Our four week students have been maximizing their character this week by helping our two-week Session 2 students into the program. Read all about it in today's second post!
When I stopped by the dorm last Friday night, the students were unusually busy.
Let me rephrase that: Experimentors have full days, so busy is their "usual." But Friday was the Session 1 Showcase: presentations all morning, a celebratory lunch midday, goodbyes to departing friends, and a hike to the Rock to give Session 1 students space to pack up to head home. It was a mentally, emotionally and physically tiring day. So if there was ever a night to chill in the dorm, this was it.
|Tablemates Alicia, Fiona, Ava, Lucy,
Adam, Ian, Joshua, Ethan Y,
and Brennan represent a thorough
mix of both four week and two
Instead, they were hard at work. One group is sitting around a Common Room table drawing and coloring. Kyler is finishing a folded piece of construction paper that says, "Ethan P" in neat, colorful block letters. "That looks great!" I said.
"I think he's cheating," teased Nirel. "He used a ruler!" I could see several iterations of the card crumpled in the center of the table--clearly Kyler was taking his work seriously.
"This isn't a freehand drawing competition! Using a ruler isn't cheating," I insisted. "It's a smart use of tools. You wouldn't fault a carpenter that needed to measure a board before cutting to a specific size."
"Well, if it's a good carpenter..." Nirel smiled.
Across the room in another group, Tasman was starting a second page. "Two pages!?" one of her friends gawked. "You don't even know her!"
"I have things to say," Tasman responded. Another friend at the table looked a little anxiously at the paragraph-long note in front of them.
"Long is good--and short is fine, too," I assured the group.
The thirty-three students in the dorm last Friday night had been working, playing, and living together for two weeks. They had become close as a learning community, but in just two days 30 new students would be arriving on campus. Integrating these two groups is a challenge inherent in having a multi-session program. It's a challenge big enough we on the staff team knew we'd need help from our four-weekers.
Tasman's letter was to Lucy. Each four-week student had an incoming student to greet and help during the opening days of the session. Tasman and Lucy had something common--both were native Australians--so Tasman naturally had a lot to say to her new potential friend. These pairings are modeled after Deerfield Academy's Green Key program that connects incoming 10th, 11th, and 12th graders with current students, so this is another way Tasman was sampling Deerfield culture.
Of course, the proof of the pudding, they say, is in the eating. On Registration Day, Maia was delayed at Registration so I walked her and her father to our welcome dinner after everyone else had left. "You two prepare a plate to eat," I said. "I'll see if I can find..." Before I even had the words out of my mouth, Kristen was by our side. Introducing herself to Maia, she escorted her to a seat she'd saved at a table with her friends and their Green Key students.
Of course some Green Keys have connected as well as others. But on the whole I'm proud of how our students have risen to the occasion. Maximizing their character indeed!
-- Tim, Program Coordinator