To me, ice climbing has always been an “extreme” sport. Relegated to bucket lists, pipe dreams and watching youtube videos, it always seemed like something I would enjoy, but not something I would be able to do for awhile, without extensive research and preparation. This assumption was turned on its head when Mr. Tholen announced in a school meeting that there would be an ice climbing trip coming up on a weekend. I immediately turned to my friend Jacob and told him; “Oh yeah. We’re gonna do that.” Luckily, he was just as enthusiastic as I was, because we both share a passion for trying new things, and especially filming ourselves trying those new things. His face lit up, and his response was immediate; “It’s going to be an epic video.”
A week and a half later, we stood in deep snow, with crampons strapped to our feet and sharp ice tools in our hands, in front of a looming ice slab. Jacob and I looked foolish, two buffoons with GoPro cameras gorilla taped to our helmets. We felt cool as we repeatedly completed the beginner climb, only stopping for lunch or to let someone else have a turn. Ice chips flew as we dug into the slanted face with sharpened steel, as our hands and toes went numb. Over the course of the day, we improved significantly, each climb making us more precise when we swung the ice tools, or kicked in our crampon front points. Our group was of a large range of climbing backgrounds, from experienced mountaineers to beginners who didn’t wear snowpants. We all had fun climbing, even though we were not able to progress onto any of the vertical challenging faces that surrounded us, because it was a crowded spot. I think we all went home tired, pushing ourselves in a sport that most of us, myself included, have never had the opportunity to try. For those of us who wanted to try more difficult stuff, there has been discussions of another, more advanced trip, likely next year!
“Word Wednesday” has officially become the new representation of Hebron’s enthusiasm for creative writing, more specifically, poetry. Being the initiator of this new program has brought me incredible joy as well as great responsibility. It all started with my love for poetry itself and the desire to bring it along wherever I go. Seeing Hebron had a specific “tradition” everyday like Music Monday or Lumbergames, I noticed that a slot for Wednesdays was empty and an idea instantly came to my head! Spoken poetry performed well could really impact some conventional perspectives on poetry. I personally believe that poetry should not only be read, but also be heard; so it was a great opportunity for other poets to share their words out loud. After getting approval from the teachers and encouragement from friends, I was even more determined to bring this idea to life.
Clearly, there was hesitation and fear that the program would not work out or no one would be interested in joining. However, after introducing “Word Wednesday” and sharing a poem of mine, a lot of people were curious about this new “tradition”. Soon, one after another, more students and teachers started signing up for a spot; within a short period of time, we had the list filled up until the end of winter term! It was then that I’d realized the power of words, how they could bring people together within minutes and gather such an amazing community. The first few weeks of the program went surprisingly well, with readers performing their own work or a favorite of theirs. Aarti Singh was not familiar with the world of poetry, but knowing about “Word Wednesday”, she had volunteered to share her first poem. Christian Quinones also read a heartwarming poem for his sister, Eliza Quinones, on her birthday. I cannot be more thankful for all the people who have signed up to be the “poet of the week”! Poetry can sound intimidating or even tedious at first, but there are various categories and expressions that you never thought you would enjoy until you read (or hear) a really good poem. I would like to quote a saying I found on Tumblr that conveys my feelings for poetry. “I fell in love with you the way paperbacks fall down on shelves; slowly, and then all at once”. I do not expect every single member in Hebron to love poetry instantly, but it is my wish to gradually change people’s view on poetry and help them acknowledge how beautiful yet powerful words can be.
Due to the different schedules in each term, a new name will replace “Word Wednesday”. Stay tuned!