Maybe it was something about the green and gold. There was clearly something special in the air last Friday when students and teachers in all three divisions spent quality time outside on a beautiful mid-autumn day. Of course, there was plenty of fun and games in Lower School physical education classes, Middle School recess and the Upper School Ram Rivalry competition. While those interactions showed wonderful camaraderie and spirit, I was equally impressed with the academic activities conducted in our 36-acre outdoor classroom space.
As I roamed the campus with my camera, the first good photo opportunity came near the Lower School playground. Sixth graders gathered with Mr. Thomas Chavez to begin orienteering, one of many activities included in their Autumn Exploration Day. Since the class could not attend the traditional annual trip to Frost Valley, sixth grade coordinator Andrea Barnett developed a daylong event to replicate that experience right here on the W+H campus. The first group photo I took featured a group of sixth graders with Mr. Chavez under a tree that just happened to have green and gold leaves. It was a sign.
The morning continued with more photo ops in the Nature Trail, trees and wooded areas, Middle School garden and the tent outside the AP Room, where students created leaf rubbings under the expert guidance of Miss Tanda Tucker.
My focus shifted to Lower School and the third graders, who were enjoying a Fall Day of their own. While Mrs. Donna Pedde supervised journal writing on the new outdoor desks, Ms. Katherine Heiss assisted other students in one of her favorite activities – gardening. It was great to see youngsters with their hands in the dirt rebuilding the Lower School garden.
During my second stop to the front of campus, I also caught a glimpse of the fifth graders bonding during their Leadership Day event designed by teachers Mr. Tim Head and Mrs. Liz Stillman. Walking back through the school, I occasional photos of students and teachers clad in the school’s colors. More green and gold.
The Upper School took center stage for my attention in the early afternoon, with a series of entertaining Ram Rivalry competitions on the turf fields that were worthy of video. Although many students in remote learning were missing, it was great to see class unity on display. It was fitting that the seniors won Spirit Week because they are likely going to have a challenging final year of high school that is beyond their control. Class deans Mr. Kyle Modes and Mrs. Justine Borzumato are doing their best to keep things running smoothly for this year’s upperclassmen.
Spirit Week was a bit more understated this year for safety reasons, but Friday’s festivities did not reflect any of the anxiety that has become all too common these days. It was refreshing.