Final Night

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.

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The night opens with the English as a Second Language class presenting on differences between the U.S. and their home countries. The presentation ends in an awesome dance!

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The Psychology of Personality class performs a skit and askes audience members to diagnose their personality disorders.

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The Digital Photography class poses in front of their photos in the Putney art gallery.

In Other News…

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.

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Jediah, Becca S., Nia, Luke, Charbel, Arantxa, Claudine, Violette, Rebecca M., Nika, Humbert, and Entrepreneurship teacher Claire learn how a newspaper is made.

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Kenny, Luke, Charbel, Jediah, Humbert, Writing in College Teacher Henk, Arantxa, Claudine, Nika, Violette, Rebecca M., Entrepreneurship teacher Claire, Ruka, Nia, Arisa, Becca S., and Felix inside the newspaper offices.

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Everyone in front of the Daily Hampshire Gazette headquarters.

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.

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The student team.

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The staff team.

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Felix dodges staff member Meshia during an intense moment of the game.

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.

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Ruka, Charlie, and Kaori hang out with Book and Plow’s pigs, who eat the compost from the dining hall, returning valuable nutrients to the soil.

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Book and Plow’s pick-your-own community field, complete with beautiful flowers and delicious cherry tomatoes.

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Kaori among the black eyed susans.

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Kaori, Ruka, and Charlie with their handpicked bouquets.

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.

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Bessy, Lizzy, Kaori, Laila, and staff members Claudia, Ben, and Kelly stretch in cobra pose, led by the amazing Jamie Tancredi.

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.

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The first ever Putney garden, thriving under the care of students and staff.

Weekend Recap

Howdy, folks!

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.

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Humbert, William, Charbel, Kenny, Glen, Ellison, Elizabeth, Nia, Katy, Shun, staff members Ben, Kaia, and Ivan, Rebecca, Claudine, Felix, and Juliana experience a truly American past time at the baseball game.

On campus, five students competed in an epic lip sync battle where everyone one showed off their dance moves and creativity!

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Steve channels his inner Beyonce for the first performance of the night.

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Violette and Arantxa perform the summer hit ¨Cheerleader.¨

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Sam and Nika brush up on their Broadway dance moves with a performance of ¨You’re the One That I Want¨ from Grease.

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.

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Staff and students are entertained by the open air cinema.

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Everyone had a relaxing evening full of stars, popcorn, and night air.

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.

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The Blue Moon. (Photo Credit: Marie)

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Playing with light – can you see the stars hidden in the sky? (Photo Credit: Owen).

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A beautiful starry night. (Photo Credit: Grace).

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Grace, Marie, and Program Assistant Katie working with their cameras. (Photo Credit: Owen).

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.

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The group gets silly in front of the Harvard Library.

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.

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The ladies of the Finer Things tour: Olivia, Veronica, Laila, Katy, Marie, Greta, Grace, Bessy, and staff member Julienne, enjoyed a tour of the Taza Chocolate Factory (complete with hairnets and lots of samples)!

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The tour ended in Harvard Square after a day spent appreciating the finer things in life.

Eliza and Avery led a group to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which is truly something to behold.

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Kaori, Lizzy, and Avery pose in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Tavie, Adam and Henk took a group kayaking on the Charles River with a stop at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

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Staff member Henk, Luke, Shun, Jediah, Claudine, Juliana, Chris, staff member Adam, Humbert, and Matt pose after an exciting kayak trip that included some rain.

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.

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Sam, Violette, Felix, Charbel, Kenny, Ellison, Glen, Ruka, and Steve make way for ducklings in the Boston Public Gardens.

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The whole group in front of the legendary Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox.

Ben and Kelly led a walking circuit of Boston that toured both Boston University and Boston College.

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Becca S., Nia, Candice, Nika, William, Arantxa, and Arisa visit the Boston Commons after tours of Boston University (BU) and Boston College (BC).

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.

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Owen and Charlie hang out at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

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.

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The NYC group poses in the amazing Times Square.

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The students learn about New York University (NYU) on a campus tour.

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Juliana, Claudine, Rebecca, Grace, Marie, Greta, and staff member Avery relax on the New Hampshire seacoast before surf lessons and a stand-up paddle board tour.

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Grace, Greta, and Rebecca have fun on a stand-up paddle board tour at Hampton Beach, NH.

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Veronica, staff members Kelly and Kaia, and Alex make pancakes for a lazy Sunday brunch.

