Category: Student Life

Boarder Trip Bonding

Originally published on The Magnet by Megan Jacques

MacDuffie day students were treated with an invitation to Big E and Six Flags boarding trips this year after Assistant Dean of Boarding Lucy Tew shared a form for students to sign up.

In prior years, due to concerns around how the students would pay for the trips, day students were excluded from boarding trips. Since boarding students pay a different activity fee compared to the day students, the big issue with enacting this plan was ensuring that the day students would not break the bank to join their boarder friends, while still having these students pay for the activities they are attending.

The decision to allow day students to join the boarding trips is “something that [the boarding department] had been talking about for a while,” said Tew.

“We opened things up to day students, and we let them choose. It’s like an a la carte menu, you get to pick. We have space on a trip, we let you sign up, and then we give you the information on what you pay, if you pay, and who you give it to,” said Tew.

Dean of Boarding Dina Lyman added that, “Some of it has to do with vehicles. Such as, do we use a five star bus or do we use our own? That is why the sign up is so important. Because that is what tells us what vehicle to use. If we have a lot of students sign up, we have to order a larger bus.”

The new invite is not strictly limited to boarding trips that go off campus. Over the weekend of October 26th, day students were invited to attend the haunted house run by the boarding department on Saturday Evening.

“We haven’t been able to open it up before, which we are really excited about,” Tew said.

The trips that day students are invited to are not strictly local trips that only last only a few hours. Day students are invited to all trips, such as those to New York City. However, day students were not invited to the Salem trip due to overwhelming numbers from the boarding population.

The boarding students this year have shown high interest in the boarding trips, which is unusual for the boarding department to see.

“And it’s awkward because now we have 50 boarders interested in a trip, where that might not have been the case a few years ago, but now we don’t have room to offer for a day student,” said Tew.

There will be more opportunities for day students to join these trips as the year goes on, but as of now the trips have been in high demand by boarders, so having room for day students is slim.

So what should you expect while on a boarding trip?

Regardless of where the trip is going, students are required to stay in a specific area. If the trip is to a bowling alley, the students are expected to stay in the bowling alley, and not wander off.

If the trip is to a larger location like Six Flags, or even a city, the same expectation applies. Although there is more room to roam, you are required to stay inside the location you are in and not leave the area for any reason.

Ms. Tew says that “the big important rule for any free time we give in a city or exploring is don’t be by yourself.” In places like Six Flags, it is less crucial as you cannot go very far without running into someone from the trip. In larger cities, it is important to stay with students who have a cell phone and can contact the duty phone if necessary.

What the boarding department expects from any student on these trips is that everyone will be respectful and continue to uphold the values that the school expects from everyone.

“What I’m really looking forward to is having the day students come in and have the experience of going out be this special thing for the borders because ‘oh, it’s not the same group of people. Now my day friends are here’,” said Tew.

“Boarding interactions is one of my favorite things and I really like seeing that happen on these trips. So I am really looking forward to that kind of community building between the boarding and our day communities, because it’s nice to have more people on campus over the weekend.”

Students Spreading Smiles

Originally published on The Magnet by Megan Jacques

The 2019-2020 school year is one month in, and the school is seeing a rise in positivity.

Students have already taken steps to help each other have a great school year where everyone can feel appreciated.

It began on the first day of school when a mystery writer began putting up inspirational and uplifting messages on the whiteboard next to Ms. Tomkiel’s room in the Computer lab. These messages, sometimes as simple as “Happy Monday,” have been a daily occurrence and serve to help lift everyone’s spirits.

When asked what inspired them to write the messages on the board, the mystery writer said that, “Well I’ve always thought that ever since I was younger, that my parents used to teach me that positivity was the answer for a lot of things. And that even if positivity couldn’t fix something, necessarily, it could at least help you on your way to fix it.”

This mystery writer, who wished to remain anonymous, hinted at more random acts of kindness to come. They said, “there are new people getting involved, and hopefully some exciting things that are coming up on the school, we will see more of an impact.”

The mystery writer also added that they “definitely hope that students see the messages and don’t see them as something sarcastic, or even other peoples’ positivity, that they take them as genuine acts of kindness and something that people can look at as a real thing, not something that would be just done because someone thought about it one day, just like a reminder.”

Along with the mystery writer, there have been three other students who have been spreading positivity in their own way. Seventh-grader Brooklyn Moore and eighth-grader Emily Parnicky, along with sophomore Angelika Osowiecki, organized and ran an inspirational quote day for the middle school.

After school one day, these students decided that they would write notes to put in their friends and classmates’ lockers to not only boost positivity but also cure their boredom.

Although they did not see a huge impact within the Middle School, Parnicky hopes that the school would embrace the fact that “it shows that you can do something, it can be a random act of kindness.”

These students hope that the school will continue to work to spread positivity which can be anything as simple as a smile. Moore said, “Especially when the high schoolers smile at me because I am just a little seventh grader, it makes my day.”

Head of the Middle School Tara Robinson said that “middle school has historically been a time thought of negative angst emotion roller coasters. It is really easy for kids to feel down because it is such an overwhelming time. And positive emotion at this time won’t be the default.”

In regards to Upper School involvement, Robinson added, “If we make them [The Middle Schoolers] stronger it will permeate to the rest of the MacDuffie community.”

These little reminders can not only raise positivity around the school in general but also help mental health overall.

School Counselor Deanne Klingensmith has been working at the school for seven years and has encountered many different aspects of mental health.

Klingensmith described what she does at the school saying, “I am available for any students to come to talk to me about various issues. It can be anything from serious home issues to past events to my boyfriend broke up with me to I’m stressed out over a test. Unfortunately, there are some kids who have suicidal ideation. Such a various array of different issues that kids will come in to talk to me about.”

When asked about how the spread of positivity impacts mental health, Klingensmith said, “positive reinforcement is a huge factor in changing behavior, changing thoughts. Even if something as simple as walking in the hallway and you see a friend and you say “Hey! How are you?” and give them a positive smile, it makes you feel better.”

A random act of kindness does not have to be a big project with lots of planning. Simply saying hello to someone and smiling at them in the hallway or holding open a door are ways that you can spread kindness and positivity.

Positivity is spreading around the school, but it cannot continue to foster without the small acts of kindness from everyone.

In the words of our mystery writer, Osoweicki, Parnicky and Moore, “Continue spreading positivity!”

If you need to talk to someone, do not hesitate to contact Mrs. Klingensmith. Her office is open for walk-ins or you can contact her at the email below.

For alternative resources or more immediate help,  do not hesitate to contact one of the hotlines below.

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Other resources:

Magnolia Day 2019

Magnolia Day, hip hip hooray! Awards, stories shared, and tears shed for good times past turned to laughter and play in this traditional end-of-year community celebration. Students enjoyed a bounce house, photo booth, and a cookout on the lawn courtesy of SAGE. Students also received copies of The Muse literary magazine, The Magnet, and the yearbook. This year’s yearbook is dedicated to Ms. Valentine.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.