During the last two weeks of September, five Hebron students, accompanied by Mrs. Bonis and Mrs. Gaug, traveled to the United Kingdom to attend the round Square international conference. Round Square is a group of almost two hundred and fifty schools that meet annually to discuss and work for their six “ideals”: internationalism, democracy, environmentalism, adventure, leadership, and service.
The Hebron Academy student delegation participated in a variety of activities throughout the trip. But arguably the most important part of Round Square goes beyond just the designated activities. Besides just working to understand the ideals of the conference, the point of round square is to have students from all over the world meet each other. The Hebron students met many people of many different backgrounds and cultures. First and foremost, there were a lot of British people in the United Kingdom. We quickly learned that they think our accents are as dumb as we think theirs are. The other English speakers like Australians also had things to say about the way we talk. Everyone was surprised that we don’t call McDonald’s “Mackies” or “Mackers” or sunglasses “sunnies”. Non- Native English speakers like students from Peru and South Africa were shocked to learn that most of the American students only spoke one language since they were all at least bilingual. Students from Peru also brought some food to share, including a caramel-milk thing I can’t remember the name of, but it was very good, I promise. At the end of the day, even though Round Square is about learning to work for a better world, the stuff that takes away is the experience of meeting new people from so many unique cultures, and making new friends, even if you might never see them again. In summary, the real international student conference is the friends we made along the way.
I am very proud of the fact that I am a nerd. I also love to take road trips. So when one of my favorite faculty members, Dr. Swenton, offered a science nerd road trip, I was immediately interested. This road trip was a part of a new tradition at Hebron Academy, known as Winterlude. Winterlude consists of three days of experiential learning outside of the classroom, taking place in January, several weeks after students return from winter break. Though the history of Winterlude only spans two years, it has included fantastic activities such as ice climbing in Grafton Notch, watching musicals on Broadway, backcountry skiing in the foothills of Western Maine, and of course, a science nerds road trip to northern Vermont.
Winterlude provides an excellent opportunity for students to try something completely new with their friends, removed from the stresses of the classroom. In January of 2021, the first ever Winterlude celebrated the ending of an extended period of online classes, letting friends reunite in person for the first time since the fall term. During this time I had the opportunity to pursue ice climbing, trying a new sport and pushing myself outside my comfort zone, all while documenting the adventure in a short video.
When Winterlude returned in 2022, I chose the road trip to Vermont, hoping to see a different part of New England with my friends. Again, I brought my camera along, but this time I primarily focused on photography. Visiting the Living Shores Aquarium in North Conway, New Hampshire, our group interacted with various aquatic and avian creatures, such as stingrays and lorikeets. Further north, our party visited the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont, where we learned about the ecological history of the region, through fossil displays, interactive exhibits and a documentary film.
For me, this trip was a much needed break from the constant pressure of classes and college applications, and still managed to be educational. Winterlude affords students the opportunity to try out new things, visit new places, and learn without expectations or stress. This may be my final year at Hebron, but I have no doubt that Winterlude will continue to enrich student’s experiences for years to come.
For Winterlude, I went to New York to see Broadway shows. Carlos, Noa and I formed our little group of three people and walked all over New York. Spending too much money, eating pizza, waiting for the musicals to start, stuffing Playbills into coat pockets. I had almost too much fun. But that was only after I got over the overwhelming fear of being in a big city I’d never been to before. Now I should probably get to the point where I talk about the three shows I went to see.
First show. SIX was loud, and I loved it so much. I’ve listened to the cast recording multiple times, but that show was made to be seen live. There were a few times that Carlos thought it was a concert and sang along loudly, and I was embarrassed for him. I bought a few souvenirs from the merch stand while Carlos bought almost the entire thing.
Second show. Hadestown was a masterpiece. When we went to see it, it was most of the original cast. I think there were only two or three different people. The set was gorgeous, and the lighting was immaculate. It was so fun to watch, and I loved every second of it. I also got really hooked on the music and I listen to it at least once a day now.
We also went to a panel with some of Mr B’s friends, who were awesome. Some were actors, others were directors or writers, and some had done all three. I learned a lot in that short span of time. For example, separating your worth from your job, doing new things that scare you, embracing insecurities, and accepting failure. Also, a few gags like going on antidepressants sooner and finding other, more stable, things to do. Carlos and I had to leave early because our show started earlier than everyone else’s.
