News From Masters

Freshmen Bond during Overnight Trip
Posted 09/15/2017 08:00AM

Grade 9 students played ice breaker games, created cardboard boats for a race and engaged in challenging outdoor activities during Masters’ second annual overnight trip for freshmen on September 8-9.

Some 125 students and 20 chaperones went to the Greenkill Retreat Center at the New York YMCA Camp in Huguenot, NY. “This trip was about these kids having fun and getting to know one another. It was also about setting the tone and purpose for the year,” says Eric Shear, Dean of the Class of 2021.      

The freshmen and their advisors, divided into Delta and Phi teams, participated in such competitions as jousting with rubber swords, dramatic acting and naming obscure languages. Other activities included canoeing, kayaking, and climbing a wooden tower and a “giant’s ladder” as part of a ropes course. The group capped the day by gathering around a bonfire on Friday evening.

The highlight of Saturday’s events was a cardboard boat regatta. In advisory groups, students had planned, designed and constructed the boats. Several faculty and staff members, armed with paddles and determination, competed in the race on the center’s lake while the freshmen cheered them on.

Most of the boats sank or disintegrated immediately. But fittingly, Director of Aquatics Sue Greally and her vessel managed to navigate to the opposite shore, winning the regatta. Ms. Greally and her team won a trophy for their construction of the boat, the “Huttle Shuttle.”

“To close out the day, the students were asked to think about what it means to ‘be the best,’ ” Mr. Shear says. “While at first they focused on competition, ultimately they came to the conclusion that it was about the way they carried themselves and treated others.”

Before leaving for the trip, the freshmen had engaged in a goal-setting activity within advisory groups, with each student setting one academic, one social and one group goal. During the weekend, the freshmen adopted the motto “2021: We’re Number 1.”

“Throughout the trip, the students were encouraged to try new things, meet new people and be open-minded,” Mr. Shear says. “This all relates to the class motto and our goal to ‘be the best.’ ”

“We hope to set up conditions and encourage our students to forge a positive identity for our class,” adds Mr. Shear. “We want our students to be looked upon as role models in the community. We want them to be kind, compassionate and to go out of their way to help people. In large part, this trip and the unveiling of our class motto kicked off this process.”

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