Student Perspectives | Senior Class Trip to Hermit Island
by Ethan Kelner and Nayana Morrissey


Senior Class Trip to Hermit Island | September 2015 By Ethan Kelner

I learned more in the five days at Hermit Island than I have in any month long block I’ve ever applied myself to. The most growing is done out of our comfort zones, which is the exact place our entire class found ourselves during this extraordinary week.

From my understanding, the intention of the trip was to experience field zoology first hand, which is otherwise impossible to experience in the landlocked, high elevation of Colorado. The beautiful coast of Maine was the home of many Arthropoda, Annelida and Mollusca, all of which were very acutely dissected (some literally) during this fascinating week. I valued the academic information I gathered more than I would have at home. It is one thing to be lectured about the look, feel and activity of a red rock crab. It is another to lift heavy coral-encrusted rocks with three friends and locate a captivating and squirming crustacean yourself. The experience of listening and comparing the teaching styles of Waldorf teachers around the country was fascinating, especially when I came to the conclusion that when trained the same way, they’ll teach the same way. Nevertheless, each and every subject from this trip will be cherished with more comprehension and value than any block taught by a single teacher at home.

Along with the value of the academics on this trip, I gained many important and seemingly immortal relationships with Waldorf kids that I couldn’t help but identify deeply with. I spent many hours at other schools’ campgrounds jamming on the guitar, eating their food, or playing frisbee golf in the moss shrouded forests of Hermit island. Granted, I may have missed a clean-up shift or two, but my regrets are as nonexistent as the clean dishes. The time I spent socializing and comparing our Waldorfian childhoods will never be forgotten. Currently, I have four conversations going with kids I met on the trip and will keep in touch with for the rest of my educational career (if not life).

I reflected on my week very positively between naps on the plane. Every memory I have is either an academic achievement, a moment of hilarity and laughter with new friends, or a reason to work harder back home. Without this experience, I would not have gained a passion for zoology, or a refreshed image of the other Waldorf students that exist beyond our small community. I am very thankful for the opportunity and freedom to explore the coast of Maine with my class. I believe strongly that this experience is one that cannot be forgotten and should not be left as only an experiment. Any class that misses out on this experience misses out on a week of excitement, true scientific investigation, and a whole lot of fun.

Hermit Island Senior Class Trip | Fall 2015  By Nayana Morrissey

Last week, the 12th grade made the journey to DIA to embark on the Hermit Island Zoology trip. This much anticipated trip had been a year in the making and talked of constantly by my classmates and myself. The day that was always weeks and months away was finally here! We piled into the cramped plane (much to the chagrin of the flight attendants) and before we knew it we were in Boston, the first leg of our journey done.

By Sunday, we were in the little town of Phippsburg, Maine, at the Hermit Island Campground. Once the tents were set up and our gear unpacked, a few of us set off to explore the island. It was then, on a gorgeous beach near our campsite, where I met a few students from High Mowing, a boarding Waldorf school in New Hampshire. This was the first time I had met any Waldorf students who were not in my local area. Sunday night was the big introduction; dark faces and garbled names spoken over the giant mass that was the students of various Waldorf schools. There was the Rudolf Steiner School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Emerson Waldorf in North Carolina, Academe of the Oaks in Atlanta, Georgia, Chicago Waldorf, Washington Waldorf in Bethesda, Maryland, and High Mowing in New Hampshire. All in all there were about 136 (I counted) Waldorf students together at one time.

We were spilt up into 4 groups with about 3 people from our own class, interspersed with the rest of the schools. A normal day would look like this: around 5:15 was wake up call where we enjoyed a cup of coffee (or in my case, chai), while being eaten alive by the extremely aggressive mosquitos. Our school would meet up with the rest of the schools at the Bath House, where we would spilt up into our individual groups. We would hike out to the tide pools and study the life bursting forth and clearly visible, thanks to the low early morning tide. After about 2 hours, we would reconvene with our own class for breakfast. For main lesson, we would walk down to the Kelp Shed (essentially a meeting room), cram ourselves on small benches surrounded by people we didn’t know, and study about the life we saw and found in the tide pools that morning. We had lunch and a break after main lesson, where some would play volleyball, socialize with the other classes, go to the beach, take a shower or simply catch up on some much needed sleep. After our lunch break, we would have lab. Lab would consist of either sea poetry, microscopic drawings of specimens viewed under a microscope, water color painting or dune ecology. We would rotate the labs each day, so everybody would get the chance to try everything. We would then eat dinner and participate in a nighttime activity of some sort—an individual campfire, a group campfire, a group campfire with local guest authors, or my personal favorite, a contra dance!

The week I spent on Hermit Island was among one of the best my life. The work was interesting and hands-on, but what I took the most from the trip was the deep sense of community and camaraderie. Not only did I bond with my class, but also I made so many new friendships I could see maintaining for years to come. Whether it be watching all the talented individuals perform in front of a campfire, taking a walk illuminated only by starlight, playing volleyball, swimming in the cold Atlantic or frolicking in the mud, this is sure to be a trip I will never forget.