Well, these past three weeks have flown by. It’s hard to imagine that only a few weeks ago, we were all strangers arriving in Amherst. Last night was our final night full of presentations, art galleries, and fun that celebrated all of the hard work that staff and students have put in over the course of the program.
On Tuesday the English as a Second Language, Entrepreneurship, and Writing in College classes took a field trip to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, a local newspaper. The students learned how a newspaper is made from start to finish and met some of the people involved in the process. The group met journalists, editors, photographers, and printers, and saw part of the actual newspaper printing process. The students also discussed the importance of the news and the impact it has on a community.
On Wednesday, staff and students engaged in some healthy competition with a staff vs. students soccer game. Although the staff edged out a victory, spectators and players on both sides had a great time.
Program Assistant Katie took several students on a tour of Amherst College’s Book and Plow Farm. Book and Plow farm produced 35,000 pounds of food for Valentine Dining Hall last year, and the students got an inside look at the farm’s sustainable production methods.
It was a beautiful afternoon spent examining where our food comes from and the connections between farmers, communities, and healthy, sustainable food.
On Thursday, students and staff were able to participate in a professional yoga class to relax and find some inner peace before final night.
In the first week of the program, students painted flower pots and planted their very own Putney garden. Two weeks later, the garden is thriving, just like all of the friendships and connections we’ve cultivated over the course of the program.
It’s been days of nonstop action both in and out of the Pioneer Valley.
On Friday night, Claire, Kaia, Ivan and Ben took a group of students to a baseball showdown between the Valley Blue Sox and the Sanford Mainers. A lopsided score didn’t prevent us from having a good time sitting right behind home plate in the grass. Nachos, hot dogs and sunflower seeds abounded as our whole group cheered the Blue Sox on. After the game ended we were treated to a dazzling display of on-field fireworks.
On campus, five students competed in an epic lip sync battle where everyone one showed off their dance moves and creativity!
Outside under the stars, The Sixth Sense was screened for an outdoor movie night. Blankets, popcorn, Adirondack chairs and the open air all helped to make it a unique screening.
Off campus, Eliza took her digital photography class on a nighttime excursion to capture the starry night. Even with the light from a giant blue moon, the photos were breathtaking.
Saturday was devoted to exploring the greater Boston area. Most of the program left campus in the morning for Boston, arriving in Harvard Square for a campus tour.
After the tour, everyone divided up into groups to check out some of the coolest things that the city has to offer. Julienne and Katie led a Finer Things tour, starting with a visit to one of Boston’s best chocolatiers and ending at the Harvard Art Museums.
Eliza and Avery led a group to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which is truly something to behold.
Tavie, Adam and Henk took a group kayaking on the Charles River with a stop at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Claire, Kaia, and Meshia led a pop culture tour of Boston that featured visits to Fenway Park, the Boston Public Gardens, and some time exploring the famous Newbury Street.
Ben and Kelly led a walking circuit of Boston that toured both Boston University and Boston College.
Ivan, Charlie and Owen went to Providence for most of the day to check out Brown and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). They were able to check out a couple of dorm buildings, Brown’s beautiful campus, and the RISD museum. After exploring Providence, they left for Boston and convened with the group at Faneuil Hall for dinner.
Sunday saw another slew of excursions take off from Amherst: a day trip to New York City, a trip to the New Hampshire seacoast which featured surfing and stand-up paddle boarding lessons, the New England Food Truck Festival, a mini golf excursion, and “Diner-Saurs,” which featured brunching at a diner, watching Jurassic Park and checking out Dinosaur footprints. For everyone who stayed on campus, the night finished with a relaxing trip to the movies.
It was a jam packed few days, but everyone had a great time exploring the best the Pioneer Valley and the surrounding area has to offer!
Last week the Digital Photography and Studio Art classes took a trip to Puffer’s Pond in Amherst to gain some artistic inspiration from the great outdoors.
The Digital Photography students created a gallery of their favorite pictures:
Once more, hello!
