It is finally here! On Sunday, July 8, middle school students from near and far descended on Deerfield Academy campus to kick off the Experimentory's 2018 season. Our Exp18 Media Team has some stories to tell.
|An (almost) complete Session 1 group shot. This is everyone who checked in yesterday -- except the final eight on the shuttle from JFK.|
"Would you like an aluminum water bottle, or a clear green plastic bottle?"
A simple this-or-that question -- and yet the answers varied. Some students were bold and decisive, immediately reaching for one or the other. Others quietly pondered a moment or two before making their choice. Then there were the shrewd analysts. "What are all the differences between them?" "Which will keep my drink colder?"
"Wait," said Bryan. "How does the lid on this one compare to the lid on that one?" He had found his crux: flip-top won out over screwtop, hands down.
His brother, Paul, in contrast, was a peacemaker of sorts. "I better take the other kind," he said. "To keep things even."
It's best not to read too much into such insignificant decisions, but you can't help doing it a little. The opening days of the Experimentory are full of these sorts of moments: first impressions and brief glimpses of personality.
Check-in was also a time of meetings and reunions. Some students, like Baurice and Ben, are good friends who applied together. "Has my roommate checked in yet??" was a common first question from others. Many students had gotten to know each other after an introductory email from us in the weeks leading up to the program and were anxious to connect in person. And, of course, there were countless other first meetings throughout the day.
|Carsten, Andrea, Nicole, and Azzarree getting to know each other over the Registration Day art project! (More on that in a future post...)|
Breaking the Ice
After a busy day of travel, unpacking, and moving in, topped by a beautiful barbeque outside the dining hall, the time came to say goodbye. After a few hugs and farewells the parents and siblings left, and all the students, proctors, and residential teachers went back to the dorm.
The first evening away began with icebreakers. Proctors divided kids up into four groups, each playing different games, and the fun began. There were four main games for students to choose: “The Red Wind Blows”, “Shipwrecked”, “Two Truths and a Lie”, and of course, the best game of all (the game fellow Proctor Nick and I ran), “Wah!”. The games were simple, but effective, and contagiously fun. “The Red Wind Blows” was a game that brought out kids with certain similarities. For example, someone shouts, “The red wind blows for anyone with a dog!” and all the applicable players respond. In “Shipwrecked” kids had to quickly gather to create different sized groups or risk being abandoned by their ship. “Two Truths and a Lie” was a hit, in which the students shared things about themselves and others had the tough task of determining which details were facts, and which were fiction. The final game “Wah!” was a great way to spend the evening. Nick and I gathered the students in a circle to teach them the ancient and powerful game of “Wah!” in which players “send” the power of “wah” by bringing their arms down to point at another player, who must shout “Wah!” as the two players beside them “chop” them horizontally. If you fell out of rhythm, you were out.
It became heatedly competitive as students became better and better, resulting in a cacophony of “wahs”. A fierce rivalry quickly developed between Jack, Edward, and the proctors. It was a fierce battle, but the two-time champion of the night was... Virginia! after coming out the victor in two 1v1 rock-paper-scissors matches: one against another student and one against a proctor. It was far from the last activity of the night, but the rest of the evening flew by with snacks, meetings, and discussions about hall rules, by which time everyone was tired and ready for bed.
-- Ian, Program Proctor
This is just the beginning! Tune in for future posts throughout the program--or subscribe to our blog below for notifications.