Semester 36: “Classes are off to a great start”

Classes started the Thursday after we got back from first expedition. We started out in science learning about some of the different types of ice crystals and the different processes of snow metamorphosis. Then in lab we trecked out to the soccer field where we dug four feet down in order to test the density and observe the crystals in different layers of the snowpack. In English we’ve been reading the book Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko, which is about the struggle of a Laguna Pueblo man as he deals with PTSD from WWII and the historical plight of his people. Every day we’ve been having fascinating discussions about the text through different methods such as small groups and Quaker Style Conversations. In Practices and Principles we’ve started to discuss what an ethical compass is and how different ethical compasses relate to the natural world. In history, we most recently examined the ways in which people dehumanize each other. In an attempt to fortify human connection, we all spent seven minutes staring at another person. Classes are off to a great start.

This past Saturday night, Semester 36 took a road trip off campus to a bowling alley, and overflowed the place with 48 teenagers dressed in crazy costumes. After a long bus ride of singing and talking, we arrived and split into teams. We spent the night bowling together, dancing to the music, and getting to know each other. Halfway through, the lights turned out, and the disco ball turned on. Already wearing 80’s attire, the whole group broke out into a dance party. On the bus ride back, we sang some more and played games. It was such a fun night, and was a great way to get to know some new friends in our first few weeks here. We can’t wait to see what future Saturday night activities bring!

On Sunday some students went and volunteered at the Leadville Loppet, a cross country ski race at the local Colorado Mountain College. We piled into a bus with the water, garbage cans, cups, and snacks necessary for an aid station. We split up into two groups, one at the 12K mark and one at 6K mark, which was at the bottom of a steep hill followed by a sharp turn. Because these past few weeks have been warm and there wasn’t a lot of snow, the team at the 12K aid station had to shovel snow onto the road that the course crossed so the skiers didn’t have to take off their skis. A few HMI faculty including Margi, one of our science teachers, skied in the race. It was fun to cheer them on as they went past our aid stations. Many kids and adults skiing the 5K and 10K were in costume. We saw a bat, a Spiderman, and a lot of neon tutus. The day was very high energy and filled with laughter.

This week marked our first “normal” week on campus at HMI, and in addition to diving into academic life on campus, we’ve also had “electivities,” which occur every Wednesday for an hour and a half. These activities include Waste Warriors, a program where HMI students go to educate local Leadville lower-schoolers on recycling and compost; Capture, a photography course that takes pictures of daily life on campus; Docs and Discussion, a class that meets to watch and discuss documentaries; Minimalism, a class that reads stories and watches videos about how to live simply; River Watch, a science class that performs titration labs on the local rivers around campus; Stretch, a yoga class that practices stretching and breathing exercises; and Readiculous Readers, a group that goes off campus to the Leadville elementary school to tutor grades 3 through 6 in science, math, and reading. This week Readiculous Readers helped 6th graders learn about physics and long division and multiplication, while other HMI students read to 3rd and 4th graders. Whether we spend time helping the Leadville community, or relax with a few yoga poses in Stuen Hall, electivities have been a great way for students to move outside of their comfort zone and do something they have never done before. These electivities will switch half way through the semester, and students will be given the opportunity to try another completely different activity.


Photos (top to bottom) taken by Semester 36 students Maddie Kauffman, Liv Henrikson, Liv Henrikson, and Maddie Kauffman

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