Echo Hill: A Lesson in Gratitude and Unity

By Sophie H. ’24
Photos by The Chaperone Shutterbugs

On a cold Tuesday morning, the Class of 2024 set off on a four-day adventure to Echo Hill Outdoor School, on the Chesapeake Bay in Worton, Md. Though it was early, everyone was energetic, excited, and curious about the possibilities that our last Middle School overnight trip would hold. Before we knew it, the bus was filled and the sound of 50 kids chattering filled the space. After two hours on the bus, the roads became windier and we became more and more restless. Pretty soon, everyone rose from their seats and pointed to a sign that read, “Echo Hill Outdoor School: Celebrating More than 40 Years!” That sign stood as a reminder to all of us of the hundreds of LCDS students who had taken the same trip in years past.

Right when we got off the bus, the activities began. We started off playing a form of sharks and minnows as group. By the end of the game, everyone was smiling and laughing together. It was like we had left all of our stress back at home and were able to escape and just have fun.

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Next, we headed to our cabins and then Harris Hall for lunch. Every table sat six students and one counselor or teacher. The counselors explained how at each meal a “biddy” must be selected to tend to the food and dishes for the table. The first couple of meals, no one seemed too enthusiastic about taking the job, but by our last meal, there was an outright competition over for the opportunity to wait on the table.

We all enjoyed our lunch and just when we were preparing to get up and leave, we were introduced to two new activities that would quickly become tradition. The first consisted of collecting and weighing the table’s wasted food. Food waste hadn’t been a big priority for us in our day-to-day lives, but once we arrived at Echo Hill, that changed. After every meal, we weighed the slop bucket and were encouraged to think about the resources needed to produce the food that we had helped ourselves to and then didn’t eat. The second ritual was a repeat-after-me-do-as-I-do song. The songs were fun, over the top, and just downright hilarious. They brought our group together in a lively and exciting way.

After each meal, we found out what activity our tribe was participating in that day and which counselors would be guiding us. These adventures ranged from team-building exercises to studying marine life in the Chesapeake. But of everything we experienced, there was quite literally nothing that could top the tower.

Standing almost five stories tall, the massive structure was the highlight of the trip for many of us. It offered the perfect balance of teamwork, encouraging each other, and forcing you out of your comfort zone. It didn’t matter if you made it to the top or not; all that mattered was that you gave it your best effort and felt supported as you did.

As our time came to a close at Echo Hill, we all gathered for one final hurrah to leave our mark on this trip. We played games, sang songs, and talked about our experience.

Through these exchanges, it became clear that Echo Hill will be an event of lasting meaning for our class. Through simple activities, our grade bonded in myriad ways, getting to know one another on a deeper level. We all realized how important it is to be grateful for the opportunity we have to go to a school like LCDS and to be surrounded by such exceptional peers and teachers. And though our time at Echo Hill was short, I know the memories we made there will endure for a very long time.

The Straight Dope on Refreshing Mountain

By Keira A. ’25
Photos by The Chaperone Shutterbugs

The seventh grade field trip was a lot of things. But one of the things it was not was forgettable. Many memories were made, some good some bad; many activities were so fun, others less so.

The first day we arrived an hour or so before lunch. We were assigned our rooms and finally the anticipation was over: We found out who our roommates were.

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We got a chance to unpack and settle in before some pre-lunch games. After we ate, we split into three groups for two team-building exercises. The first was a physical challenge with 34 separate parts that we had to divide up and conquer. The second was geocaching, where we had to use GPS to navigate to specific coordinates to find information that we recorded on a sheet.

After our activities we had time to ourselves before dinner and then the gym to play kickball and dodgeball. Curfew was at ten o’clock and we had to be at breakfast by eight.

The second day started with archery, using a slingshot, and a giant swing. While the first two are self-explanatory, the last one isn’t. The giant swing is where you get hooked into a harness to which two ropes are then attached. One of the ropes your teammates will pull to raise you up; the other rope is what you swing by.

Lunch separated the morning and afternoon.

The afternoon activities were pedal carts, zip lining, and reptile and amphibian center; which were all shortened to 45 minutes since it was raining that day, which made it not as enjoyable.

The third day saw us head to our last activities, which were the rock wall, obstacle course, and reptiles and amphibians (a different reptiles and amphibians from the day before).

We ate our last meal, then hopped on the bus and went back to school to be picked up by our parents.

Spirit Week & TACO in Photographs

Experience the story of Spirit Week through the lenses of Cougar News Photography Interns Hayden F. ’20, Arielle B. ’21, and seniors Carly C. and Mason L. Their teacher, Donna Wilcox, was a fellow visual raconteur, chronicling Take A Child Outside Week. We would also like to thank Dr. Trout, Mrs. Trout and Mr. Lisk for contributing photos. Finally, we doff our hats to the senior class, who did primary colors proud by wearing red to victory in Color Wars 2018.

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raceforhome — Mason

A Week in the Life — Vol. 2

This edition presents the Upper School field trips, Take A Child Outside Week and polka-dotted Lower Schoolers celebrating Dot Day. It also features the work of the Cougar News Photography Interns: Calvin B. ’18, Carly C. ’19, Mason L. ’19, Lauren N. ’19 and Cristian T. ’18. Their talent and dedication is truly impressive, and we look forward to sharing more of their work with you throughout the year.

 

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A Classroom-Free Education at Outdoor School

By Luke B. ’23
Photos by Mr. O’Gorman

Last week, the entire sixth grade went on a fun-filled yet educational trip to Outdoor School at Shaver’s Creek, Penn State’s nature center. The class learned about how everything in nature is intertwined, as well as the importance of natural resources and their conservation. One of the main goals of the week was to achieve zero food waste, meaning that all the students ate all of the food on our plates, a goal we all achieved at the last meal.

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We took a “time machine” to the mid-1800s and observed how settlers used raw materials to fashion the vast majority of tools and other things they needed. The class was divided into groups, which took hikes, stopping along the way to play games related to the curriculum. These helped us learn more about the ins and outs of nature and how exactly it functions.

Students were taught about cycles, such as the water cycle, which explained the efficiencies of the natural world and how it works with creatures within it. Another highlight was the visit from some owl friends, thanks to the Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, during which many children got to see both large and small owls for the first time, and learn about how owls are affected by humans.

Everyone also had the opportunity to explore a nearby creek, searching for species whose sensitivity to their environment makes them excellent guides to determine the pollution level of the water.

The main events were topped off by a night walk, during which no flashlights were allowed. This activity was used to help our class understand the predators which have to rely mostly on their hearing to find food, as they need to be resourceful and careful to survive. Students also played games that helped us learn about how the amount of resources in an area determines its ability to accommodate certain species. This can result in population fluctuation, and one of the big factors in this is humans and our effect on the environment.

The trip wasn’t all hard work, however. The counselors, all Penn State students, came up with skits, songs, and more to entertain the class after a long day’s work before bedtime. Some of the most fun events included a rap battle and a dance-off, hosted by two counselors. There were also a few contests used to help the class learn a few interesting tidbits of information.

At the last night at Outdoor School, “The Lorax” was recited from memory by a few of the counselors, but not simply as a child’s story. It was a great tool used to help summarize the main message of Outdoor School: Humanity is indebted to nature, and should respect and treat it well, not just exploit it for its resources, and this generation needs to be the one to do that.

Our three days at Outdoor School were not only fun, but a great bonding experience for many classmates. It was an opportunity for us to enjoy one another and govern ourselves for a few days. We got to take a break from the traditional four-wall classroom and learn in a new environment, where not only science lessons were taught, but life-long ones.