Semester 45: AMX, Throwdown Showdown, and Looking Forward to Halloween!

Written by: Asa, Skyler, Lauren, Abby, & Lucy

Each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, HMI students go on a run, known as AMX (morning exercise). Although runs are only mandatory on certain days, some students run every day of the week, as they find running to be a meditative way to clear their minds amidst the busyness of campus life. AMX is also an opportunity to explore nature around the HMI campus. Students can run on the county roads around HMI, to the nearby Fish Hatchery, or on the Bureau of Land Management trails that extend to Turquoise Lake north of the HMI campus. Each week or so, students go on a longer run (4-6 miles) to prepare them for the 10-mile “Fun Run” at the end of the semester. Students are encouraged to challenge themselves; for some, this means running long distances and trying to set personal records. For others, this means running a mile without stopping. This challenge provides a key area of growth for students at HMI and gets them in shape for the expedition. This past week, students reached an impressive 6-mile benchmark—we all felt very proud upon finishing. Semester 45 is feeling (almost) ready for this ten mile race!

This past Saturday cabins partook in the semi-annual “Cabin Showdown Throwdown.” This activity was a round-robin tournament with games such as dance-offs, blind trusts exercises, bizarre tasks such as flipping a mat with your feet, and other exciting yet random activities. Cabins showed up in matching costumes that varied from all black outfits, bedsheet togas, and fancy dresses. Judged by Gabi (the History Apprentice), Kienan (the Wilderness Apprentice), and Hayden (Science & Residential Life Faculty), students left it all out on the floor. Though Cabin 3 took home the gold, it was quite a showing of strength, persistence, and goofiness by all.

Academics at HMI are rigorous but enjoyable because of the unique teaching styles and engaging lessons. The teachers establish a friendly and encouraging relationship with their students which makes them want to come to class every day and learn. They are always there to help whether it’s during office hours, meals, or study hall. Although the classes are about an hour and a half, time flies by. The conversations had during discussions continue in cabins and beyond. They challenge students to change the way they think and find new ways of understanding. Since the students call their teachers by their first names, this establishes a friend to friend relationship in addition to a student-teacher one. This makes teachers seem more approachable and makes classes seem more similar to a conversation rather than a required class. The grading system also provides a lot of comfort to students who can be incredibly stressed out because of the typical grading system. The grading scale of 1-4 provides room for improvement. Instead of receiving a C on a test, you could receive a 2 meaning that you are still at the beginning stages of your learning. The untraditional teaching at HMI gives the student a new way to approach learning that gives them a good experience in the class room. 

At HMI, the place-based learning is really engaging. For some, it definitely feels more engaging that traditional school. Currently, in Practices & Principles: Ethics of the Natural World (P&P) we are learning about the fragility of “Stuff and Things” and how consumerism is really blinding in our society. These conversations are particularly insightful when considering ordering packages to HMI, and how easy it may seem. But, when you dig deeper, the challenges that this type of consumerism poses for a sustainable future become more clear.

Cabin life is full of laughter and this week, it is also full of spooky scary decorations! Some students have taken to decorating their cabins. In particular, Cabin 4 has covered the walls in decorations for Halloween (they are quite excited, and have been planning their costumes for quite some time..stay tuned to next week’s blog to hear about student’s costumes!). At night, cabins have been playing fun games. One game that has struck a fancy is called “werewolf.” To quote members of the community, this game is “like mafia but actually takes skill and strategy, so its basically much cooler.” Nights are getting colder here in Leadville, so fires are necessary. In fact, we had to do some intense shoveling because Leadville received over a foot of snow this past weekend! We are anticipating this is just the beginning, and that there is more snow and below zero temperatures to come!