The air crackled with excitement as people bustled about gathering chairs, refreshments, and name tags in preparation for what was to come. Peter Sniffen, in the newly swept, mopped and polished Wallace Center, exclaimed energetically, “They’re going to be here any minute now!” and students on the couches chatted giddily about what they were going to do later that day. This wasn’t your typical Chewonki morning, this was Prospective Students Day and people were bracing themselves for the wave of new faces that would soon be pouring into the Center Of Environmental Education.
Despite the dreary, drizzly weather, we had an invigorating influx of prospective students and their families who all came to see and become acquainted with the Chewonki/MCS program before they packed up to have an MCS experience of their own. My job, along with Jesse, Lyla, Diego, Alex Lee, Jack Phinney and Ben Breckenridge, was to greet the families arriving in the Center for Environmental Education, offer them juice, delicious home-made muffins and big cups of the famous “Big Carry Dark Roast” or “West Branch Organic” coffees. Then, we schmoozed. At first the arrivals were patchy, much like the misty precipitation outside, but then families began pulling up in their laden down mini-vans and were greeted by a steady shower of smiles, introductions and very impressive hand shakes. The accepted MCS’ers seemed shy and tentative, much like I was at my own MCS prospective student open house, but gradually conversations were initiated by tag teams of current students and our trusty admissions team, Becca and Libby, stood by to save us in the event of any horribly awkward conversations.
However, the need for social rescue didn’t really exist. I was surprised by how happy the kids I spoke to seemed to be, and how ready they were to meet kids from their semester or ask questions about the program. Although I didn’t get to interact with everyone, as I was soon sent on a massive coffee run, it was easy to make conversations with the newbies, and I mean that in the most endearing way possible. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of social connections I had with them, the weird and coincidental mutual friends from camp or sending schools and it made me realize that being part of Chewonki connects you with hundreds and hundreds of people beyond your usual sphere. I have to admit, it felt nice knowing I have become part of something that is so much bigger than myself. It felt really nice. Even after my allotted time of meeting and greeting was over, I spent the rest of the afternoon milling about and watching my classmates interact with our visitors. Much as I had, they gave tours, answered questions and had lunch table conversations with ease, grace and composure but with a personal, welcoming vibe. All in all it was a good day for us MCS’ers. We got to spread our enthusiasm for MCS, and far as I could tell, our visitors had almost as much of a good time as we had hosting them.
-Eliza Bessone, Mamaroneck, NY