music, theater and dance. Since we were overseas, we didn’t even visit the school! But when we came for our interview we knew that Waterford was the right choice.
What was your first impression of Waterford?
Compared to the Australian and British school systems my children attended before we came back to the U.S. I really noticed what a warm and welcoming environment we found at Waterford. It was much more nurturing and relaxed that what my children had experienced abroad.
How would you describe the Waterford Community?
Right away I noticed that the community was full of families who cared deeply about their childrens’ education and their overall well-being. We arrived in the middle of the school year and they reached out to us immediately, so my first impression was excellent. The parents I met were so welcoming. It is nice to be among other parents who parent the way that you do, who value education, and are raising kids who are good citizens. Also, the Waterford parent community is a group of really interesting, educated people. Many have come from other other states or other countries and have led very interesting lives.
Can you speak about the diversity of the Waterford Community?
I was worried before we arrived that there wouldn’t be much diversity here in Utah, but our experience has been great. It was a bigger concern for me as a parent than it was for my kids. They have made friends from many different backgrounds and the bottom line is that they are all great kids.
What has impressed you the most about Waterford’s academic program?
I think that the academics here at Waterford are really challenging, but I think that kids need to be challenged. I think they can definitely rise to the occasion. They won’t be coddled in the real world so I think it is good for them to be pushed and to recognize what challenges they can meet.
What unique experiences or opportunities have your kids had here at Waterford?
For my daughter, the dance and theater programs have been her passion. I don’t think she could have found a better theater program, based in the classics. She was so comfortable here at Waterford that it made it easy for her to take risks and try new things. Now she is in the theater department at Bucknell and it is obvious that she had a great base. I am not sure if she would have ever tried theater at a bigger high school.
Also, Estie had a great experience in Waterford’s amazing photography department and now she is a photographer for the Bucknell newspaper.
Why do you give time as a volunteer?
I love getting to know the other parents, the faculty and my kids’ friends.
Describe the college admissions process.
Since the end of eighth grade, my daughter was thinking about college. She did a lot of the research herself, and she knew that she wanted to find a college that was similar in size to Waterford. She loved the one-on-one interaction with the Waterford faculty and wanted to go to a school where she would have the same kind of experience.
Now that she is at Bucknell, she has commented that she feels that she is very prepared. She has a lot of friends that struggle with the workload, but she feels really confident. She feels like Bucknell is the perfect school for her.
How did the Waterford experience prepare your daughter for managing her workload at college?
Here at Waterford she was involved many activities, but she was also a very dedicated student. She would often get home from a Theater or Dance rehearsal at 8 p.m., eat dinner, and then begin her homework, but she always got it done. That carries through now that she is at college. She is good at time management and she knows that if she works hard, she can be successful.
What are some of your favorite things about the Waterford campus?
I enjoy walking through the Fine Arts building and hearing music coming from classrooms and seeing dancers and actors in the hallways. I love the constant commotion in that building. But also, on the opposite end of the spectrum, I love to walk across the campus — particularly through the arboretum. It is so beautiful and so peaceful.
Your boys have been very involved in Waterford athletics. Describe that experience.
Athletics have been a big part of our lives. And along the same lines that Waterford enabled by daughter to feel comfortable trying dance or theater, Waterford has allowed my boys to feel safe trying out for the basketball team or the crew or lacrosse teams. They know that they will have many opportunities to try different things without the fear of failure.
If I had to describe Waterford I would use three words: nurturing, safe and academic. I love the fact that the kids can approach their teachers at any time with questions or concerns, and the teachers are so available. They truly care about their students and they know each of them beyond the classroom. I have heard this from many of the teachers here as well. They consider their students to be part of their family.