December Retreat- Anomia and Hamilton

This retreat basically sums up what I expected for What’s The Story. Being the 8th grader I am, I have never had an amazing course where I really learn life skills, like photography or interviewing. I feel like everything in middle school is all leading up to things in high school that we will learn. 8th grade has been all about learning the transferable skills, learning how to learn, I guess. This retreat I really felt like a student, like a high schooler. I was given a lecture, a presentation, about photography. I was given a media kit and was showed how to use it. This course just made me feel like I was learning something important, unlike my learning in school (Chill mom, I know school is important).

There is another feeling I got at this retreat, one I would never get in school. I felt independence, like I was in control and people were relying on me, trusting me, to produce this multimedia piece. In school, everything has guidelines, there is a set task that we need to complete and if we don’t get it done perfect it is sent back. Whats The Story makes me feel like I can talk the project anywhere, and I am a vital part of this documentary. People are trusting me, and can go and talk with adults I don’t even know and try to get an interview with them, and people trust me to do that. That is the best feeling in the world, and I would never get that in school.

Now that I have unloaded all the important things off my mind, I’ll tell you about the nice part of this retreat. First off, I love the maturity of this place. One thing that annoys me so much about SCS is that all the boys (Not so much the girls) are so immature. Here, surrounded my high schoolers, I fit in, and I love communicating with them, because I belong with older kids. I think that is why I am friends with Bryce. Bryce fits in very well here as well, and I think that is because of his higher maturity, and that it why we are friends. People are accepting, they don’t judge me, and they have an interest in the world that the kids at SCS just don’t have.

Some highlights of this retreat was our Hamilton sing-a-long on the ride up, and at many times around the building. Again, playing Anomia was extremely fun, and I had lots of fun doing it. I would say that the best part of my weekend was communicating with my group in the morning, on Sunday. I feel like me and my group work so well together, we communicate clearly, we all have good ideas and participate in the conversation, and I think that is why this course is so much better than anything SCS offers. If you don’t remember, the members of my group are Elsa from SCS, and Justin and Brennan from Middlebury, with Brad as our personal mentor. We decided that for the next 7-8 weeks we would meet on Tuesdays at 4:30 via google hangout, and we would also meet as individual school groups; Me and Elsa and Brennan and Justin. We also made a bunch of progress involving interviews and research, here are some docs:

interviewees list

WTS action plan

Team D-Brief

Also, here are some links you should check out, stuff we looked at this weekend:

TED Talk: The Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives

“How to Construct a Compelling Story”

Four, Life-Long Skills WtS Aims to Teach

Tackle Any Problem with These Three Questions

WTS rhythm of the rest of the year

Photos from this weekend

Aside from all these, we had a presentation on how to create a good documentary, from photography to lighting to editing. We also had presentations on how to use a media kit, how to be a good interviewer, and how to convince people of your opinions. I would say that this was one of the most educational programs I have ever participated in, and I am so glad I can be a part of this, I am so lucky. Thank you!

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Nigel Wormser

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