School’s Standards + Teacher’s Encouragement = Ivy League for Valley Alum

three members of the band called Valley Academy

Valley Academy, the Band

“Valley Academy” has two meanings for David Lind (VA 8th grade class of 2010). He attended Valley Academy in middle school. He says the kids in his class (the last upper grade class to use the portables) jokingly called it “The Trailer Park.” More recently though, he has adopted the name “Valley Academy” for the “alt-hip-tech-pop” band he formed with two Princeton classmates.

Reid Traditional Schools recently contacted Lind to congratulate him on his band’s success in winning last year’s Princeton Battle of the Bands and to learn from him how he earned his place in the Ivy League.   In high school, he participated in Questbridge, a program that matched him to Princeton with a full academic ride. He said that in high school, he “really just fought to maintain the same standards that Valley had already set for me.”

He might not have even considered the possibility of attending an Ivy League school though, without the inspiration of Valley Academy teacher Ed Smith. At the end of David’s fifth grade year, Mr. Smith wrote a letter to his parents in which he called David “a future Harvard alum.” Although David now jokes about the Harvard vs. Princeton aspect, he said Mr. Smith “definitely raised my goals, which in turn pushed me harder in high school.”

His advice to the upcoming 8th grade classes is not to stress too much trying to map out life after high school, but to “set a goal, do your best, and forget the rest.” He also cautions that in the transition from Valley to a large high school, students may feel “socially, like a small fish in a big pond.” He encourages them nonetheless, that success lies in “staying focused and following your passions.”

He chose the name “Valley Academy” for his band because to him, it represents “the unexpected.” On the band’s website, he states, “People on the outside didn’t expect much from the school, but people on the inside did.” It turns out we were right to expect a lot from David Lind.

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