RAaW Retreat

Friday discussions in the RAaW (Racial Awareness at Waynflete) activity group are built on establishing a deep level of trust, so each year for the past several years, we have been given the opportunity to take an afternoon to do some group building to foster that atmosphere of shared understanding. This year’s retreat on October 30 helped our group set the tone for our weekly meetings. First and foremost, what we do on our retreat is  eat. Together the RAaW group makes a lunch for each other. This year after lunch we selected random objects off a blanket and told stories of ourselves using those prompts. We also explored the layers of our identity and discussed what would happen if we were forced to choose among them.

For the past three years we have met at the home of Julie Boesky and Jonathan Shapiro. Their son Ben was a four year member of RAaW and despite the fact he graduated last year they once again graciously opened their home to us. We ar


Mapping the Journey

Freshman students have been creating Life Maps for over 10 years now, and they have all turned out quite exceptional.  Eidann Thompson-Brown, a current seminar student, worked on her Life Map for three weeks. “It took a lot of time and energy, but it was worth it in the end,” she says. Her Life Map was a graph of her life with high points and low points. It turned out very visually appealing and organized.

9th grade seminar teachers Lydia Maier and Cathie Connors believe that Life Maps inspire students to think about the events that have shaped them and to consider their future aspirations. Life Maps give students the opportunity to realize the goals and dreams they have for their lives, and inspire students to want to reach them. “When you’re about to set out on an adventure, and I really think of high school as a journey, you want a map,” she says. “I think starting Upper School presents a great opportunity for students to embrace new challenges but they also need to honor the things they’ve done in their lives that have shaped them so they can draw on those inner resources.” Life Maps can help students see the strengths that have brought them to where they are now.

These Life Maps are presented to one another in seminar groups. One seminar student, Rawha Michael, pointed out, “I enjoyed seeing other people’s Life Maps because there are so many different interests and goals that people have and it was neat to get to know other people.”  Presenting these Life Maps gets students to recognize others’ unique accomplishments. There are also so many different ways students interpret the assignment to craft a Life Maps.  Some are 3D mobiles made of well-loved belongings, some are on-line, and one was even edible. “These are totally creative ways of thinking about your life,” Lydia Maier says.


My Experience with Mock Trial

At the beginning of August, I got a package in the mail from school, detailing my schedule and the available activities for the coming year. Being the semi control freak that I am, I made a list of everything I’d be doing: all the classes I’d be taking, the activities I’d be a part of, and the performing arts I wanted to partake in. At the top of my list, I put Mock Trial.
I joined this activity last year as a junior, but I’d wanted to try it out since I was a freshman. When I finally joined, it was more fun than I’d ever imagined. Mock Trial is just that, a mock trial. Schools all over the place participate in this competition, taking it to a national level. This year, there were around twenty two schools just in the state of Maine.
Last year, the case was a charge of manslaughter. Even though it was my first year, I was picked to portray the defendant herself, and it was such an amazing experience. We spent about two months preparing the trial and then went to the district court house in Portland to compete. Over one weekend we competed on Saturday and advanced in the competition to another round on Sunday. Although we didn’t move on from there, it was an incredibly fun experience and I knew that I’d be doing it senior year.
This year, our case was the same charge of manslaughter, but the circumstances were very different. It involved a teenager texting while driving, who subsequently crashed the car and killed one of the passengers. I was one of the eyewitnesses to the accident, and I was so excited about going to court and fighting for a place in the finals. On our first weekend, we went up against Berwick, who had been to the semi finals the year before. It was more challenging than I’d expected, but it was a healthy competition and we moved on to the second round, which took place the following weekend. In round two, we went up against an equally challenging competitor. Although we did not move on, the experience helped me to learn a lot about the Maine judicial system, and it drew our Mock Trial team close together. It also was a plus to be able to present in the same courtroom used by Maine’s Supreme Court.

The experience was unbelievable, and I absolutely hope to continue with Mock Trial in college, in some way. I was very lucky to be able to work alongside such an amazing team, and it made my senior year that much more memorable.