Loons and Wolves, and Bears, Oh My!

Rachael Moss '15
“As the school year rockets forward, our community takes the first few days as we always do, by retreating into nature, games, and new friends.” Rachael Moss ’15 shares her reflections on Orientation. Read on for her article.

The beginning of this month was dedicated to trips that varied from White Water Kayaking to Community Service, providing a bonding experience that brings seniors, new students, and faculty alike together in a harmonious way that only White Mountain School could achieve. Experiences vary, but there is a satisfied aura that exudes from the whole community when we come together, exhausted, dirty, and sore at Sign the Book on Wednesday.

Going into an orientation trip can be an intimidating experience. Most groups contain a balance between new and returning students, providing an intimate mix of fresh, excitement, and cool-headedness amongst the members. When you set out for a trip your mind may be occupied with academic thoughts, but still there’s time to wonder, “Did I bring enough socks?” “Will this granola bar satisfy me?” and “What exactly is a “gunnel war?” (The answers are No, No, and a game played on canoes with balancing) All of these uncertainties fade however, with the gradual immersion into an experience bigger than yourself.

Returning student Noah Fisk ‘15 said, “I got to practice my roll in White Water Kayaking, which will be great to show off in the spring!” New student Banner Cole ‘18 said, “I came into the class schedule more confident than I would have, with a group of friends I knew I could rely on to help me out.” Some other students just have a great time, such as Tyson McGrew ‘15, who says, “I love Orientation.”

Several students had unexpected revelations while on their trips. Abigail Newton ‘16, “I never realized how loud a loon could be!” Other interactions with animals included hearing wolves in the distance, Bald Eagle spottings, a bear crossing the road, and, of course, the classic mosquito. Other students, like Tori Breen ‘17, agree that the orientation trips are a fun way to ease into the hectic life of high school. “I came back to a second year of kayaking. Even though I’ve done the trip before, it’s a really nice way to start the year, and I had a lot of fun.” The first three days of school are challenging, exhilarating, and even frustrating at times, but overall, the community comes out stronger for it.

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