Annabelle’s favorite thing about Waterford: 

“Waterford is a unique environment where students, teachers and all members of the community strive to learn and progress together. Goals become more attainable with the support of the people at Waterford.” -- Annabelle Q. ’23

Annabelle grew up in Guangzhou, China, near Hong Kong. She came to Waterford three years ago, in Class VIII, and has since played soccer, lacrosse and basketball. Last year, she finally decided to try crew. And she LOVED it. 

The Waterford Rowing Team is unique in that it needs a very specific environment for full practices. In the fall and spring, her team practices for three hours after school every day of the week, often on rowing machines wheeled out of the 800 building onto the quad, but getting out on the water is where they can really hone their skills. Waterford has the resources for impressive programs like the rowing program that allow students to move outside of their comfort zone and try new things and find new passions.

“School can be stressful, as well as COVID - and Waterford’s academics are rigorous. When I row, it’s something that gives me control and peace, and that helps me in all areas of life. There’s just something about being out on the water - it’s so beautiful and peaceful. When you’re rowing, you forget about everything else. Even when you’re doing hard workouts, it’s amazing because you can feel yourself getting stronger and better.” - Annabelle Q.

Annabelle says the best part about her team is the dynamic—the coaching staff is incredible, and her teammates are passionate and talented. She loves that the sport is about being together, trusting each other, and accomplishing a goal together. 

Interesting Facts about the Crew program at Waterford - 

  • The Crew program is one of only two in the state (the other is a club team, Utah Crew) . 

  • The team travels far to find teams to compete against; In the last two years, they have traveled or will travel to Las Vegas, Oklahoma, Portland, and Massachusetts. 

  • The Crew Coach Micah Boyd has led the team since 2020, and he qualified for the eight-man rowing competition of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, competing for the United States.

  • Waterford Crew rows on the Jordan River Surplus Canal and the Great Salt Lake.


Upper School Robotics

Waterford Robotics is an important program that enables us to test and develop students' ability to apply to practical engineering challenges theory learned in the classroom. The Robotics Program and curriculum require supplies and space, and to support the students with updated fabrication tools, design tools, computing power, and appropriate tools, requires significant annual investment. 

The technology field changes fast and it is exciting what is now available to put in student hands. Some parts and tools emerging over recent years include brushless motors, advanced design software, highly capable sensors, on-board miniature computers, and control system software. In addition are sophisticated tools now in financial reach such as laser cutters, CNC machines, and 3D printers. Amazing technologies and opportunities for our students and ones that resources make possible at Waterford.

Waterford students are known in our region for designing and building highly capable robots. We have qualified for the World Championship more often than any other Utah-based program.  We pride ourselves in partnering with teams within our region to advance knowledge and skills beyond our campus. Further, we are proud  of our numerous alumni who have gone on to earn advanced technical degrees; many are now in the forefront of tech-related endeavors and some are even starting their own companies! 


Leo’s favorite thing about Waterford: 

“Climbing relieves stress and is a relaxing part of my day. Waterford has one of the best outdoor programs. Chris Watkins has been doing this for a long time, and he gets really creative with his trips. Students have gone to Alaska, Greenland, Zions, and so many great places. He’s led eight day trips where you plane in, it’s incredible.” -- Leo S. ’23

Leo and his family are committed to exploring the outdoors. He started climbing with his dad when they were visiting Lake Powell, and a friend of his encouraged him to get more involved with it during Class IX in Upper School here at Waterford. Joining the Outdoor program gave him even more reasons to explore the outdoors. He has enjoyed the outdoor trips that Chris Watkins organizes, including trips to Zion National Park, and a trip to the Uintas that a small group of students participated in last year. 

During the pandemic, he encouraged other family members to get more involved with climbing, and took that even further on returning to school during his Junior year by working with faculty member Priscilla Stewart to create a climbing club that meets twice a week after school. He emailed students, asking if anyone wanted to join, saying that it would be a fun and safe after-school activity. 35 students signed up for the club, and depending on the week there can be up to 10 students climbing together after school. 

Leo has also been playing soccer since Class VI, has worked as a camp counselor at the Waterford School summer camps, and is a Waterford “lifer,” having started school at Waterford in Kindergarten. Having the opportunity to be part of the Outdoor Program has been transformative though, and it’s the generosity afforded by parents and Waterford community members that allow for robust programs such as this.

Interesting Facts about the

  • The Winter Term Outdoor Program allows students to book almost XX hours of outdoor education. 

  • There is about 60 hours of both on and off-campus class time each term in the Outdoor Program. For students who are in the Outdoor Program year round, that’s a minimum of 180 hours of Outdoor class time each school year. 

  • In the last two years, students have made trips with Waterford’s Outdoor Program to Zion National Park, Colorado, the coast of Washington State, and Alaska.


Mr. Gustafsson

Waterford began investing in Chess at Waterford when Kristin South, a former Waterford parent and faculty member, started an after school program for Classes III, IV and V. There is high value in the game for young learners, and many educators assert that the game of chess helps young people learn to concentrate, think logically, overcome obstacles, spot patterns and categorize information. It helps with the development of problem-solving skills, planning, patience, focus of thought and self-discipline. A scholastic chess club provides a challenge for students while helping build confidence and self-esteem. Having the ability to add impressive programs that support Waterford’s mission is possible because of the generosity of our community.

In Waterford’s Lower School, Classes I-IV begin learning basic rules of Chess from Mr. Gustafsson, one of Utah’s top chess players and candidate master, who teaches Waterford students both during school and through our after school clubs. His ranking is impressive, with very few other candidate masters in Utah—according to the United States Chess Federation, there are only five expert candidate masters in our state. Mr. Gustafsson began playing chess himself when he was fourteen years old and climbed the ranks quickly due to his love of the game. He has taught lessons privately, as well as after school programs for many schools in Utah before teaching Chess at Waterford full time. 

Students play against their classmates while they are being observed to receive immediate feedback, so they can review and reinforce their knowledge of the basic rules. Students then move on to focus on their winning technique; how to finish a game in a won position. In class, they are shown numerous examples and then practice this technique when they play against their classmates. Students are becoming familiarized with these winning techniques and are beginning to learn how to get an advantage in the middle of the game. Additionally, students have a lot of fun playing and socializing with their peers.

Interesting Facts about the Chess program at Waterford - 

  • Chess is proven to improve memory, enhance reading skills, develop planning and foresight, improve problem-solving skills, and promote creativity.  

  • Class I-IV students have consistent Chess instruction time throughout the year.


Thank you again for your generosity. Waterford School continues to offer amazing programs because of the support of the community, especially parents! 

All gifts to Waterford School are tax-deductible as charitable contributions. Waterford is a not-for-profit organization and is exempt from federal tax under section 501(c) (3) of the IRS Code. Please reach out to the Development Office with any questions or to learn more about the Waterford Fund.