The blog of Robert W. Hill III

The Things They Carried

I couldn’t resist heading over to the Middle School as they prepared to depart for an overnight orientation experience at Camp Becket, under the guidance of our incredibly dedicated faculty. Students carried their gear in any manner of expedience, from duffle to plastic bags. I looked for a protruding teddy bear and found one gingerly stowed in one student’s belongings. What I did not see were iPods, cell phones, Blackberries, or other assorted electronic “necessities” of the contemporary teenager’s life.

On their trip, middle school students had a chance to unplug—and in the case of ropes course work, harness up—as they got to know one another better and enjoy camp life for a day and a half. Their learning experiences at Camp Becket were personal, interactive, and intentionally “old school.” In contrast, their world at Whitaker-Bement this year will be defined by one-to-one laptop computing so students can access the work they did at school while doing homework by virtue of cloud-computing—it’s a learning environment of truly astonishing and limitless potential!

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Green Shirts and Green Shoots

There’s nothing at all that approximates the opening days of school on a boarding school campus, and experiencing my first registration and orientation at The Williston Northampton School has been astonishing. Green shirted proctors are everywhere on campus, leading new families through a well-choreographed series of stations and stops; ninth grade students hardly had time to reflect on their new surroundings before heading to an overnight camp for orientation with an incredible team of teachers dedicated to the Ninth Grade Program; the slow gaits of student-athletes making their way to the dining commons following two-a-day practices show that even teenagers can get tired; and our international students have already made a significant contribution to the local community by their volunteer efforts helping to construct a playground — all before classes have even begun. Williston’s 170th year is underway and if opening days are any indication, it’s going to be quite a year!

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