Before the first day of classes, Upper School students took trips around the area and participated in group activities with members of their grade. These annual opening-year outings help students build a strong sense of community with their peers, which serves as a foundation for their time in the Upper School.
This year marked the return of one of Calhoun's longest-standing traditions, an overnight camping trip for ninth graders. The group traveled to YMCA Camp Mason and was joined by 18 senior Peer Leaders, who work closely with the ninth graders throughout the first half of the school year. The camping trip was a fun and valuable opportunity for our new and returning students to renew friendships and make new ones. With the support of their Peer Leaders, ninth graders engaged in a wide range of team-building challenges and group activities that help to build community and create bonds across grades.
Tenth graders spent their opening activities learning about conservation and social and emotional well-being. They began by taking sessions offered by Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservatory’s Environmental Education Center and the landscape architecture firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. The following day, they spent the morning with principals from Riverside Park Conservancy and in the afternoon they participated in a number of social and emotional activities. This included a bird walk led by educators from Wild Bird Fund, a meditation and yoga session led by principals from the Nalanda Institute, and a salsa history and dance session led by Calhoun alumna Stephanie Nuñez '09.
The eleventh grade began their community-building activities by visiting museums and historical sites in lower Manhattan: the African Burial Ground Monument and Museum, the Museum of the American Indian and a combined trip to Federal Hall and Trinity Church. They continued the next day with another Calhoun tradition: a trip to Black Rock Forest for a day of hiking.
Seniors participated in activities led by the College Counseling team to help them reflect on their time at Calhoun and prepare for the year ahead. They were joined virtually by Ann Fleming Brown, the director of admissions from Union College in upstate NY, who gave the seniors advice for networking with college admissions officers this fall. They also participated in an activity designed to help each senior identify and amplify their unique strengths as they begin to write college applications.