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Middle School
Exploration Courses

Inaugural Exploration Block

Lamplighter Staff
Friday marked the first day of the brand new Exploration Block at Derryfield, where students have nineteen choices for classes--ranging from Bee Keeping to Financial Literacy to Rugby. These classes are part of the new Derryfield schedule, offering students a chance to pursue interests and passions outside of the regular academic grind. They will meet two out of every eight days. 

After the initial hallway rush quieted down, Lamplighter’s own reporters fanned out to find out how the new classes were going. In the theater, Mr. Westenberg was presenting to his Craft of Acting class on a historical story about the evolution of performance -- particularly on the difference between “imaginary” acting and “reality” acting. 

“Some may say that acting is from real, lived experiences on the stage; that is BS. That’s not what acting is… it should be using your imagination,” Mr. Westenberg said. The plan for the start of the course is to focus on the chemistry between two people while working on a particular scene. 

In Introduction to Beekeeping, it was all about safety first. Students were busy learning how to put on protective suits as they prepared to visit the beehives for the first time. Though the students were excited about their first day, there were some reservations: “Mr. Watt [the beekeeping leader] said we will [get stung],” said senior Olivia Strong. 

Senior Brady McGinley added, “He said he’s been stung 25 times.” 

En route to the hives, Mr. Watt explained that bears were also frequent visitors to the hives, often eating the bees for protein. To combat this issue, along with electrical fences, Mr. Watt had set out aluminum foil with peanut butter for these unwelcome visitors.

The concerns in the Model UN classroom were quite different. Model UN got right down to business with an active discussion led by instructors Dr. Karlin and Mr. Tanner-Reed about the United Nations’ beginnings and its purpose. The students participating in this class, with numbers exceeding thirty people, were listening intently with laptops out. 

Meanwhile, out in the woods, students in the Low/High Ropes course were beginning to climb on the various obstacles of the low ropes course. They were focused on spotting one another as they began their first challenge through the low ropes, grouped in pairs or groups of three. Freshman Caden Cole told us she had experience with ropes courses, and she was particularly excited for the high ropes, which the class will cover later on in the term. 

At the reinvented Yearbook Club, there were clear goals in mind for the course. According to Dr. Gauthier, the yearbook has looked pretty much the same for over thirty years; the aim is to transform the yearbook into something that resonates with students today. During the first class, the class looked through old yearbooks to gain inspiration and ideas on how to shape the new yearbook. 

“We’re really trying to figure out how to bring more of the community into the yearbook, like Brooklyn said earlier, in the past it’s been a little stale,” Ms. Mandeville, the course leader, said. 

Community Connections is another Exploration block course offering. It will focus on volunteer work and engaging with public service organizations around Manchester. 

“We can learn from each other,” Ms. Grodman said as the students paired up with others who they do not typically tend to talk to. Everyone was engaged and the class seemed to enjoy listening to the different ways others had volunteered. Almost all of them had experience with helping the community at Derryfield and away from it. Topics that came up included Easter Seals and Special Olympics, among others.

Even though Friday was only the second day of school and the first day of the Exploration Block, energy was high among students and teachers alike as they ventured outside of the classroom and perhaps outside of their comfort zones as well. 

By Lamplighter Staff
Contributors include Julia Tilton 20, Erica Moore 20, Anna Induni 22, Gavin Kurdek 22, Eliza Lamont 22, Emily Litchfield 23, Sarah Murphy 23, Jillian Weinstein-Price 22
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The Derryfield School

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