The semester has become increasingly filled with intense activity and excitement for what lies ahead of us. This past week has been a flurry of emotions found through our daily interactions with people we have come to love: joy in watching Danny’s kids stumble around their playground, sorrow as our apprentice Hannah gave her final goodbyes before leaving for grad school, determination in the grueling sun of the Fun Run, poignancy as we witness the inescapable passage of time leads our semester to a close. We are conflicted by both our hopes that we will never leave this place and our anticipation of arriving home. The community is bittersweet as we approach the final days of being here together.
Academics are different for everyone, but in most classes the apprentices have taken over. Noah is now in charge of science class, and he has led his classes through the history of the world. Every step we took on the mile loop was 2 million years until we reached the present day. Tori is now teaching Spanish, specifically about the border between America and Mexico. People in (formally known as) Emily’s math class now are experiencing having Garrett teach them the wonders of numbers. Howie’s English class is now honored with the presence of Claire, who helped us explore gender in the west through Brokeback Mountain. On Saturday we had our first lab run by Noah. We went out and either hiked or drove to look at rocks and make written observations. If you were in Liz’s history class, Tori taught her unit on activism and we watched the documentary “How to Survive a Plague,” which started her uncle (who we got to interview!). We were all saddened when we had out final P&P class before presenting our final projects. We were given the names of authors, and had to match them up to quotes from their writing—which was a lot harder than expected. The final thing on everyone’s minds academically is that our capstone projects (finals) are being assigned. As of right now, when you parents are reading this, your kids are most likely thinking about what their P&P final will be, and how they will present their science research.
As we enter into the last week of classes here, many students are starting to think of summer and the hard goodbyes they will have to say in two weeks’ time. But their classmates will be quick to let them know that rather than thinking about the sad prospect of heading home, we should all focus on enjoying the time we have left with our friends. Why not put our energy into enjoying Leadville’s beauty to the fullest for a little while longer? After months of cold and snow, the HMI campus is officially on its way to summer. Fires aren’t being built in cabins any longer, and there isn’t any more snow to shovel. The preferred recreation of most HMI students is a walk on the mile loop or a quick game of table tennis on the Barnes Building porch. There is also a new craze sweeping the campus population: the “Frate,” or friend-date, as coined by our very own Danny, is letting us make new friends or catch up with our old ones. It’s late in the semester, but that doesn’t mean new friendships can’t be created.
This past weekend was the most largely anticipated weekend of any HMI weekend before. Forty-eight students were forced to put their three and a half months of running to the test in a 10 mile race. The Fun Run (as it is commonly referred) is an end of the year run where students dress up, put face paint on, and focus themselves on running 10 miles back to the HMI campus. The faculty drive us out towards the local ski mountain to run a course that is exactly 10 miles long. After motivational speeches and an extensive overview of the course, all the students embark on one last running hurrah. The route encompasses several of the runs we’ve been doing the entire semester including six mile loop, the fish hatchery, and both sets of train tracks. After pushing ourselves to the fullest extent and reaching the HMI campus, we had the opportunity to go back out and run an extra three miles to complete a half marathon. A large of the students chose this option which is one of the hardest mental barriers to overcome. Overall we all had a great time and sit proudly with how hard we pushed ourselves. We would stand proud, however, I would like to see anyone try and stand after running a half marathon.