As the weather turns colder and our thoughts turn to snow and winter sports, it is wonderful to be able to reflect on an amazing fall sports season at The White Mountain School. We talk often of passion and engagement in our programs and this is certainly evident in our sports program. Students have a chance to try something different and develop a new passion as well as to dive in and truly engage in an activity that they may already have a passion for. Our talented and dedicated coaching faculty is a wonderful resource and creates amazing experiences daily for our students.
At the end of each season (and usually in preparation for our season ending sports awards ceremony), I typically find myself reflecting on what students have accomplished in their respective sports and activities. This sometimes gets noted in wins and losses, miles run or biked, climbs accomplished, pounds of produce harvested, or performances rendered. Far beyond these simple outcomes, however, lies the true value of our sports program: the stories of growth, authentic leadership opportunities, students stepping out of their comfort zones, the connection with peers and coaches, and an unwavering positive engagement for each and every student.
This fall, the Cross Country Team entered the New England Prep School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Championship race for the first time in school history. This involved a long bus trip to Millbrook School, an overnight and participation in the largest race (over 400 total runners) our team had ever experienced. Despite anxieties and concerns about being overshadowed by larger, more competitive schools, every one of our runners ran a personal or season best time in this event and our teams acquitted themselves exceptionally well in both effort and spirit.
Our Girls’ Soccer Team had one of the most successful seasons in recent memory, earning 7 wins. Beyond this, however, they also donated their time to help with local youth soccer programs and participated actively in a cancer fundraiser. Notable on this team is the fact that many of the core players are 9th and 10th graders; these girls are gaining real experience both as players and as leaders.
Our Mountain Biking Team started the year having only a few riders with mountain bike experience. By the end of the season, seeing what all of these riders are capable of has been amazing. Hearing stories of individual students taking it upon themselves to ride with a less experienced rider and provide support and advice is the norm for this group. In a largely individual sport, they are a true “team”.
Every afternoon, students in Farm and Forest disappear across the road to work hard, have fun and get dirty (they are particularly adept at the getting dirty part). This year, they spent an extensive amount of time clearing and cleaning up campus trails and even built their own new section of trail. My favorite part of sports awards each fall is hearing who the “Most Improved Farmer” is at Sports Awards!
Our Boys Soccer Team had a very successful season as well, winning some great games and learning how to work effectively as a team.
Many people got to see an incredibly diverse group of students in the Theater group put on some amazing end of season performances. This included a number of students with little or no previous theater experience!
Very few people get to see what the Rock Climbers do on a daily basis, but these students all developed many new skills, worked incredibly well together and certainly pushed themselves to new heights. Our Rock Climbing coaches also hosted our largest ever USA Climbing bouldering competition right here in our gym. This event also featured some great individual performances from students on our Sport Climbing team.
Strength. Support. Health. Safety. Skills. Confidence. Strong bonds. All of these are themes expressed in our Athletic Philosophy. It is wonderful to be able to close a sports season knowing that every student had a chance to explore or develop a passion within this amazing framework that we’ve created. It comes through in the stories we get to hear each day and also in these amazing pictures. Enjoy!