There is something special about the shape of a circle. It is more unique than the sharp lines of a rectangle or a square, simpler than kites and rhombuses. A circle never ends, it is a single unit.
On my first day at Chewonki, before parents had even left, the 43 students of Semester 57 sat in the Quad, awkwardly sharing names, getting to know each other, and without even realizing it, we formed a circle. When we had our first official semester meeting, this time joined by faculty, we were given specific instructions to form a circle, and at every meeting or group discussion that has followed, we have been told to stand or sit side-by-side in a circle, no one blocked or cut out. There is not a clump or an oval of students to be seen on Chewonki Neck. Circles are everywhere at Chewonki, not only at formal meetings, but in the dining room at tables of eight, and four of the six cabins are found in Osprey Circle. After nearly a month at Chewonki, it is my instinct to get in a circle, whether it be with my peers or my teachers. There is a reason that everything at Chewonki is found in circles, just as I believe there is a reason it was our instinct to get in a circle that very first day. In a circle, there is no end or beginning…Everyone supports each other, which is what we do at Chewonki.
Through belonging to the circle of Chewonki, I have learned just how strong an impact I can have, both positively and negatively. We are in charge of running our own community, and through things like dish crew, morning chores, and work program, I contribute to the circle that makes up my semester. If I fail to perform my chores, or don’t show up after a meal when I have dish crew, I’ll upset the balance of the entire community. It can be scary knowing that all of my actions have such obvious reactions, but it can also be incredibly empowering. Every person in my semester has an impact, and one person’s actions truly do affect Chewonki as a whole.
A circle is continuous, and the Chewonki circle means relying on 42 other people to uphold their part of the curve. But it also means getting to have that many people there to support you. I have never been part of a stronger community than the one at Chewonki, and I am so proud to be a part of the circle of Semester 57.
Lily, Montclair High School, NJ