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!