For one week every winter, Berkshire students participate in two unique, intensive courses of their choosing, taught by faculty, staff, parents, alumni, friends, and other students. The Pro Vita Winter Session is focused on the "Make. Perform. Do. Solve. Serve." model, in which students explore courses within the areas of art and design, sustainability, philanthropy, diversity, and sense of place.

The goal of this program is for students to have the opportunity to explore the larger world around them and to embrace the School motto: Pro Vita Non Pro Schola Discimus, "Learning—not just for school but for life.” Pro Vita offers more than 50 courses, a lunchtime workshop series, several site-based excursions, and various guest speakers, which allow students to uncover new talents and discover lifelong pursuits.


Follow Pro Vita Live

During Pro Vita there's a lot going on—classes, off-campus trips, performances, speakers, and special events. You can keep up with all of the excitement here or by following our Pro Vita Instagram account.


    Sunday, Feb. 25


    7:00 p.m. | Allen Theater

    Monday, Feb. 26

    Green & gray Trivia night

    7:45 p.m. | Benson Commons

    Tuesday, Feb. 27

    dom flemons

    7:00 p.m | Allen Theater

    *this event will be available via WEBSTREAM

    Wednesday, Feb. 28

    where there be dragons

    7:00 p.m. | Lecture, Fentress Reading Room (limited space)

    8:30 p.m | Documentary, Allen Theater

    Thursday, Mar. 1

    telluride mountainfilm on tour

    7:00 p.m. | Allen Theater

    Friday, March 2

    max holmes

    7:00 p.m. | Allen Theater

    *this event will be available via WEBSTREAM

    Saturday, March 3


    8:30 a.m. | Allen Theater

    Course Catalog

    Off-Campus Trips

    Pro Vita Winter Session is a week-long program where the school community challenges and stretches itself in ways beyond the traditional high school curriculum. Designed around the motto Make. Perform. Solve. Serve., Pro Vita provides students with the opportunity to explore the School’s mission and core values and its commitment to Sustainability, Sense of Place, Philanthropy, Diversity, and For Life in a hands-on way. The Pro Vita experience fosters growth in Berkshire’s core values of integrity, perseverance, curiosity, respect, resilience, and inclusion. During Pro Vita, students live out the School motto: “Learning -- not just for school but for life.”

    Pro Vita’s on-campus curriculum consists of over 50 seminar-style classes. Students also participate in a wide variety of evening events and hear from guest speakers. In 2019, Berkshire will be offering six off-campus excursions during Pro Vita, which falls on February 25-March 2, 2019. Below is a look at the destinations planned for Pro Vita 2019. If you are interested in receiving more information (cost, details and itinerary) about these trips, please contact Pro Vita Director Donald Anselmi at


    Please Note: All of these trips go beyond the normal purview of Berkshire’s curriculum and, therefore, require additional fees for transportation, lodging, and food costs while off-campus. Prices vary depending upon enrollment and other factors, and are subject to change. Limited scholarships are available.

    Peru: Sacred Valley Service

    Initiated by student Cami Kittredge ‘19 and organized by the student travel company Rustic Pathways, this Pro Vita experience will enable students to better understand life in rural communities of the Peruvian Andes by exploring issues such as clean water infrastructure, education, and access to public services.  Students will contribute to sustainable service projects and learn about the former capital of the Inca empire. While coming to better understand the local culture, students will also hike through majestic mountains and visit the awe-inspiring ancient city of Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

    Chaperones: Kelley Bogardus and Michael Dalton
    Approximate cost: $4,360
    Limited to 14 students

    Morocco: Weaving through Culture and Service

    Initiated by students Victoria Rowland ‘20 and Michelle Wang ‘20 and organized by the student travel company Rustic Pathways, this Pro Vita experience will enable students to broaden their perspectives as global citizens.  Students will travel to a Berber village in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco to work alongside villagers on vital community service initiatives during the first part of this trip.  In addition, the group will spend time in the bustling city of Marrakech, exploring souqs, mosques, and museums as a way to understand Morocco’s rich history of religion and arts.  

