Despite the fact that today is only day 11, it feels like we’ve been here for a month. Classes started Monday, kicking into full gear as we walked through the door. So in case any students you know at Chewonki haven’t had much time to talk or write over the past several days, here’s why:
Classes start at 8:30 in the morning, and on Mondays and Wednesdays free time doesn’t start until 4:40. At 6:15 we eat dinner, and then 7:30 marks the start of campus-wide study hours. There isn’t much in the way of free time on those days, but it’s worth it. Every teacher here, and every student, is invested in the experience that Chewonki offers. In history, my class has had lively discussions about Christopher Columbus, with more than a few puns thrown in by students and teacher alike. In Lit and the Land, we went for a walk through the woods yesterday, and today we took our notes and analyzed what in the world nature is, and if and how it can possibly be defined. Conversations in Environmental Issues always offer new ways to view the world. Perhaps best yet, all of our classes here are tied together to help us learn about the world around us and the ways we interact with it.
On Tuesday, I have Science Field Trip with half of the students (the other half had Work Program). This week, we drove to Bates-Morse Mountain, about 45 minutes away, and did our first work in our field journals. We wrote about a salt marsh, drew a map of the view from the top of the “mountain,” and did a species account of what turned out to be Pitch Pines. By the time we arrived back on campus, we had to go straight to the Wallace for dinner.
On Thursday, Work Program and Science Field Trip switch. I was with a group of about 10 students working on the farm, which so far is one of my favorite places here. We weeded the garden, picked flowers which we can use later to make natural dyes, pulled old bean plants out of the ground, and stacked pumpkins and squash in the Wallace. Plus, I got to try milking a cow for the first time! Other people on Work Program this week have done trail maintenance, painted houses, brought food to a food pantry, and so much more.
Today is Friday, and all of us are thoroughly exhausted. That said, it’s worth it. Every day is full of learning, working, and bonding. At night, we get to go back to our cabins, and relax with the people who are already becoming some of our closest friends. And when we wake up in the morning, we know we have another unpredictably wonderful day to begin.
-Liv Guion, Arlington High School, Arlington, MA