The freshman class kicked off the school year with a trip to the North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOB).
"Each year we send our freshman class to NCOB, where they are challenged with backpacking, rock climbing, back country living, map and compass navigation. Students also learn about negotiating the details of living and working with a group of people in an unfamiliar setting," explained Experiential Learning Coach Kim Piersall, Hon. "It is through these scenarios that our students discover self-reliance as well as compassion for others."
During the five-day trip, students are also challenged with living without many of life's comforts and conveniences. "We are so fortunate to be able to provide this experience for our 9th graders," said Ms. Piersall. "I am confident that the lessons taught on their Outward Bound course are not only preparing them for EA Upper School, but for the remainder of their lives."
Below are some thoughts shared by several students on their Outward Bound experience.
Madeleine Ott '22
"My biggest 'take away' from the course was that I can accomplish so much more than I think I can just by having a positive, optimistic attitude. Before Outward Bound even started, I kept telling myself things like 'there's no way I'm going to be able to get through this.' However, when I started the course, I realized I was setting myself up for failure by having such a negative attitude. Simply by telling myself I couldn't do something, I was limiting my abilities and holding myself back from realizing my full potential. To get the most out of the course, I tried having a positive outlook on every situation I encountered, no matter how difficult or discouraging it may have been. In doing so, I realized how strong of a person I am and how much I can accomplish."
Mekhi Rogers '22
"You never know what is important until it's gone. My family was always important to me but being away from them for five days really made me appreciate them even more."
Reece Hickey '22
"On our third day of the course, just after we had done six hours of bush pushing in the pouring rain through the woods, we had just reached the top of the mountain after doing what our group called a 'full send.' That meant we hiked straight up the steepest possible hill instead of going around. This was our breaking point, the point where our bond could only grow stronger. "
Julia Lindblad '22
"A lesson that I learned was that I am capable of more than I think. I have never been the most athletic person, so I was very nervous going into a trip that required me to walk miles a day up and down mountains with 40 pound backpacks. To my surprise, I made it up each mountain that stood in my way. It was difficult, sometimes really difficult, but with the help of my crew we all pushed ourselves, mentally and physically. This was one of the target lessons Outward Bound and EA wanted us to learn: You can do more than you think. I will use this throughout my academic career. During times of struggle, I will be able to recall the grit I had while climbing up those mountains in North Carolina. When I think that I can not succeed on a test or run another lap, I will know that I can push myself and achieve more than I think that I can."
Freshman class Form Dean Sam Willis, Greville Haslam Head of School Dr. T.J. Locke, and Middle School Latin teacher Melanie Subacus also made the trip.
"Our students were incredibly impressive during our Outward Bound experience. I was so proud of their persistence and perseverance," shared Dr. Locke. "What a perfect way to launch their freshman year at EA."
This marked the 13th year that Episcopal Academy freshmen have attended the North Carolina Outward Bound School.