As the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year comes to an end, there's a lot of reflection to be done. It seems like only a few days ago I was arriving on campus, enjoying the sun, the autumn air, the rain, and the constant laughter and chatter from students. It's spectacular to have the chance to experience my last fall on the Hill as a senior and it feels strange to know this is my last one.
The Kents Hill School campus was left quiet last year in March due to COVID-19, causing students to end school remotely last year. However, with the hard work from the Kents Hill faculty and staff, they were proudly able to open Kents Hill again to its students. We started the year with a Virtual Orientation to go over the many new guidelines and requirements for this upcoming year. It held informative sessions about classes, advisory, dorms, athletics, and everything students needed to know in order to be safe and back on campus. It felt good to see my senior class, peers, and teachers again even if it was just online.
From there, the students began to leave home and venture to the Kents Hill campus, starting with the student leaders. Proctors and Peer Advisors came from all over and reunited to begin in-person leadership training. As a Head Proctor, I also came to campus early to experience the new Kents Hill. The training was definitely different this year. Like many other things on campus, however, it was the perfect introduction to being back on campus.
Soon, more students arrived on campus, returning and new, filling the campus back up with joy and life. I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many new people and have an up-close experience for my final start of my time at Kents Hill.
Now, moving into the end of our first semester, it still seems surreal. Even now it feels weird to be able to walk around the campus paths and run into many different peers and faculty. I think the biggest thing I’ve taken out of the first semester is to appreciate what we have, as well as the privilege to be on campus. A lot of things I was originally worried about now seem like nothing, and wearing a mask has become the new normal on campus. It’s exciting to see such a culture shift on a daily basis and how much people have been able to adjust. More and more kids simply get into the groove and momentum on the Hill and it's cool now, being a senior, to see all of the underclassmen grow in such a short period of time.
One of the biggest questions going into this school year was, “Are there going to be sports?”
Sports are a huge part of the Kents Hill culture. Students participate in sports for all three seasons, some of which are hockey, soccer, skiing, softball, field hockey, lacrosse, and tennis. This year, we were unable to have a regular fall season. As someone who is going to play at the collegiate level, I was a bit upset. However, Kents Hill was still able to hold practices and push players to continue to play at their best level. I really enjoyed being able to watch the boy’s varsity soccer and girl’s varsity team weekly team scrimmages. Also, all of the teams this year were able to have senior games or have tournaments for the final close of their season. I was happy we are still able to hold those Kents Hill traditions for our seniors.
My favorite thing about this semester has been the dorms. Since I go between both Reed and Maine Hall, it’s really interesting to see how similar we all interact and talk with one another. This year, both of those dorms had the opportunity to be together at our first ever rock painting activity. The boarders were able to come together, talk, have fun, and paint rocks. That was one of the many activities that Reed and Maine Hall got to do together this year. The plan is to hold more once we come back from break and continue to talk as a female community.
Another student favorite from this semester was the ice rink located in the Harold and Ted Alfond Athletics Center. As a Proctor, I’ve had the opportunity to hold free skate. We dimmed the lights and blasted music. Students skated for hours around the rink, enjoying the music and each other’s company. Many of the hockey students called it “refreshing and fun.” As someone who doesn’t play hockey, I also found it refreshing to take a break from my work and skate around on the ice.
Academically, Kents Hill has structured school to accommodate everyone. Coming into school this year, I was worried and wondered what my classes would be like. My concerns went away after I went through my first day and learned how many precautions were put into play for our safety. Many of my classes were held outside when it was warm out, which was something I definitely wasn't expecting.
My favorite class so far has been Dr. Priest's “College Writing” class. He does such a great job finding the balance between pushing us as students and making sure the class is engaging and fun. Our whole class this semester has been focused on technology and the effects it has on society and the world. This semester, we had the opportunity to read a portion of a book by Nicholas Carr called In Into The Shallows. The book talked about technology, and essentially, how easy it is to become addicted to it. We then did a project on commonplace books, where we tested if by writing out the information we retained it better. I found the project to be not only fun but also eye-opening since I was able to remember more about my topic. Did you know that there are actually thirteen Zodiac signs? And the Babylonians actually just left it out? I didn’t either until after my project!
This semester has been so much fun and I have made tons of lifelong memories. I can proudly say that Kents Hill has been able to overcome many challenges and has shown that its students can stand up to adversity. The many worries students had coming to campus, have already and continue to turn into the “new normal Kents Hill.” We have been able to stay safe, have fun, and continue to have some normalcy as well as grow into the next phase of Kents Hill. As we go into a new semester, I can’t wait to continue to make memories, in the dorms, the classroom, on my sports teams, and as a student leader.
Located in central Maine, Kents Hill School is an independent, coeducational boarding and day school grades 9-Academic Gap Year attracting 180 students from Maine, the United States, and around the world. Since 1824, Kents Hill has been dedicated to providing transformative experiences rooted in the power of community, character, and core values.
1614 Main Street, Kents Hill, Maine 04349 | 207-685-4914 | email@example.com