    Chaperones: Maura MacKenzie and Mohammed Hetraf
    Approximate cost: $4,180
    Limited to 14 students

    The Island School: Sustainability and Exploration

    Initiated by students Martine Levelle ‘19 and Anne McGill ‘19, both Island School semester program alumna, the primary focus of this experience will be on sustainability and exploration where students will embark on a seven day journey at the Island School in Eleuthera, the Bahamas. Led by the alumna, chaperones and Island School teachers, Berkshire students will immerse themselves in island life through place based learning and daily exploration on the island. Through volunteer work at the local middle school, to free diving at sunrise, students will not only learn how to work together, but also learn from one another. Students will focus mainly on living and learning in a sustainable environment, on a microscale in Eleuthera. But, they will also learn how to apply their knowledge and curiosity to a macro scale- not only at Berkshire, but in the real world as well. Through daily reflection, meditation and journaling exercises, students will be able to develop a better sense of place and self. This experience will also showcase some of Eleuthera’s most spectacular beaches, blue holes, and untouched caves.

    Chaperones: Caddie Jackson and Bill Bullock
    Approximate cost: $3,200
    Limited to 14 students

    Greece: Navigating the Refugee Crisis

    Initiated by students Kat Erazo ‘19 and Avalon Lebenthal ‘19 and organized by the student travel company Atlas Workshops, students will come to better understand why Greece has been a crossroads for thousands of years and the current issues that immigration presents to this country and the world.  Today, as a gateway to the mainland European Union, Greece has emerged as a key transit point for migrants coming to Europe. On our excursion, students will explore and discuss the mass migration crisis at its epicenter, traveling to Athens and Lesvos. Along the way, we will be working with local experts, organizations, migrants, and supporting communities of Greece.

    Chaperones: Bebe Bullock and Jesus Ibañez
    Approximate cost: $3,335
    Limited to 14 students

    Arizona: NOLS Sonoran Desert Backpacking Experience

    Students on this course will learn backpacking, outdoor living and leadership skills while travelling in the United States' first designated wilderness area.  Traveling through canyon bottoms and ponderosa pine forests, we will enjoy a unique environment rich with human history and biological diversity. Students on this course will collaborate for group decision making, and working together, understand how their actions relate to real consequences.  Berkshire School will partner with The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Lander, Wyoming for this course.

    Chaperones: Cait Ward and Ben Urmston
    Approximate cost: $3,175
    Limited to 10 students

    Washington D.C.: Espionage on Site

    Initiated by student Maddie Devost ‘19 after her successful Pro Vita on campus course Spying, Hacking, Terrorism, students will travel to Washington D.C. for a spy themed visit to the nation’s capital. Washington D.C. is not only the hub of the federal government, but also a global hub of espionage and intrigue. Students will experience a combination of hands-on skills development like lockpicking, visit key museums and sites like the American History Museum, Newseum, International Spy Museum and the Air and Space Museum.  They will also enjoy lectures and hosted dinners with a variety of D.C. personalities including former CIA officials, current intelligence and law enforcement professionals, and a member of Congress.

    Chaperones: Sandy Perot and Kevan Bowler
    Approximate cost: $1,800
    Limited to 14 students

    Speaker Series

    dom flemons | TUESDAY, February 27 • 7:00 p.m. at allen theater

    Dom Flemons is a Grammy Award winning musician, singer-songwriter, and slam poet. Carrying on the songster tradition, Flemons strives to mix traditional music forms with a contemporary approach, to create new sounds that will appeal to wider audiences. In his recent solo album Prospect Hill (2014), Flemons drew from a wide range of styles, including ragtime, Piedmont blues, spirituals, southern traditional music, string band music, fife and drum music, and jug-band music.

    Raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Dom’s involvement with music began by playing percussion in his high school band. After picking up the guitar and harmonica as a teenager, he began to play in local coffee houses and became a regular performer on the Arizona folk music scene. Dom wrote his own songs and produced 25 albums of singer-songwriters and slam poets in the Phoenix area, including six albums of his own, during this time. He took a brief break from playing music in order to pursue slam poetry (he majored in English at Northern Arizona University) and performed in two national poetry slams in 2002 and 2003. Aside from exploring slam poetry, he spent his early adulthood listening to records and discovering a love of folk music, blues, jazz, jug band music, country music and ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll. Dom became interested in folk musicians such as Phil Ochs, Dave Van Ronk, and Mike Seeger, as well as musicians such as Mississippi John Hurt, Howlin’ Wolf, Hank Williams, Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins. After stepping away from the slam poetry scene, he rekindled his interest in music, this time focusing on the old-time blues music of the pre-WWII era.