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Veronica, Laila, staff member Kelly, Olivia, Laura Kate, Kenny, Alex, Glen, Ellison, Jediah, and staff members Kaia and Eliza savor a day of delicious food at the New England Food Truck Festival in West Springfield, Massachusetts. (Photo Credit: The Hartford Courant).

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Ellison and Laura Kate cool off at Chicopee State Park.

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Becca S. and Steve explore the dinosaur footprints in Holyoke, MA on the Diner-saur tour.

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!

Art en plein air

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.

Digital Photography student Owen snaps a picture on the beach.

Digital Photography student Owen snaps a picture on the beach.

Digital Photography student Juliana captures the texture of a Paper Birch tree.

Digital Photography student Juliana captures the texture of a Paper Birch tree.

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Studio Art student Greta and teacher Julienne take a moment to sketch some of their natural surroundings.

Studio Art and Digital Photography students Marie, Grace, Greta, Juliana, Owen, and Chris with Studio Art teacher Julienne after a dip in the pond.

Studio Art and Digital Photography students Marie, Grace, Greta, Juliana, Owen, and Chris with Studio Art teacher Julienne after a dip in the pond.

The Digital Photography students created a gallery of their favorite pictures:

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Photo Credit: Marie.

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Photo Credit: Owen.

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Photo credit: Juliana.

Photo Credit: Grace.

Photo Credit: Grace.

Photo Credit: Marie.

Photo Credit: Marie.

Photo Credit: Owen.

Photo Credit: Owen.

Photo Credit: Juliana.

Photo Credit: Juliana.

Photo Credit: Owen.

Photo Credit: Owen.

Photo credit: Grace.

Photo credit: Grace.

Week 2 Off and Running

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!

Weekend Excursion to the White Mountains

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.

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The White Mountains Group: Veronica, Arisa, Katy G., Jediah, Sam, Staff Member Claire, Nia, Shun, Staff Member Katie C., Charbel, Staff Member Kaia, Luke, Staff Member Ben, Staff Member Henk, Chris, and Humbert (pictured with a banana) hang out at Dolly Copp Campground. (Photo credit: Owen).

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Humbert enjoys some exploring on the Peabody River. (Photo Credit: Owen).

Staff and students enjoy a variety of gourmet s'mores and roasting marshmallows over a great fire built by Luke (Photo credit: Owen).

Staff and students enjoy a variety of gourmet s’mores and roasting marshmallows over a great fire built by Luke (Photo credit: Owen).

On Friday night, several students enjoyed stargazing outside the lodge before heading to bed to get some sleep before a long day of hiking!

Nighttime at the Joe Dodge Lodge. (Photo credit: Owen).

Nighttime at the Joe Dodge Lodge. (Photo credit: Owen).

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.

Alpine wildflowers at the AMC Highland Center.

Alpine wildflowers at the AMC Highland Center.

Beautiful trees and sunshine on the Mt. Willard trail.

Beautiful trees and sunshine on the Mt. Willard trail.

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Charbel, Shun, Luke, Staff Member Katie C., Nia, Veronia, Arisa, Humbert, Staff Member Ben, Jediah, Katy G., Staff Member Claire, and Staff Member Kaia pose at the summit of Mt. Willard.

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Katy G. and Veronica enjoy lunch with a view of the spectacular Crawford Notch.

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Charbel and Humbert take in the sunshine.

After the hike, the group relaxed at the natural waterfalls, rock slides, and pools of Diana’s Baths.

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Natural waterfalls at Diana’s Baths.

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Jediah, Shun, Luke, Humbert, Arisa, Charbel, Katy G., Nia, and Veronica had a blast exploring and relaxing at the 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.

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The Madison Spring Hut. (Photo Credit: Owen).

Chris enjoys the view on the hike to the summit. (Photo Credit: Owen).

Chris enjoys the view on the hike to the summit. (Photo Credit: Owen).

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Star Lake on Mt. Madison. (Photo Credit: Owen).

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.

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Katy G., Veronica, Arisa, and Nia smile for the camera in North Conway.

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Owen and Jediah play some frisbee in front of the North Conway train station.

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.

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Polly’s Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire.

While waiting to be seated, the students had fun hanging out with Trot Trot the horse.

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Sam is super excited about pancakes!

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Chris gets a helping hand from Sam.

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Katy G. looks into the distance, remembering the weekend’s adventures.

