Semester 40: “These types of experiences we can only get at HMI”

February 28, 2018

This past weekend was packed with activity and entertainment. On Friday night, HMI hosted its first coffee house; a chance for students and faculty to display their talents to the community. The variety in the show surprised us; there was everything from beautiful singing performances to magic shows to Chicago fun-fact presentations. The apprentices also surprised us with a beautifully executed lip sync performance of “Stick to the Status Quo” from High School Musical.  The support from the entire community was overwhelming, and applause lasted minutes rather than seconds. Of course with all of the energy from the coffee house, we hosted a dance party afterwards and danced and screamed lyrics until we collapsed into bed, obviously all before 10:30pm. The next day, we had the opportunity to participate in the Leadville Loppet, an annual Nordic ski race. HMI students donned their usual crazy costumes including vintage ski coats, animal onesies and silly head wear. While some chose to try skate skiing, most stuck with classic. We all loaded into the buses and walked to the starting line of the 10K race. With many whoops and cheers, the HMI community started off on the 5K uphill to the halfway point. We talked and huffed and puffed and sang until we reached the aid station, greeted by familiar HMI faces with a cold drink and many cheers. The way down was a breeze for many and as we crossed (or fell!) across the finish line we felt triumphant in our success. After some complimentary blueberry soup, we headed to the awards ceremony for some more fantastic soup made by the community. We clapped as fellow students won awards, and slept on the way home from the race. The rest of the weekend was filled with well-deserved naps, a tremendously engaging science lab (in which we played in the snow and took samples for an experiment), and the usual good times.

This week at HMI is Ski Week! This means we are all heading to the local ski mountain, Ski Cooper, to learn how to telemark ski. Before the week started everyone was buzzing with excitement for the days to come, and feeling the anticipation in everyone was wonderful. On the first day we woke up earlier than usual for breakfast and packed our paper bag lunches. Hopping on the bus with friends was so exciting, thinking about how this was our school. This was a school day. Wow! We have never been skiing on a mountain and then been back in a classroom presenting about current events within the same hour! Everyone joining together in something new (our telemarking experience) is such an amazing bonding experience. Getting to learn with friends with friends made the falling even better! One of the things that I find so cool about our community is that we have classmates who have never skied before, and then we have an expert telemarker or two. To think that soon we’ll be using our skills out in the backcountry on winter expedition is amazing. Recently we have been doing a lot of work with snow in science, and we were able to do a lab on snowpack and went out into the field to collect data. it all came full circle today while at Ski Cooper: some of us started thinking about what types of metamorphosis the snow we were skiing on had undergone. How cool is it was that we were thinking that? These types of experiences we can only get at HMI.

This week cabins chose who would be their cabin representatives. Amelia, Olivia, Raffi, Luke and Kai are representatives. Each week they will be present at staff meetings and weekend meetings with Hayden. It is important for students to know that their voices matter, and the representatives represent the student’s interest. Also this week student activities changed so we are having fun rock climbing, card making, poetry writing, playing snow volleyball,  broomball, and practicing cross country skiing! Many student-led clubs and activities also started this week including Step Club, Avatar: the Last Airbender Club, and the Queer Alliance group. We also had a new and exciting morning exercise routine with the Science faculty Coco doing a dance routine. As second expedition approaches, we’re all excited because we can’t wait for living in a quigloo (snow shelter) and getting to know each other even better.

We have only been taking classes at HMI for two weeks, but classes are already in full swing. In science class, we have been studying snow in preparation for Winter Expedition. Last Saturday, we went to the Mt. Evans basin to study the density of snow. It turns out that this year Colorado has had much less snowfall in comparison to past years! We begin math class each day with an engaging, thought-provoking problem that we work through as a class. It is a great way to get our brains working and practice our collaboration skills. In English class, we have begun a novel called Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko, which is a story about an American Indian war veteran. In History class, we have spent a lot of time discussing the ways in which we use and view education. We are all working on being more conscious and critical learners! In Practice and Principles: Ethics of the Natural World, we have been discussing the concept of morality. This week in class, we discussed animal rights and if equality should be extended to animals . Everybody had very different opinions on this topic, which makes for really interesting conversation. Overall, classes have been very student-led and placed-based!