The campus is different this week. Most of our students are off on Fall Festival — camping, canoeing, hiking and biking. Our younger students stay closer to home, but are still enjoying adventures in the pumpkin patch and a camp fire with friends. All of these activities are part of a long-standing Community School tradition of exploring the outdoors and experiencing a curriculum outside of the walls of a classroom. Last year, Emilie shared a reflection of her Fall Festival experiences. We thought it was worth revisiting this week.
It is Friday afternoon and I am still riding the Fall Festival high. These camping trips give students the opportunity to challenge themselves both physically and emotionally. I saw students form new friendships, admire the skills of younger classmates, and appreciate students they did not know well for their intellectual abilities and sense of humor. Younger students watched the social interactions of the older students and learned what lay ahead in a safe and friendly setting. Students were supportive and encouraged each other in their personal challenges. Bigger students helped carry small students’ bikes across the river; while smaller students really appreciated the help, the bigger students also felt a sense of community service.
Fall Festival is a chance for students to overcome their personal obstacles and to strengthen their personal character. Over the course of three days, we learn a great deal about what drives and motivates our students. This often translates into how we can best support them in their learning. That is what makes these trips not only a wonderful experience, but an important part of their education at Community School.
Emilie Temeles has been with Community School for over 20 years. She currently teaches middle school classes. Her daughters Eliza and Abby both attended Community School.