As we navigate our way through this year, it is important to recognize the “other” programming necessary for our community. In some cases, it is the light-hearted things that help us diverge from stressors; Foliage Day, birthday parties, intramural games, weekend activities, sports, and home-like events in the residence halls. There is programming that is more formal, educational, and intended to be reflective, which plays an important role by disrupting our day’s predictable routines and exercising our minds using topics not covered in class.
A Need to Reflect
On Wednesday, November 4, the New Hampton School community took a respite from the normal class day to focus on other priorities. Recognizing our community’s engagement in the presidential election and the emotions associated with such a hotly contested election, we knew students and adults would benefit from a day that focused on awareness, engagement, perspective, and safety in the community.
A sleep-in is always a relaxing way to start the day, producing rested and ready students who selected from a series of faculty facilitated offerings that fell into two different categories. The first category focused on the MIND—providing a variety of opportunities to expand one’s thinking and engagement. Viruses and vaccines, trips to mars, social media and leadership, the psychology of political ads, mindfulness and clay, sports nutrition, journal reflection, and First Ladies are just a few of the sessions thoughtfully designed by our faculty.
Optional affinity group sessions during lunch provided safe space and togetherness for a variety of constituencies on campus.
We then shifted gears to focus on the BODY and SPIRIT, taking advantage of a beautiful late fall day in New Hampshire to be outside and relieve stress. Good old fashioned four square, kickball, badminton, yoga, basketball, climbing, hiking, cornhole, and relaxing group activities lightened the day’s mood.
Our faculty make a conscious effort to create open spaces to talk about controversial or polarizing topics using unbiased questions and conversation. These past few weeks have been a great opportunity for our entire community to exercise compassion, empathy, and thoughtfulness.
We closed the day with a virtual community gathering to remind people of the importance of our core values of respect and responsibility and how those applied to the tense election process for everyone.
I continue to be humbled by our community’s resilience, the myriad of ways our adults are demonstrating the commitment to be present for students, and a willingness to introduce new programming the truly does feed the mind, body, and spirit of Husky Nation.