Dear Families and Friends of Semester 52,
Students are hard at work during study hours after a morning of classes and an afternoon spent enjoying the fresh snow in our woods. Over dinner this evening, the tables were filled with stories of the first science field trip, during which students were challenged to use all their senses while sitting quietly and observing the details of our forest. Others told of exciting work programs this afternoon splitting wood, clearing trails and making the homemade pizza we were enjoying for supper. Still others beamed while talking about their late afternoon cross-country ski trek on the freshly groomed trails at the farm or the broomball game on our frozen pond. It was wonderful witnessing the energy and comfort in the room and realizing that after our initial orientation period, it feels like we’re hitting our stride as Semester 52. It’s hard to believe that only eight days have passed since we all first met, as so much has happened since then!
Meals here are designed to facilitate community building. Each meal is served family style, with students and faculty sharing eight-person tables, and we encourage students to sit with different people each meal. Our relaxed mealtime schedule allows conversations to develop naturally, ranging from stories of home to reflections on the day. Students are getting to know each other while forming their cabin “culture,” as well. Cabin parents have met on three different occasions with their charges in order to discuss everything from woodstove safety to core values and practices that they agree to share. It’s apparent that each cabin is already forming as a tight unit; in short, they’re off to a wonderful start!!
Advisors hiked the trails with their advisees last weekend in order to introduce them to our natural environment, and a creative and entertaining scavenger hunt had student groups exploring the different Chewonki departments and meeting a variety of people who staff them. They are also contributing in meaningful ways to the functioning of Chewonki by serving on a dish crew, completing a daily chore before breakfast, and participating in afternoon work program, the first of which was a spirited bucket brigade-style loading of firewood into our wood-fueled boiler room.
In closing, I’m thrilled by the energy and dedication of this group so far. They’ve all dug into everything we’ve asked of them and have been great fun to get to know. They are settling into their classes and enthusiastically engaging with activities in class and their daily assignments. In short, all is well!
Ann Carson, Head of School