Have No Fear

Posted by andrewstewart12 - 02 August, 2017

To most seniors the idea of being at school at half past six in the morning seems as outlandish as it is unlikely.

And as for the idea of getting to school at that hour only to spend the entire day with freshmen? Forget about it. But, I along with 19 other seniors agreed to get up at this outlandish hour and brave the daunting task of supervising the Class of 2015 on the freshman retreat.

When I was a freshman it seemed natural to fear the seniors. These tall and sometimes hairy figures who roamed the hallway seldom would interact with freshmen unless they previously knew them. It added an unnecessary factor of intimidation to the already intimidating world of Upper School. I think this is why so many seniors this year signed up to help with the freshman retreat. We wanted to get rid of the misconception of seniors being intimidating.

Little did they know we found them just as intimidating.

We couldn't show our fear; afraid of them using it to their advantage; we only hoped they were as nervous around us as we were around them.

Most interactions were forced out of politeness until the activities started and the fun began. Whether it was the 40-foot-long Slip 'n Slide or playing a game of tag in canoes, we were intermingling, upperclassmen and underclassmen.

And then we found ourselves cheering one another on as we scaled the climbing wall or reached the end of a game of paintball. It didn't matter whether or not we succeeded in the low ropes activities of having to move everyone from one island to another just using two two-by-fours; we were having fun.

The whole point of the retreat was for the freshmen class to learn to work together and grow together, but instead we all grew together as a school.

 Photos by Mary Kathryn Martinson '12

Andrew Stewart '12 graduated from RISD (Rhode Island School of Art and Design) and works at IDEO, a global design firm, in their Palo Alto office. He will have art in the Alumni Art Show this fall.

Members of the Class of 2016 wrote about the 9th grade retreat as freshmen, Getting into the Swing, and again as senior peer mentors, Pulling the Swing.

Topics: 12th grade, 9th grade, community, freshmen, new students, Upper School

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