    To listen to his music, or read more about Don Flemons, visit his website.


    Held every Memorial Day weekend, Mountainfilm is a documentary film festival that showcases nonfiction stories about environmental, cultural, climbing, political and social justice issues that matter. Along with exceptional documentaries, the festival goes beyond the film medium by bringing together world-class athletes, change makers and visionary artists for a multi-dimensional celebration of indomitable spirit. Mountainfilm, which includes interactive talks, free community events, a gallery walk, outdoor programming and presentations, aims to inspire audiences to action on worthy causes.

    Presenter Stash Wislocki will present at Berkshire on March 1.

    To learn more, visit

    dr. MAX HOLMES | friday, march 2 • 7:00 P.M. AT ALLEN THEATER

    Dr. Max Holmes is an earth system scientist who studies rivers and their watersheds and how climate change and other disturbances are impacting the cycles of water and chemicals in the environment. He is particularly interested in the fate of the vast quantities of ancient carbon locked in permafrost in the Arctic, which may be released as permafrost thaws, exacerbating global warming. Dr. Holmes has ongoing projects in the Russian, Canadian, and Alaskan Arctic, and in the tropics in the Amazon and the Congo. He is committed to engaging students in his research projects and to communicating the results and implications of his research to the public and to policy-makers. Dr. Holmes recently served for two years as Program Director of the National Science Foundation’s Arctic System Science Program and in 2015 was named National Fellow of the Explorers Club.

    Lunch Series

    Lunch Series Workshops will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., some with limited space.

    Monday, February 26 - Fentress Reading room

    BEARing It All: Two Different Roads Of Public & Global Service After Berkshire
    with Bruce Shields '57 & Malcolm Odell '57

    Come listen to these two Berkshire alums as they recount their adventures on the Mountain and beyond. They will discuss and field questions about how their Berkshire experiences laid the foundations for the passions and inspirations of what they would pursue in college and after in two very different careers- one in the Green Mountains, the other in the Himalayas.

    tuesday, February 27 - berkshire hall room 103

    Come Learn About the Enneagram: A Self- Awareness and Relationship Tool
    with Margo Montgomery P '10

    The Enneagram is a personality mapping system that tells us about our unconscious patterns of thinking, feeling and acting and how they were developed early on in our lives. This pragmatic and powerful tool indicates what you “x” out in life as well as your specific growth path. But, guess what? You are a type but there are eight others. This workshop will give you a glimmer of all the types and you might even recognize yours. You may think you know yourself, but I promise you will walk away with new insights. This is the quickest, deepest tool I know for self- awareness and to develop your emotional intelligence which research shows is the greatest predictor of success and well-being. Come join us and better understand why people don’t think like you!!!

    wednesday, February 28 - crawford family lecture hall

    Spy Games: Life in the CIA and Private Intelligence World
    with Rob Richer and Matt Devost P '19

    Join decorated CIA veteran Rob Richer and security expert Matt Devost P '19 as they take you on a tour through life in the CIA during the height of the Cold War and the Global War on Terrorism and provide a unique perspective on today’s top global security issues like terrorism, regional conflicts, and hacking. Curious about how the CIA recruits, trains and deploys spies and analysts around the world? How countries hack into each others global infrastructures? Join this casual fireside chat and bring your questions for a robust Q & A session at the end.

    thursday, March 1 - berkshire hall room 208

    No Mud, No Lotus: The Making of Metaphors and Origami Lotus Flowers
    with Claire Emery

    In 2012, during a difficult period in Claire's life, a Buddhist nun taught her how to fold origami lotus flowers. Origami is the art of paper folding: with this simple, meditative practice, we can make something beautiful out of the dross of every day life. Everyone will come out of the session with at least one lotus flower folded out of paper.

    Friday, March 2 - fentress reading room

    Adventure of a Journalist
    with Carolyn Kormann

    Reporting on topics such as climate change around the world and the culinary diversity of New York City in major publications such as The New Yorker, Carolyn Kormann has given readers a unique perspective and taste of the variety of experiences and challenges around the globe today. Carolyn will not only talk about the fun and engaging projects that she has taken on in search for truth since graduating from Middlebury College in 2004, but also about what inspired and led her to this career path.