Students Share Gratitude for Semester 47 Apprentices

The Apprentice Program is a professional residency in traditional and outdoor education. Apprentices participate as students and teachers in support of the HMI semester. Apprentices gain experience teaching in a classroom setting, leading groups in the wilderness of Colorado and Utah, and act as advisors in residential life. Apprentices attend a bi-weekly seminar during which they participate in discussions about education and their personal teaching experience. In addition, the school expects that apprentices demonstrate a high regard for, and awareness of, the school culture and rules, uphold the responsibility given to them by the faculty, and dedicate themselves fully to their time and experience at HMI.  This blog is in the form of student gratitude dedicated to our Semester 47 apprentices.

In one word, Diana is wise. I feel so lucky to have gotten to know her both as a cabin head, history teacher, and a leader on expeditions. She brightens every space she enters with the perfect combination of humor, composure, and much needed advice. On one particularly long hiking day on the second expedition, she almost made me break down in tears (of laughter), bouncing jokes around the canyons and giving me the energy to keep going after almost wiping out in the mud. She is generous with both feedback and compliments, and has a way of making you feel valued that is impossible to forget. Her dry humor and sarcastic quips, coupled with unflinching honesty, cut straight to the bone, though she is obviously anything but mean-spirited. Her passion for history and teaching is apparent every time I sit in her class; she manages an excited (and occasionally distractible) class with ease, expertly and intentionally balancing laughter with productivity, never sacrificing one for the other. She has taught me so much about the importance of holding oneself accountable for mistakes and how we all possess the ability to grow through difficult situations. Her poise and self-assuredness, along with her willingness to take in feedback, both positive and critical, make her an excellent role model and community member. I can’t imagine HMI without her, and I speak for her cabin, students, and the HMI community as a whole when I say she has played a crucial part in shaping Semester 47 as one filled with laughter, intentionality, and joy. – Cassie

Diana, Semester 37 History Apprentice

When we think of Emma, we think of the apprentice who embodies the definition of spontaneity. Whether it’s a sunrise hike at 5AM in the morning on exped or a bike ride after a busy day, Emma is always down for anything. She carries with her passion beyond belief. We can see the excitement in her face when she’s jamming out to Billy Strings, watching ballet and Casey Neistat, talking for hours about skiing, or completing every logic puzzle in existence. She inspires all of us each day to follow our passions and “let our freak flags fly.” Emma brightens everyone’s day with her infectious smile. We look forward to trail conversations sharing our lives and hearing all about hers. She makes herself so approachable, and whoever is talking to her feels her excitement to get to know each and every student. Emma is “the cool mom” who is willing to sit with you for hours on end. We admire how willing she is to take risks and how she never runs from a challenge. We are appreciative of the endless hard work she puts into her classes, always looking to grow and incorporate feedback. She knows how to give tough love and keeps us in check when we grow out of control. We can see her genuine care for everyone in this community. Emma’s the type of person to encourage us when we are walking through a boulder field. She’s the type of person to help carry a 40lbs backpack on top of her own when we are unable to. As soon as something new happens in our life, she’s the one we want to tell. Her humor keeps us going on a long day and when we are playing a game of “cactus or Cameron Diaz” or “Contact”, Emma keeps us entertained and excited to hike every step of the way. Whether we are walking past Emma on the boardwalk, sitting at the sports field, hanging out in Who’s Hall, cooking in the mornings, or biking in the freezing cold, her personality shines through and we leave every conversation with a smile on our faces and memories we will never forget. Her involvement and interest in being an active member of the HMI community is truly unparalleled. To quote some members of the community Emma is: free-spirited, compassionate, inspiring, caring, creative, and so much more. Many of us look up to Emma as a role model and we can say with absolute certainty that none of our experiences at HMI would be the same without her. Thank you to Emma for all she does. We love Emma Johnson so incredibly much! -Langley & Jasmine

Emma, Semester 47 Humanities Apprentice

The first expedition with Anna was such a blast! She was the most comforting and reassuring presence, no matter how exhausting the day was, bringing her level-headedness and many trail games. During packs-off breaks, she’d inspire us with her random yet insightful knowledge and captivating life stories. On-campus, she’s just as fun. During science, she is enthusiastic about everything she teaches and genuinely wants every student to feel that same excitement. Anna is always there during study hall to lend a hand with projects and to answer the many (many) questions we have. In the cabin, she brings her warm and caring personality along with her funny random comments that always brighten the mood. One night she even showed us her impressive oil pastel creations that she had made! During her Think Tank, she shared a unique story about the history of the color red—no one else would know about something so obscure yet so fascinating. We are always eager to see what she makes when it’s her day to make breakfast. She has made pumpkin French toast, latkes, pancakes, and more. Her experience as a past Summer Term student gives us great insight into the student experience and advice about anything. Students describe Anna as artistic, multitasking, and passionate. We love Anna! -Adeline & Grace

