As Wednesday approached (our last day of classes), we were frantic to get all of our work in. Monday through Wednesday was filled with essay writing and presentation practicing. In Josh’s english class, our final project was to chose a scene from any text we’ve read over the semester, adapt it by adding dialogue, and perform it. Liz’s English class worked together to write a short novel. In science we gave three minute TED talks about our independent labs. In P&P, we presented our PEEPs (Personal Environmental Ethic Projects). They were all so creative and ranged from original films, to calendars, to children’s books. Our last day of classes was not filled with the shouts of joy that most of us are used to at our home schools, but tears. For our very last science class, we went to the Aspen Grove where we did our very first lab back in September, only this time we were waist deep in snow. We sat in the snow and reflected on science class this semester and all of the ways we’ve grown. The students who take Spanish went cross country skiing for their very last class. Advanced Spanish’s ski adventure quickly turned into a snowball fight in which they tackled each other into the fluffy snow. It seems safe to say that most of Semester 37 has never been so sad to be done with classes.
On Thursday, we all ventured out into the woods for our 9 hour solo. We made sandwiches for lunch, packed our backpacks for the last time, and trudged through three feet of snow to get to our designated solo spots along the mile loop. Some of us brought shovels to dig out our temporary 25’ by 25’ homes, others brought hammocks, and some built makeshift igloos. Most of us spent a considerate chunk of our solo time taking well-deserved naps and writing our Full Circle reflections, which we will all share with each other in Stuen Hall on Saturday. Fortunately, it was a relatively warm, sunny day for most of our solo time, and we were lucky enough to avoid being snowed on until the last hour, around 4:00pm. We were all thankful for the opportunity to unwind and relax, as the past few weeks have been extremely busy with activities such as the 10 mile Fun Run (which was surprisingly fun), prom, skiing, and completing the last big projects for classes.
On Friday, we undertook the task of cleaning the entire campus. We rushed to remove all of our items from every building, and packed frantically before cleaning our chore areas with diligence. We spent all morning on our chore areas, supervised by teachers and apprentices before receiving the stamp of approval from Noah. While doing this, we would intermittently de-issue, giving back the backpacks that carried our lives for three expeditions. After lunch, cleaning slowed down, and students began to take on different tasks, such as cleaning out cabins, moving wood, and putting the finishing touches on Full Circle reflections.
As the semester comes to a close, we find ourselves looking back on all the moments—the good, the better, and the beautiful—that made this fall so special. On Thursday night, to wind down from our lone, nine hour session in the woods, we performed skits highlighting notable moments or poking fun at fellow students and faculty. Imagining the apprentices in interviews gave spot on impressions of Barrett, Arthur, and Meena. We saw Cabin 3 members’ future careers as tattoo artists and an HMI Semester 37 reunion at an old folks’ home. The festivities lightened the mood and took our minds of off the impending departure. On a more serious note, we took quality time to reflect on our time at HMI during our solos and turned those thoughts into five minute speeches to present to the community during our final “Full Circle” ceremony. Friday night our advisors invited us to their homes to have a final meal as an advisory. Over warm, home cooked meals, we practiced our Full Circle speeches and reminisced about the semester and expeditions we’ve experienced together. These memories from our four months in Leadville that we hold so dear will never be forgotten.