Class of 2018: Steamboat Mountain School senior wants to impact the planet |

Class of 2018: Steamboat Mountain School senior wants to impact the planet

Elle Michaud-Thomas
Courtesy photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Elle Michaud-Thomas loves to travel, and that’s what drew her to Steamboat Mountain School.

“I was born in Costa Rica and grew up constantly traveling between Montreal, where my dad is from, Costa Rica, and Steamboat, where my mom lives,” Elle said. “I had known about SMS since I was young and was always drawn to it because of the travel program. I have a passion for traveling and experiencing new cultures, and I can do that at SMS.”

In her four years at Steamboat Mountain School, she traveled to Greece, India, Australia and Morocco. And while it’s hard to pick a favorite, one moment in India stands out.

“One night we were on the Ganges River at the nightly ceremony,” Elle said. “There were thousands of people, but all that could be heard was the voice of a man saying a prayer over the loudspeaker. It was overwhelming in the most beautiful way. I felt an overwhelming sense of unity and community in a land that was completely foreign to me.”

Closer to home, Elle appreciates a sense of community as well.

“This school is a family; it’s a community that has helped transform me into the confident, independent thinker that I am today.”

And the community extends beyond her classmates.

“My teachers are so much more than teachers,” Elle explained. “I go on camping trips with them, travel to foreign countries with them, eat breakfast and dinner with them every night; through that I built a support network that has helped me flourish these past four years.”

It’s hard to pinpoint a favorite memory, she insists, but for the past two years, she has been helping to organize the community dinners that the school holds every Wednesday night for students, faculty and their families.

“It’s a time for our community to come together and talk about our weeks, crack jokes and enjoy each other’s company,” Elle said. “It’s a time filled with joy and laughter.”

In the fall, Elle will study environmental engineering at McGill University in Montreal, in pursuit of her dream to practice environmental law or engineering.

“Elle has always been an advocate for others in a very positive way,” said Steamboat Mountain School Dean of Students Brian Smith. “She’s going to work hard for what she thinks is right, and she’s going to do so by bringing people together.”

Elle’s main goal is to create a more sustainable planet.

“I believe that one of the biggest issues facing my generation and generations to follow is global climate change and the misuse of resources,” Elle said. “I want to be someone who helps find solutions to the problems our earth is facing, whether that be through engineering more sustainable systems or holding others accountable for their actions.”

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