How did you feel on your first day of high school?
For new students, the first day of school is both exciting and scary. Last week, we welcomed 133 new students to campus. 133 new community members who will make a lasting impact on our school. Advisors of new students are eager to see these students pursue their passions and break out of their comfort zones.
Scott Lebrun, Director of Student Life, and his team know how hard new beginnings can be. He knows how important it is for students to connect with their advisors. As excitement grows thinking about the months ahead, our student life office reminds us to invest our time in building connections now. They worked tirelessly this summer to ensure that new students felt supported when they came to campus. Activities for the first weekend, Husky Weekend, were specifically planned to help new students connect to one another.
The main events of the weekend were grade-specific advisory trips. Smaller advisory groups form connections while the entire grade is able to bond over fun outdoor activities. Freshmen camped out at Burliegh Mountain, Sophomores enjoyed a day at Camp Wanakee, Juniors explored the White Mountain region, and Seniors traveled to Camp Mayhew on Newfound Lake.
“We started class trips two years ago as a way to build class unity by helping students, old and new, get to know one another in unique ways. This time is set aside for advisory groups to create a community built on openness and trust and to discuss hopes and goals for the year while having fun with one another. By the end of the weekend, new friendships are formed, incoming students feel a sense of belonging, and each class is ready to positively impact New Hampton School through their involvement, inclusiveness, spirit, and service to the community,” says Lebrun.
Throughout the year, the bond created on these trips will grow. The foundation that was created during Husky Weekend ensures that groups will be able to forge a comfortable path for social-emotional learning, bonding, and growing through graduation. Along with structured weekly meetings, advisory groups will have opportunities to enjoy meals and outings together. Similar to our class sizes, Advisory groups are small. Advisory groups are never larger than six students so they can truly get to know one another.
During weekly meetings, advisory groups encourage healthy relationships and stress reduction through the grade-specific program, CASEL’s Core Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Curriculum. This program covers competencies such as self-management, decision making, relationship skills, self-awareness, and social awareness. The success of this program is a direct product of the relationships formed during Husky Weekend trips.
Husky Weekend sets the tone for our school year. It reminds us all how strong our community is and the difference a support system can make. After this weekend, our students are ready to challenge themselves and tackle this new chapter of their life.