I walk through the tall, cold forest under a sky coated in grey puffy clouds. One arm wrapped around a new best friend, the other holding Rubio’s (Chris Percy’s dog) leash. Our feet get sucked into the wet soil covered up by brown, crushed pine needles.
We make it to Pinky Point, not too far off campus, and sit ourselves down to watch the slow water gently hit the rocks.
I take out my phenology notebook and sketch the water, the rocks, the dying grass, and the mixture of green, yellow, and red trees. As my pencil strokes come together to form a site map, I wonder what I’m doing. I know that I’m working on my science homework, but what am I actually doing? I’m randomly sitting in the middle of Chewonki Neck, drawing with my friend and my teacher’s dog. How was I allowed to be doing this?
This was one of the first moments that it hit me. Chewonki is by far the most special and unique community I’ve ever been part of. Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki has allowed me to gain new experiences whether it’s eating local farm food, doing homework outside, living in a cabin with no adults, canoeing for a week, or sitting in nature with my friend and a dog. What causes Chewonki to be so special?
One major part of the Chewonki community that allows it to be such a special place is the trust. One important example of trust is the student teacher relationship. This relationship is an indescribable aspect of this school, but I will try my best to put it into words. Imagine, Charlie Brown and Snoopy. They’re best friends, and live together but Charlie is still in charge of Snoopy. Even though one of them technically has power over the other, they both have trust in one another and therefore can look past their differences and can treat each other the same way. At Chewonki, the teachers are here to help us, and make sure we’re surviving and thriving. They successfully do this while also maintaining a close relationship with us. This close relationship comes from the teachers putting their trust in us. They have trust in us that we don’t need to be treated like kids, we can be treated in the same ways as them. This trust, not only allows us to act like adults but also helps us feel comfortable with adults.
This one simple afternoon, sitting under the cloudy sky, didn’t seem like anything special until I really thought about it. I was thought of as a trusted adult. I was trusted by my school community to go out into nature without an adult. I was trusted by my Spanish teacher to walk his dog. I even trusted myself to walk through the woods and get work done. Due to this school’s trust I’m able to have experiences like never before. This semester has about 9 weeks left and I intend on taking advantage of every special moment it holds.
Maddie, The Berkeley Carroll School, NY