And the final show, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This was the only one that wasn’t a musical. I had read the book, which is still a play, but it was so much better to see it happen in person. The special effects were absolutely flawless—the lighting, the rippling time travel effect of the stage, the pool that opened up at the front, the dementors flying in your face, and even the illegal picture Carlos took of Delphi’s madness. I could ramble about how it looked forever. Another thing I loved about it, the gay tension between Albus and Scorpius. They aren’t technically gay, but you can just tell.
And then the bus ride home was great. Noa, Carlos and I took the small van with Ms. Alt, and got to sing show tunes and Disney songs. This is where I learned the surprising fact that I’m more of a theater kid than Carlos. Then, when we stopped, Mr B. drove our bus and sang The Book of Mormon (which is one of my favorite musicals) with Noa and I. Carlos kept asking me if Mormons were okay (because I’m an ex-Mormon). Afterwards, I fell asleep, and the next thing I knew it was 1 A.M. and we were home.
All in all, I loved going to New York, and missed it the first few days we were back. I would totally go again, and recommend it to anyone interested.
I grew up being afraid of drowning in my own bedroom. I noticed how it snowed less and less every year in my hometown. Thousands of people in my country lost their houses last year because of flooding. I see how my planet is suffering. “The earth is not dying, it is being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.” This sentence is stuck in my head, and I still panic every time I hear it. Countless times I have been told that there will be no future for me—and because of me.
Global warming and its effects have become an incredibly important topic in our society during the last few years. “Fridays For Future,” “Greenpeace,” and Greta Thunberg: I have been hearing these names more often than my own. Our society is facing a terrifying crisis: the changing of our climate. We all know that our climate is changing and affecting our world, and we all know that it is our own fault. I started worrying about it a lot, but worrying about my carbon footprint is unproductive and just stresses me out. That is why I started to change little things in my daily life. For example, I rode my bike more often, I became vegan, and I stopped using plastic bottles. Did this help? No, the planet is still getting hotter. Individual actions are statistically meaningless. Feeling like I am not helping is discouraging. I came to the conclusion that my actions on a consumer level are more of an ego boost than a way to stop climate change. While I knew that I was doing the right thing, I also knew that I do not help the world at all. I was only helping myself by boosting my ego. I lost all of my hope for my future. Whenever I heard or saw anything about global warming, there was an anxiety reaching my body, I got goosebumps, and my face turned pale. I was suffering from eco-anxiety, which is defined as a constant worry about our planet, the state of earth, and the concern for all living inhabitants present and future. Society told me that this anxiety is an irrational fear that needs to be overcome, one that meditation and healthy coping mechanisms will fix. I thought that the only way to be hopeful again is action from everyone. Now I know that engaging with my community through what I’m passionate about can help. None of my individual actions are saving the planet, but they can pave a path to a better planet and future. That is why it is so important to let people know what they can do. Here is what you can do:
Use a recyclable bottle,
Reduce your waste,
Walk little distances,
Stop using those stupid plasic plates,
Pick up trash when you see it,
Reduce flying on an airplane,
Only buy local and seasonal food.
I now believe—and tell my anxiety—that we can cause change if we all work together. With a lot of help and a positive attitude, we can help our planet recover.
This is my journey back home for winter break, but it wasn’t a normal trip. Let me tell you what happened. How long would it take for you to go back home? A ten-minute car ride? Five-hour flight? Or, if you are an international student, it might take you ten hours or more. Yes, that’s me. My name is Kate Hashiya, and I came all the way from another continent, a country called Japan. It takes me fifteen hours to get back home… if everything goes normally.
I left Hebron Academy on December 18th, 2021 at two A.M.. I had a transit flight through Texas. I arrived at Boston Logan airport, and I departed for Texas by six A.M. It was all going great until I arrived in Texas, until the part where my ticket didn’t tell me which gate I was supposed to go. I texted my dad, (trust me, my dad knows everything) and he told me I’m flying with Japan Airlines. I was waiting at the gate by JAL, and they started loading people a few minutes after. It was at that moment that I found out that there were two flights departing at the same time to the same place.
I ran to the other gate, where my real flight was. There was only one thing in my mind; WHY IS DALLAS AIRPORT SO HUGE???? I ran for five minutes, and I still didn’t see my gate. I finally got to the real gate, and by the time I got there, they had already closed the door.
I asked the lady there for help, and they quickly asked me for all my forms. I was relieved for a second that I still might be able to get on the flight. They then asked me for the PCR testing form. I showed them a paper I got from the school, thinking that it was all I needed. It was unacceptable. I needed the form that the Japanese government set, which meant I couldn’t get on my flight with the English form I had. I was so scared that my dad would be so mad and wouldn’t let me go home anymore, but they told me they could book the next flight for me, which was the day after. I had no idea what I was supposed to do, so I called my dad again. He was so surprised, and he was talking to the staff by the gate. They came to a solution of keeping me in the airport for a night. They had a place where they took care of the children under fifteen years old during the transit. Although I was sixteen, they could keep me there since I couldn’t reserve a hotel, and I needed somewhere to sleep.
