Semester 38: Square Dance, Fun Run, and Final Projects!

May 16, 2017

As the academic year comes closer, our final projects for our classes have been introduced. In Natural Science we performed two water quality experiments in Leadville’s local watershed, which really brought it closer to home. Our project combines two essential aspects of science: thorough research and engaging presentation. First, we must find and read scientific papers about the watersheds that affect our hometowns. Next, we must use our creativity to decide on a non-traditional presentation method. In past projects we have used classical methods, much like the scientists who present their findings in reports and posters. For this project, however, we will instead use methods including creative writing, board games, or movies to express our message. Once we have created these projects, we will present them to our classes.

In our Practices and Principles class, we have been presented with a similar project. After reading, discussing, and writing about diverse environmental ethics, we have an opportunity to create our own statement. Again, this project will be a presentation in the form of creative visuals, such as songs, movies, or artwork. One group is interviewing restaurants in Leadville about their food ethics and the manner in which this influences their food orders. Informed by their interviews, they plan to create a movie in which they discuss how ideas of food locality and animal treatment are prevalent in Leadville’s food industries. In both classes, these culminating projects allow us to explore the intersections of our lives with the information we’ve learned!

This Saturday afternoon we had an HMI community square dance. We brought in professional callers from Leadville who set up big speakers and turned the parking into a square-dance dance floor. Everyone dressed up in their best square dance costumes including flannels, jeans, and even cowboy boots. The callers taught us a lot of new dances that seemed complicated at first but everyone learned really quickly. We did dances as a whole group in a big circle and then we also did a couple other dances with smaller groups or partners. Along with the students, some apprentices and faculty joined in the fun as well. Everyone’s shoes got a little dusty, but the new experience was worth it.

On Saturday after dinner, we played a few school-wide games, some of which got pretty heated! After a while of friendly but intense competition, we switched to an activity led by Sofia called Warm and Fuzzies. We each got a piece of paper, and, in groups of ten, we rotated the papers around the table and wrote little notes to each other, like you would in a yearbook. Everyone got a little teary-eyed after reading all the sentimental notes on their papers, and Noah certainly did not help the situation when he started a playlist of slow, emotional folk songs.

This Sunday, everybody woke up early and got ready for the ten-mile Fun Run, an HMI tradition since Semester 12. Starting in the beginning of February, we have run three mornings a week for AMX in preparation for the Fun Run. At first, some were anxious about the race; however when Ben led us in an inspirational chant, all of our nerves disappeared. We began the race on a flat road about four miles away from campus, which led us to the six-mile loop that many of us have run on the past few months. The Fun Run then finished in the HMI driveway, with lots of cheering, snacks, and celebration! The weather was perfect for running, and the entire race we were surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains and blue skies. Throughout the course, there were three aid stations run by staff members. Each aid station was stocked with water, gatorade, and pretzels for anyone who needed a boost of energy. Everyone did an amazing job during the race, and Simon Kearns beat the all-time Fun Run record by fifteen seconds, making HMI history!