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Veronica and Nia look forward to the rest of the program after a fun and rewarding weekend.

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After a delicious meal, everyone is full and happy for the drive back to Amherst!

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!

Weekend Excursion to Cape Cod

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.

Grace, Marie and Greta enjoy their afternoon in Hyannis.

Grace, Marie and Greta enjoy their afternoon in Hyannis.

The Cape Cod Crew smiles before digging in to their lobster dinner.

The Cape Cod Crew smiles before digging in to their lobster dinner.

Violette and Nika are all smiles at dinner.

Violette and Nika are all smiles at dinner.

Candice, Bessy, Lizzie, William and Charlie pause for a rest during an intense round of mini golf.

Candice, Bessy, Lizzie, William and Charlie pause for a rest during an intense round of mini golf.

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.

Our boat for the day.

Our boat for the day.

A mom and baby humpback swim by.

A mom and baby humpback swim by.

Arantxa, Violette, Matt, Felix and Nika pose on the boat in their matching Cape Cod sweatshirts.

Arantxa, Violette, Matt, Felix and Nika pose on the boat in their matching Cape Cod sweatshirts.

Matt, Violette, Ben, Arantxa, and Nika relax at the hotel after a long day.

Matt, Violette, Ben, Arantxa, and Nika relax at the hotel after a long day.

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!

On our way to the National Shoreline!

On our way to the National Shoreline!

Weekend Excursion to Montreal

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 group heads to Old Montreal à pied

the group heads to Old Montreal à pied

Our group poses in the central plaza of Old Montreal

Our group poses in the central plaza of Old Montreal

4/5 Montreal leaders: Julienne, Ivan, Claudia and Nik (not seen: Eliza)

4/5 Montreal leaders: Julienne, Ivan, Claudia and Nik (not seen: Eliza)

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.

a bustling Montreal street in early evening

a bustling Montreal street in early evening

the view over the river

the view over the river

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.

Our bikers pose and repose at the Old Port

Our bikers pose and repose at the Old Port

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Julienne, Rebecca, Elizabeth, Ruka, Kaoria and Becca try to blend in

Kaori sipping on a delicious hot beverage

Kaori sipping a delicious hot beverage

Rebecca, Julienne and Alex expand their palates

Rebecca, Julienne and Alex expand their palates

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.

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Assistant Director Nik with his bag o’ baguettes

The group settles into their seats for Twelfth Night

The group settles in for an outdoor production of Twelfth Night

Glen, Ruka and Steve shower Kenny with birthday love

Glen, Ruka and Steve douse Kenny with birthday love

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.

Our group at the summit of Mt. Royal on a foggy Sunday morning

Our group at the summit of Mt. Royal on a foggy Sunday morning

Julienne, Ivan and Claudia enjoy Ben & Jerry's in its home state, Vermont

Julienne, Ivan and Claudia enjoy Ben & Jerry’s in its home state, Vermont

We’re all excited for our second week to get under way!

Our First Week in Review

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.

 

Katie and co show off their freshly potted plants

Katie and co show off their freshly potted plants

Adam, the professional, alongside his protégés

Adam, the professional, alongside his protégés

Tavie soaks Sam in staff trivia

Tavie soaks Sam in staff trivia

Look out!

Look out! Claudine crushed one.

Laura Kate and Arantxa potting

Laura Kate and Arantxa painting and potting

Felix laying down a bunt in his first ever game of wiffle

Felix laying down a bunt in his first ever game of wiffle ball

Grace, happy about the strike she is about the bowl

Grace, happy about the strike she is about the bowl

Violette and Kaori sample fro-yo to determine who has Amherst's best

Violette and Kaori sample frozen yogurt to determine which store has Amherst’s best

 

dream team

dream team

Henk's group summits!

Henk’s group summits!

 

Arrival day at Amherst!

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.

Students piece together their found objects

Students piece together their found objects

Students explaining the nuances of their piece, 'Mickey Mouse is dead'

Students explaining the nuances of their piece, ‘Mickey Mouse is dead’

The group convening to exhibit their sculptures

The group convening to exhibit their sculptures

Ellison, a walking piece of Art

Ellison, a walking piece of Art

Ice cream assembly line

Ice cream assembly line

James lounge, lounging

James lounge, lounging

Charades in action

Charades in action

In the midst of a game of 'Heads Up'

In the midst of a game of ‘Heads Up’

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!