The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

New eighth grade Summit Trip includes trekking White Mountains

Eighth graders will learn about food waste, meteorology, and proper trail conduct, all while thousands of feet up in the air.

Last year, the eighth grade instituted Summit Trips, which allowed students to go on one of three trips for a week in May after exams. The students were able to pick the trip that interested them the most, like staying in Nicaragua, living on a farm in New York, or going on local excursions.

This year, Middle School Music Teacher Ms. Valerie Gould has a new, exciting idea for a Summit Trip.

“I will be leading one of the eighth grade Summit Trips with [Director of College Counseling] Mr. Ian Harkness,” Gould said. “We will be taking eighth graders up to the White Mountains in New Hampshire.”

Gould stated that she got the idea while designing the Eighth Grade Academy Block and talking about food waste.

“When I go up to these backcountry huts, the crews that work the huts have to carry everything in and then pack all the trash out,” Gould said. “How do they know how much food they need and how do they make sure they don’t create as much waste?”

While the trip will involve a lot of hiking, there are other values and important topics to learn while on the trail.

“We will be teaching them about trail stewardship, and leave no trace principles, such as not leaving litter or any sign of your presence when hiking a trail,” Gould stated. “They will be learning about food waste from the backcountry huts in the high mountains, and they’ll also be taking classes from the Appalachian Mountain Club.”

According to Gould, these sessions will teach the students about meteorology, geology and ecology of the area.

The students that are interested in the Summit Trip will be able to attend preliminary hikes that will prepare them for New Hampshire, Gould stated. She anticipates around ten students attending the Summit Trip.

The first Middle School hiking trip of this year, an excursion to Hawk Mountain in Kempton, PA, took place on October 12.

“Our first hiking trip was offered…for kids who thought they might be interested,” Gould said. “Including that one, it will be three or four hiking trips before New Hampshire.”

Hawk Mountain provided some preparation in a sense, but it was not an indication that the students who attended would automatically attend the New Hampshire Summit Trip, according to Gould.

The most recent trip to Hawk Mountain was offered to the members of the Upper School Outdoors Club as well as the eighth graders. Hawk Mountain served as an opportunity to both connect the Middle School with the Upper School Outdoors Club, and for the participating eighth grade students to see if they’d like to pursue the New Hampshire trip.

The Outdoors Club tries to do an outdoors-oriented event once a month or every six to eight weeks depending on timing, according to Harkness, who co-moderates the club.

“We had over one hundred kids sign up, and that has been one of the struggles,” Harkness said. “It comes down to time. How much time do the students have?”

While offered to everyone, only one member, sophomore Tommy Bevevino, attended the trip with the eighth graders.

“Tommy came to me and said he wanted to go,” Harkness said. “I think it was great that he could attend the trip.”

“It was pretty cool to be able to be outside and do something different during a school day,” Tommy said. “It was definitely a great opportunity that I’m glad I took.”

Tommy also stated that the mountain was very surreal and was an awesome place to visit.

Harkness said he hopes more students from Outdoors Club will go on future hikes, and feels they are great opportunities.

“Our goal with the trip was to just tag along with that Summit Experience,” Harkness said.  “Really it is an opportunity to explore the natural Pennsylvania ecosystem.”

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