Rights of Passage: 8th Grade Farm School

Middle School at Ocean Song for Farm School week of September 19, 2016

On Monday, September 19th, at eight thirty, the 8th grade class started a week of celebrating their rights of passage from middle school to highschool at Ocean Song, Occidental, a place they have been camping at as a class since fourth grade. The special events taking place that week were carefully planned by Ariel Leighton, Sam Hemminger and Mahala Bundy, three Synergy teachers who have been running the eighth grade rights of passage at farm school for many years. Many of these special events have been Synergy School traditions for many years.

The eighth graders started their week by creating an altar out of things that were special to them and/or reminded them of their childhood. Everyone took this idea differently, and there was a variety of objects brought, making a diverse, colorful altar. Even Leighton and Hemminger added special items for the altar, which made it even more meaningful.

msfarmschool2016157Tuesday was a special day. The kids spent all day at Four Winds, a ropes course facility that shares space with Ocean Song. The activities they did were impossible for one to do alone, which presented a bonding opportunity. They practiced putting off grudges they had for one another aside for the sake of working together and completing the activities. They took chances, but also had to realize what was too hard for them.

One of the most special moments to all of the kids was Thursday night. It was solo night, a night they spent sleeping in isolated sites away from one another without a tent. They stayed up until midnight engaging in special activities before going to bed in their separate spots. It was a chance to be alone with nature and the night; a memorable experience. Everyone got something good out of it, and many people later talked about it as their favorite part of the week.

When asked to talk about the experience, Anaya Jolivette said: “I thought that it was a very good experience that not a lot of schools get to have. I think that our class had a good time getting to know each other better, and that the scenery was exceptionally pleasant. The memory of going there for the last time was the best memory of all.”

At the beginning of the trip, when asked to write about what they wanted for the week, many of the kids wrote about how they wanted to learn more about one another and to come together as a class. By the end of the trip, they all felt that, though the trip had it’s ups and downs, that their wishes for the week had come true. The bonding activities planned along with the extra time that they had gave them time to talk with one another about themselves, each other, and about who they want to become as they grow up.

As the kids are growing apart as they spend the year getting ready to move on to high school, this experience allowed them to come together as a class, to bond, to make this whole year for them the best that it can be.

By Esmé Krummel, 8th grade student

Cross posted from the Synergy Howler

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