We are right back in the thick of on-campus life after an exploratory weekend away and a slight delay in blogging about our excursions for which we apologize.
Students were back in class early Monday morning, and Monday afternoon brought with it a slew of new activities: Mexican cooking with Claudia, which was mainly a guacamole workshop, making a short film with Eliza, visiting Yankee Candle, and playing an intense 2-player team card game, Kent. Monday afternoon also brought a thunder storm that, despite its best efforts, could not strike down our good spirits.
Monday evening featured picture frame decorating, a screening of Girl Rising, an inspirational documentary about Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban for attending school. On a slightly lighter note, Eliza and Meshia hosted an intense trivia night in James Lounge–staff team, prevailed on the last question for a victory. Over in Stearns Lounge, Claire led an improv class that transitioned to an all-in-good-fun but nonetheless heated Haiku Battle, MC’d by Adam in which two competitors were given a random topic and one minute to construct 17 syllables; after all was said and done, Steve reigned supreme as our Haiku champion.
Tuesday brought with it some unrelenting heat, so Henk took a group of students to Puffer’s pond for a swim. Ivan took a group of students down to the gym for some basketball and Julienne led a still life workshop down at the natural history museum. All in all, we’re doing our best to cope with the heat while still providing an array of activities. Tonight started off with an installment of Hipster Homesteading with Nik and Tavie; in essence, kids were instructed in stenciling, spray painting, and generally decorating clothing. Adam and Ben hosted Chopped, where students got the opportunity to concoct raw dishes using seldom-mixed materials. Once it was dark, everyone seeped outside to the Quad to play an epic game of capture the flag. Needless to say, everybody wins when good fun is had.
Stay tuned for more updates!
On Friday, the White Mountains Group started the trip with a stop for lunch and a tour of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire before heading up to the majestic White Mountains.
Once settled into the AMC Joe Dodge Lodge at the base of Mt. Washington, it was off to the Dolly Copp campground for a night of campfires, bananagrams, guitar playing, and a gourmet s’more contest. Sam won the “weirdest” category with a toasted raspberry, Katy won the “best taste” category with a s’more made with cinnamon graham crackers, white chocolate, and fresh raspberries, and Veronica won the “most creative” category with a Nutella, banana, and raspberry s’more on cinnamon graham crackers.
On Friday night, several students enjoyed stargazing outside the lodge before heading to bed to get some sleep before a long day of hiking!
On Saturday, two groups left to hike either Mt. Willard or Mt. Madison. The Mt. Willard group started at the AMC Highland Center and hiked up the 2,864 ft Mt Willard for some spectacular views of Crawford Notch.
After the hike, the group relaxed at the natural waterfalls, rock slides, and pools of Diana’s Baths.
The Mt. Madison group enjoyed a rigorous hike up the Valley Way trail to the Madison Spring Hut and then climbed to the 5,367 ft. summit of Mt. Madison.
The two groups met up for some free time, dinner, and ice cream in quaint North Conway. After dinner, everyone had a great time hanging out and relaxing on the town green after a successful and fun day of exploring the mountains.
On Sunday Morning, everyone said goodbye to Mt. Washington, and we hit the road for Polly’s Pancake Parlor and a delicious meal of every breakfast food imaginable and LOTS of pure New Hampshire maple syrup.
While waiting to be seated, the students had fun hanging out with Trot Trot the horse.
The weekend was a huge success and everyone had an amazing time experiencing nature, challenging themselves, getting to know one another better, and eating some great food: until next time White Mountains!
Hello from Amherst!
The Cape Cod excursion crew started our weekend on Friday with lunch in Hyannis, the unofficial “Capital of the Cape,” before heading to our home away from home in Eastham, Massachusetts. After an afternoon of swimming and badminton, we all went out to a local lobster restaurant for a classic Cape Cod lobster feast. Some students even tried lobster for the first time! Our first night ended with a round of mini golf and ice cream.
