Semester 37: “Getting as much as we can from these last few days”

This last week of the semester means a last push for the academics. In almost all of our classes we have had final projects. While this sounds stress-inducing, almost all of the projects were presentations, making them more interesting than papers and research projects. It is a very HMIthing to have all of the final aspects of classes be a student speaking in front of the class about something that they chose to talk about, (hopefully) meaning that they care about it. This exercises creativity, public speaking with confidence and being dynamic in front of an audience. In P+P, we had to do our “PEEP”s (Personal Environmental Ethic Project) which included a presentation of our personal ethics of the natural world and an explanation of our creative component of our project. In science, we presented what we had done and found for our final field studies, experiments about Lake County that we had chosen based on what interests us. In English, we are concluding our performance unit and our final project is a performance of a scene based on one of the novels we had read this semester that we had written parts of. This last push for academics has made everyone ready for our last day of classes on Wednesday! While this excitement exists, it brings us back to the reality that the semester is soon coming to an end, and people are feeling those end-of-the-school-year vibes, even though we just finished a semester. Everyone is facing this hard reality and (attempting) to accept it while also getting as much as we can from these last few days all together as a community. There is love, laughter and smiles everywhere.

On Saturday morning, about halfway through our first class, Alex accidentally burned a tray of croutons, setting off the fire alarms and summoning the fire department. The whole semester huddled in the parking lot, waiting for the fire trucks to arrive so we could go back inside, out of the cold. Because we had some time to kill in the parking lot (and considering we’ve gotten dumped with snow numerous times in the past week), snowball fights obviously ensued. Some students dove behind the trucks, trying to avoid the flying snow, while others built up an ammunition of snowballs. Some students tried to throw Noah into the snow, as revenge for the multiple times he’s pushed us into the snow. Then, he proceeded to push us in multiple times, until we were soaking wet from the melted snow. After the snowball excitement died down, many students stood in a circle, holding hands, and sang Christmas carols, a norm at HMI. Finally, the fire department arrived, and assured us that our beloved Who’s Hall was not going to burn to the ground, and so we were allowed to return to class.

The 10th of December was the day. The day we were all (kind of) looking forward to. The 10th of December was the Fun Run! The Fun Run is when all able students run 10 miles. The morning of the 10th was beautiful. The Colorado blue sky was not blocked by clouds and the temperature was perfect. However, once we finished classes for the day and loaded up the buses to take us to our starting point, it started to dump snow. Before the run we were nervous. Now, the fact that it began to snow hard added to our nervousness. As much as we love snow, this was not the right time for mother nature to do its thing. However, the race started and the first portion of our run was downhill. After around two miles, we hit our first turn. We turned right and continued on. We approached the Leadville golf course and ran past it. At that point, we could see Lake County Road 5A, the road that takes us back to HMI. As much as we wanted to turn onto 5A, we were determined to run through the snow and complete the 10 miles. We ran, and ran,  and ran. Then at one point in the run we hit a long stretch of road that felt like it went on forever. After running for ages, we could see the Outward Bound headquarters of Leadville and then shortly after the National Fish Hatchery was in sight. By that point, there was about 2.5 miles left. This is where we had to push ourselves. There were numerous hills we had to run up which was very difficult. Ultimately, we made it to the driveway of HMI and then finally ran to the end. Relief at last! Well, for some. There was a good amount of students who ran for another three miles to complete a half marathon. But, we all convened back at HMI and then relaxed after a long day of running. The run was complete.

Following a week of promposals and approximately three hours after the Fun Run, the students of HMI had prom. After enjoying a plated meal of fish/tofu, orzo, peas, and broccoli, each couple limped into Who’s Hall, not having recovered from the earlier run. With Avery as DJ, we tried to dance through the exhaustion we felt. We took pictures in our mock photo booth, and did the wobble and sang “Closer” at the top of our lungs. As the night ended, we all stood in a circle and sang Rivers and Roads, the one song that can make us all cry, especially as the semester nears its close.

On the 11th of December, The students of HMI Semester 37 ventured to Ski Cooper in Leadville. For many it was their first day skiing in months and for some their first day skiing ever. The night before it snowed 14 inches at Ski Cooper, the most in Colorado. We arrived that morning and journeyed into the lodge to stand in line excitedly awaiting our skis. At the rental area we found out that we couldn’t rent goggles and dozens of students were left to share. Once we received our skis we all fell into the lifts and started our way up the mountain. For some it was a lift ride full of excitement and others full of fear and wondering how they would get back down. The first run was terrifying for many as they struggled to stop and agonizing for some as they were stopped by the powder. After that first run everyone found their groove and we all tried to get in as many runs as possible. Even though it was a struggle for us to turn since our legs ached from the 10 mile run the day before, we made it through with smiles on our faces. We left at 3:00 feeling the burning in our thighs and the cold in our fingers. The buses back were warm and full of exhausted skiers happy with their adventure for the day.

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