It is a rare thing to be able to wake up in the middle of an academic school week and not be stressed about something, whether it’s an upcoming test, an oral presentation, or some homework you fell asleep over before finishing. So, when Semester 57 woke up on Wednesday free of stress and full of giggles, it was quite a feeling. We had been given the opportunity to spend the day on an island, instead of in our normal classes on the Neck. It was a wonderful opportunity, and we all came back sleepy and sunburnt, but in a much more relaxed mental state.
Of course, the trip wasn’t purely free time. In small groups, we actually learned quite a bit about Monhegan Island and the way it functions as a small community. Our groups studied the way water was sourced on the island, education, food, economics, employment, waste disposal, and other important parts of the community. We then spent the afternoon exploring the island, wandering through the forest and along the cliffs. My group hiked almost all the way around the island, with many side detours. We went to a huge rock that branched out into the water, as well as down along the water to visit some tide pools. The semester met up as a whole again on a rocky beach, where we all ran around and enjoyed the natural beauty surrounding us. For some, it was their first time really realizing the beauty of the world around us, and many people learned that maybe boats aren’t as bad as they thought during our ferry ride to and from.
I think it was a deeply valuable opportunity…and a nice time for us, as high school students, to take a load off while still doing something of value. We also got to spend time just being teenagers, hanging out and strengthening the already strong bonds between individuals and the semester as a whole.
Frances, Newport Beach High School, CA