Saturday began with a morning at sea, where we had the opportunity to take a tour of the Cape coast that included several hours of whale watching. Students were treated to a lesson on marine biology, and the sight of whales feeding and swimming in pods. After disembarking the boat and enjoying a group lunch, we prepared for an evening in Provincetown. Provincetown is located on the extreme tip of the Cape and is a center of culture and activity in the area. Students had the chance to explore Provincetown in small groups before regrouping for dinner on a seaside deck.
Finally, Sunday afforded the group the chance to relax at the Cape Cod National Seashore- a national park situated along the Atlantic coastline. Activities included beach wiffle ball, card games, creative games of catch, reading and relaxation. We returned to Amherst Sunday night excited for another week of classes and activities!
Howdy from Amherst!
This past weekend our students split into three excursion groups: Montreal, Cape Cod and the White Mountains.
Those who went to Montreal got a bright and early start on Friday and were en route north by 7:30 AM. We stopped in Vermont’s capital, Montpelier, for a lunch break and arrived in Montreal in the early afternoon.
After settling into our McGill residence, we were off to explore the town. Students were given a couple of hours to get to know the surrounding neighborhood before we set off as a group for Old Montreal. They say the best way to get to know a city is to walk it, and that’s exactly what we did.
The cobblestone streets run right down to the old port, offering a beautiful view of the river. After our allotted exploratory time we convened in the St. Jacques-Cartier Plaza and made our way over to Le Bourlingueur to pique our collective palate’s curiosity.
On Saturday, some students went on a bike ride while others perused the illustrious art scene that Montreal has to offer. Those who biked went to the renowned Marché Atwater to get lunch materials and eventually wound up in one of Montreal’s many verdant public parks for a picnic. Our other half went to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and followed it up with lunch at an outdoor market.
After some dormitory downtime we were off to Westmount park, fully equipped with picnic materials, to take in a production of Twelfth Night. Back at McGill, we serenaded Kenny with a harmonious rendition of Happy Birthday and dug into some cheesecake.
On Sunday morning most of the group woke up to hike Mt. Royal, which overlooks the city in all its glory. Afterwards, we feasted on some of the best bagels Montreal has to offer before we got on the bus for the long ride home. We stopped in Burlington for lunch before arriving at Amherst for an evening devoted to unwinding and catching up with the whole group.
We’re all excited for our second week to get under way!
Just like that, the first week of classes, activities and community meetings has flown by.
Tuesday commenced with the first morning of class and was capped off with a surprise bowling trip to Northampton where strikes, spares and good fun abounded.
Wednesday afternoon activities included hiking the Robert Frost trail, customizing and planting flower pots, playing chess and checking out Amherst’s expansive gym. At community meeting we played a round of Putney Staff Member trivia and were then off to evening activities: wiffle ball and frisbee, a screening of Monty Python and a run to Target to pick up any lacking dorm-life necessities.
Thursday afternoon offers no respite from the fun, with activities ranging from yoga ball soccer, to the on-campus art museum, to part one of our local bookstore tour, or books-tour, for short. The evening promises a game of Settlers of Catan with Adam, stargazing with Henk, night photography with Eliza and a D.I.Y. sky lantern workshop with Julienne.
Tomorrow we are off on our weekend excursions to Cape Cod, Montreal and the White Mountains–stay tuned for the highlights from all three trips once we get back on campus.
Greetings from the Pioneer Valley!
All of our students have arrived on campus, and from traveling to moving in, unpacking, and getting to know one another, it’s been a long and exciting first 24 hours here at Putney Pre-College Amherst! After some time to decompress and introduce ourselves in the lounge, we took a tour of campus to get ourselves oriented to our immediate surroundings. We were then off to dinner at Valentine Dining Hall. This was followed by our first community meeting and a game of Art ’n’ Spoons, where groups of students built sculptures out of found objects.
Right before the sprinklers were turned on we rushed inside to escape the heat with ice cream and charades.
Everyone is excited to start exploring both inside and outside of the classroom- and the next three weeks will surely grant everyone the opportunity to do just that!