Semester 46: First Weeks on Campus!

Written by: Grant, Eve, Molly & Cam

Semester 46 has enjoyed an amazing first two weeks of school on campus. The first weekend was especially fun! After classes on Saturday, Semester 46 got dressed up in the silliest costumes to go ice skating. They spent the afternoon at the rink together playing hockey, chatting, and racing. They then went back to campus for a bit of free time and had a big bonfire after dinner. There were s’mores, repeat-after-me songs, dancing, and much more. There was a big debate on how to cook a marshmallow for maximum deliciousness (there were a few people who loved the burnt taste). When all of the s’mores had been eaten, students went back to Who’s Hall and were greeted by games, music, and smiling faces. There was salsa dancing, poker, and board games. On Sunday morning, they woke up and got on all their ski gear. After breakfast, they started the Leadville Loppet—an annual Leadville cross country skiing event. It was a big four mile ski and the students were split into two groups. One group skied and the other rooted the skiers on at the aid station. After lunch, the roles switched. That weekend was definitely a highlight and Semester 46 is looking forward to many more just like it!

During the second week of classes, all students participated in a debate for their Practices and Principles: Ethics of the Natural World (P&P) class. The theme was food ethics and students took on the roles of arguing for PETA, Young Farmers, or Tyson Meats. PETA, which stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, argued entirely against all mass-produced meats for environmental and ethical reasons. The Young Farmers argued the middle ground where they supported small, sustainable, community farms for a more-ethical and environmentally appropriate approach to the production of meat. The Tyson Meats group argued for the continued use of animal husbandry to support the economic well-being of the American people. Students were pushed to defend sides they didn’t necessarily agree with which allowed them to expand their comfort zones both academically, and as a group. This approach allowed students to practice the skill of applying multiple perspectives to an argument while taking multiple views into account. All students did an exceptional job at defending their sides, and worked together as a class to broaden their understandings of the production of meat and animal husbandry in the U.S.

On Tuesday afternoons, students get the opportunity to try a new activity. The apprentices lead these activities, and this week the activity offerings were: how to make ice cream, tie dying, making stoves out of a soda cans, slavic singing, and snow sculpture. Nadia, the beloved science apprentice and slavic singing master, taught three lucky students a Macedonian song about women going to retrieve water from a well. The ice cream group lovingly made enough to share with everyone!  

The students at the snow sculpture activity had quite a bit of fun. At first, the students were divided up into two different teams, and both agreed to have a castle making competition. After lots of building, snowball fights, and other shenanigans, the students learned that both teams took a more creative approach to castle building. While one created a Game of Thrones themed “iron throne” using ice sickles, the other created a four foot tall, seven foot long disembodied foot. The second sculpture was complete with veins, nails, and cuticles. Needless to say, it was hard to declare a winner. With some time left over, students then went over to the swing set on HMI campus and proceeded to jump into the three foot deep snowbanks. All in all, it was a fantastic way to break up a Tuesday at school!

This week, we got to spend two science classes in the snow on the east side of Leadville. We dug snow pits and measured different aspects of the snowpack to gain a better understanding of our surrounding environment. Getting outside is a key part of our HMI curriculum, and this week was full of time in the sun and snow.