Latest News – June 6

HMI Celebrates 15 Years, Says Goodbye to Barnes

This weekend High Mountain Institute (HMI), located just outside of Leadville, will mark its 15-Year Anniversary with a Celebration and . . . Farewell to the Founders, Christopher and Molly Barnes. If you haven’t heard by now, there’s a transition of sorts going on at HMI.

The Barnes (Molly, Christopher, Jack and Porter) are off to new adventures - this time by sea! Photo: Colorado College.

The Barnes (Molly, Christopher, Jack and Porter) are off to new adventures – this time by sea! Photo: Colorado College.

After dedicating 15 years of their life to educating young students from across the nation, Christopher and Molly are excited to embark on their own adventures with their two sons, Porter and Jack. In fact, the Barnes plan to sail around the world for the next several years!

HMI_signSo this weekend, June 7 – 9,  there are a variety of celebrations and memory sharing events planned for the more than 350 alumni and friends of the organization who plan to be in Leadville to mark HMI’s 15-year Anniversary and say goodbye to The Barnes.

Christopher and Molly Barnes have been Leadville residents since 1995, when they moved to Colorado and incorporated HMI as a 501(c) 3 non-profit. The school opened its doors in the fall of 1998 and has been drawing students to Leadville each semester from across the country every since.  The Barnes envisioned that HMI would be a defining experience in adolescent lives.  Now thriving, thanks to the dedicated efforts of many individuals and the vision and leadership of Christopher and Molly, HMI looks forward to the next evolution of the school.

And for the Barnes, the journey of a lifetime. BonVoyage and don’t forget to write! 

About High Mountain Institute

The High Mountain Institute (HMI) was founded in 1995 by Christopher and Molly Barnes, with a vision of combining traditional independent education with the best of wilderness education.

High Mountain Institute

High Mountain Institute

HMI opened its doors to the Rocky Mountain Semester (RMS I) in the fall of 1998 with 21 students. 

Fourteen years later, each HMI Semester is filled with 42 vibrant teenagers from across the country; each summer 20+ rising juniors and seniors join the HMI Summer Term; 10-12 middle school students participate annually in a 2-week High Peaks Adventure course; more than a dozen Leadville youth get their first taste of the wilderness on the now annual Lake County Backpacking Trip; and numerous individuals attend the wilderness medicine and avalanche courses each season.

Another group of students on a High Peak Adventure. Photo: HMI.

Another group of students on a High Peak Adventure. Photo: HMI.

HMI is one of several semester schools that is becoming a recognized alternative to the typical path of four years of secondary schooling, and HMI’s mission and vision remain unique in the realm of 21st century education. After leaving HMI, alumni repeatedly report increased confidence, improved academic performance, affinity for positive communities, and passion for exercising their new leadership skills toward building community and solving substantive challenges.  

HMI-LogoToday, HMI has over 1,000 alumni from across the country from its Semester School and summer programs and is recognized nationally as a leader in progressive education.

Since its inception, HMI has thrived under the dedicated and tireless leadership of Christopher and Molly Barnes. Now a mature organization and a sought-after experience for many high school students, HMI has reached a critical point in its history.

This July, HMI will welcome Nigel Whittington, HMI’s second Head of School to the institution and the founders will depart on their next adventure beyond HMI.

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