E-term — out-of-the-box experiential learning — for high school students took place March 30-April April 5. Twelve groups explored interests and places near and far.
Four groups traveled a distance, with little disruption from Covid, unlike the past two years.
The Touring Choir traveled to Puerto Rico where they explored the beautiful islands and interacted with students at the Academia Menonita Betania. They shared programs at the school, as well as Iglesia Evangelica Menonita de Aibonito, Iglesia Menonita Betania, and Iglesia Evangelica Menonita de Coamo. They shared spontaneously at other sites, include Casa Retireo Aibonito, a retirement community. See more photos and videos on the group’s Facebook page.
For the first time, a Civil Rights trip traveled to Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma, Alabama, as well as Philadelphia and Meridian, Mississippi. Conversations with local tour guides and hosts who had been active in the Civil Rights Movement, and visits to monuments, memorials and museums brought to life history that had seemed remote previously. See a full article and photo gallery here.
An Appalachian Service, Culture, & Exploration group traveled to Grundy, Virginia, where they stayed at the Mountain Mission School, and finished a home renovation project through Mennonite Disaster Service and the Virginia Baptist Disaster Response. The group learned to know the owners of the house, whose home was damaged in a flood in August 2021. They also took in the beautiful scenery in Southwest Virginia, enjoyed a night of bluegrass music and clogging at the Carter Family Fold, and hiked in Breaks Interstate Park on the border of Virginia and Kentucky.
New York City has been a popular destination for E-term participants for nearly 15 years. Jennifer Young, middle school administrator and health and PE teacher, led the group together with Elwood Yoder, retired history teacher and former E-term leader. Hearing from two EMS alumni who live and work in the city added interest to seeing many of the typical sites and activities.
Jackson Cline ’13, spent nearly an hour with the group prior to seeing Wicked on Broadway. Cline shared about the challenges of launching an acting career, made even more difficult through a pandemic. A successful stage actor, he shared about the commitment it takes, working multiple jobs and staying focused. See his website to learn about the many productions on Cline’s growing resume.
Bethany Gingrich ’09 provided behind-the-scenes insight at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Gingrich provides support in The Met’s collections department. See more about her work here.
They also toured the United Nations with Chris Rice of Mennonite Central Committee.
Locally based groups included:
- Biking trails in the area, including trail maintenance at HillandDale’s mountain bike trails, Wester Slope Trails out of Keezeltown, Narrowback Trail (George Washington National Forest), and Chessie Trail (Lexington).
- Disc Golf, which included a half day of maintenance at Highland Retreat in Bergton, Va., before enjoying their disc golf course. Students got to play a disc golf course created on the family farm of the current World Disc Golf Champion, James Conrad, and met his dad who, plays on the Masters Pro Tour.
- Games, which involved strategy and competition with board games and an escape room visit.
- “Glocal! A tase of the World at Home,” introduced students to the world of taste and texture through preparing food from around the world.
- Local adventures, included time at Endless Caverns, the Safari Park in and a visit to Storybook Trail where they saw the sun set from Raven’s Roost.
- Self-care included lessons and practice in meditation, prayer, journaling, yoga, nutrition
- Fishing in local ponds. Students learned how to tie on hooks/lures, safely remove fish from hooks and how to choose which setup works best when fishing for certain types of fish.
- Tourageddon, for those who like intense video game competition.