Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We Get to Have This Much Fun and Call It Our Job

So some people might actually call us insane.  Including myself.  But we planned back-to-back weekend retreats in September.  Oh, and with teenagers.  When you say "retreat," you may think calm and peaceful, but when you add in the word "teenager," you know it won't be. 

But we felt both retreats were really important, so we did it in spite of the insanity.  The first was with the entire 11th grade class.  11th grade is weird at HOPAC.  For various reasons (which I won't bore you with), we've had half of each 10th grade class leave at the end of the year.  So that means that for 11th grade, half of the students have been at HOPAC for years, and half are brand new.  Since previous classes have really struggled with this, we decided we would nip those divisions in the bud at the beginning of the school year and take them on a retreat.  Our goal:  Bonding and shared memories.  That's about it.  So that's what we did:  lots of fun games and lots of fun.  Did I mention fun?

This was from a game of Extreme Spoons.  I love it because it looks like Jenai is going to bite Izumi's leg off (over a spoon, no less). 

But see?  In real life they actually love each other. 

HOPAC Class of 2012

Weekend two was with our new Executive Student Council.  Gil and I decided that we really want to focus on leadership development this year, and one of the ways we will do that is by taking over Student Council.  So we took our six newly elected officers to our favorite beach house for the weekend.  This time, one of our goals was fun, but the other was planning.  We spent over 8 hours planning during the weekend, and it was excellent.  We came up with a year-long plan and started working on how we would carry it out.

We all decided that planning sessions while at a beach house, eating smores, is much more inspirational than a classroom.

All the students took turns getting pictures like this.... of course, Grace had to get in on the action as well.  You could say that Tesfaye got just a little more air than Grace did.  

The best thing about this beach is that it looks like this at low tide....

...and this at high tide, just a few hours later.

And there's our amazing team for the school year!  Tesfaye is Ethiopian, Ab is Tanzanian, Eve is half Tanzanian/half Russian, Anja is South African, and Jenai and Benji (brother and sister)....well, I'm not really sure what they are.  They have an American dad and an Irish mom but spent their lives growing up in a variety of other places.  In fact, they just got their U.S. passports but have never actually stepped foot in America before.  Go figure.
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