Anna, Semester 47 Science Apprentice & Summer Term 2016 Alum

Throughout this semester, the apprentices have played a crucial role in the well-being and day to day lives of the students. I could speak about each and every one of them as they have such an incredible impact on our experience here at HMI, however, in this blog I will be focusing on an apprentice who we all aspire to be when we grow up, Eileen. Eileen has not only been a mentor, role model, and teacher to me but also my (best) friend. They have laughed with me in my most ridiculous moments on expeditions, eaten meals with me when I am feeling overwhelmed and encouraged me to grow into my most authentic self. It is not a secret that this experience is life-changing and each student leaves this place changed for the better. For me, I have Eileen to thank for the person I have become here and for teaching me what it means to be myself. My first real interaction with them was on the second expedition. As we sat debriefing our first day of hiking, Eileen and I sat across from each other and I noticed we had the same hiking boots. We laughed and then it dawned on me that my boots felt a little big, and they said that they felt that theirs were a little small. Turns out we switched hiking boots: Eileen hiking in boots that were a size and a half too small for them, but not a single word of complaint. We laughed and switched boots back, but I will never forget that day with them. The role model they have become for me sprang from that day and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to get to know Eileen over the past four months. To Eileen: thank you for constantly making me laugh, and forever giving me great advice. You treat students as equals and make us all feel important and loved. You are the best apprentice and friend and teacher I could ever ask for. -Anna J

Eileen, Semester 47 English Apprentice

The cabin 5 apprentice Luke is the most incredible person I’ve ever been fortunate enough to meet. He has helped me through an uncountable number of problems. He is the funniest, nicest, and most helpful person in the world. One of the most fond memories that I have with him is when we were walking around the cabin loop. I was telling him about very difficult things going on in my life, and how I was having a hard time on campus. I was scared to go back home and nervous about what would happen to the person who I’d become on campus. We spent roughly 45 minutes talking and he only had the best things to say. He talked me through everything and explained how it isn’t going to be easy going back but it won’t be impossible. He said that I will never be out of touch with the people here and the connections I’ve made won’t disappear. I can’t express in words how much I love Luke and how much of an integral part he has played in my life. -Ansel

Luke, Semester 47 Science Apprentice

Westly is one of the most kind, caring, supportive people on the HMI campus. Her passions for teaching Math are inspiring, and we all love her a lot. On the first day of HMI, Westly sat outside of our cabin welcoming us with open arms. We played telephone Pictionary that night in a room full of strangers, but Westly has always made it feel like home. Westly’s laughter and compassion echoes across campus and we all look forward to sitting with her at dinner, going to her math classes, or just having random sporadic conversations in the halls. We love Westly’s breakfast: her staple is avocado toast and smoothie bowls, a fan favorite. Westly is also a fantastic magician, her magic powers include: being the best listener ever, always knowing what to say, and having the perfect mix of silliness and seriousness. If you were lucky enough to have Westly on expedition, you would know that she brings her backpacking expertise, epic sense of humor, and support through difficult times that exped brings! Westly is always there to offer us advice, and is well versed in the ways of HMI as she was a student only a few years ago. We will miss Westly a ton when we leave, but Westly’s impact on us will stay with us forever. We love you Wes! -Chloe

Westly, Semester 47 Apprentice & Semester 34 Alum

We are all so lucky to have been part of the same semester as Nick. His constant kindness and understanding in the cabin and throughout all of HMI brighten all of our days and make our time at HMI all the more special. Whether he’s guiding us through meetings, debating Drake quotes in the cabin, or lending a listening ear and some good advice on frates (friend dates), Nick is always there to help us grow and live in the moment. His incessant positivity and genuine interest in our lives makes every space he walks into feel more comfortable and safe, and his humor and friendliness make every conversation memorable and interesting. His iconic fashion and cheerful catchphrases can fill any room, and his calm and collected teaching style makes P&P the perfectly engaging class that it is. Nick’s willingness to share his own experiences and goals and to be fully open and honest with us makes him as much a friend as a teacher, and his timeless wisdom and seemingly infinite patience for our wild tangents during cabin meetings make him an incredible role model. In the past few months, we’ve all come to admire Nick, for his humor and kindness as well as his advice and intentionality. When we need advice or just someone to talk to, we always know that we can count on him. Without him to keep us grounded and living in the moment, Semester 47 truly wouldn’t have been the same.
-Jack M.

Nick, Semester 37 Wilderness Apprentice