I hated my country for a moment, but it was a rare experience to stay in an airport. A nice lady named Noriko san (she had the same name as my mom!) took me to the PCR testing center, so I could get a proper Japanese form. She looked evil in my eyes when she told me I couldn’t get on a plane, but she was so nice as we talked and spent some time together. I didn’t sleep well that night, and it was so weird to walk around the huge empty airport at two in the morning. I got to the right gate the next day, and thanked Noriko san again. A long long twenty four hours later, I finally got on the plane.
Somehow, the thirteen hour flight felt very short. I was mostly sleeping the whole time. I knew there was still a whole process I needed to go through to meet my dad, and there was one thing I still didn’t know. It was whether or not I needed to quarantine in a hotel. The Japanese government announced that people from Texas needed to be quarantined, but not Maine. Even my dad couldn’t give me the answer. I was waiting in line to get my form stamped at the counter when I heard the guy in front of me ask the staff if he needed to quarantine for three days if he visited Texas only for the transit, and I finally heard the good news: The answer was no! I walked up to the counter, and I told her that I came from Maine. She marked zero on my form, and I was finally allowed to meet my dad.
It was already dark when I got out of the airport. It was already eleven P.M.. My dad rushed from the hotel, as he didn’t expect to see me that day. We hugged each other, and my dad told me he was not doing this again. That night, my dad drove for seven hours north from Tokyo. I slept through the night in the back seat. When I woke up, it was six A.M., and we were in the ferry terminal in Aomori. Our ferry left at ten A.M.. We were both so tired that we slept through the ferry ride.
When we arrived in Hokkaido, I could finally see the roads I’m familiar with. It was as if I were dreaming, and I couldn’t be more surprised or excited. On the way back home, I heard more surprising news. My family moved!!! I’m going back to a new house!!! I was tired of surprises at that point, but I got very excited and everything started to seem real. I could finally meet my mom. She hugged me and welcomed me to our new house.
That was the end of my four-day journey. It was the most chaotic four days of my life, but being able to spend even ten days with my family made it worth it.
Over the course of my fifteen year lifetime, I have had the privilege of experiencing some of the most exciting, fun, and fascinating times of my life through community service. Community service is something that often goes overlooked, and doesn’t get the recognition that it should. However, the impacts that community service itself has on others can be tremendous and incredible. To me, community service means providing some source of help, entertainment, or just simply helping out the community in any way possible. I have done this in several ways during my time, and I hope it is something that I will continue to do, because as I mentioned above, its impacts can be tremendous. I enjoy helping others because it makes me feel accomplished, and that I have helped someone in need. Community service goes beyond just food drives, car washes, and penny drives. Community service can be anything as simple as holding the door for someone at the grocery store. Now, it may seem cliche, but it’s true. Sometimes all someone needs is something like that to make their day just a bit better
One of the ways that I personally have been able to grow my community service skills and perform them is through Woodside One Wheelers. Woodside One Wheelers is a performing circus arts group based out of Topsham, Maine at my elementary school, Woodside Elementary School. I have been a member of Woodside One Wheelers, also known as W.O.W., for about nine years. I started performing with W.O.W. in grade one, and am still a member to this day. As a group we not only perform, but help the local community. W.O.W. often runs food drives, fundraisers, and benefit performances for local charities or organizations. W.O.W. has taken me to many places that I would not have been able to go otherwise, including the West Virginia Strawberry Festival Parade and Street Performance, The Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom Parade, The Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Philadelphia 76er’s Halftime Show, and many more. These trips have allowed us to provide entertainment and help communities. I remember one specific event that made a lasting impression on me. This was during our Philadelphia trip in 2018 when we were performing and teaching at a downtown YMCA in Philadelphia. This performance was especially important to me because it made me happy to see all the children’s faces light up after seeing a unicycle for the first time. This experience may not seem like a typical community service event, but to me it is one of the best examples of giving back to the community. We not only taught these kids how to juggle and to perform with a group, but we taught them how to set a goal and work for it. That is special, and something that many children don’t have exposure to growing up. Once again, making these kids’ days just a little bit better left me with a smile on my face and gave me the feeling that I had helped and given back to the community.
Another opportunity that has allowed me to provide community service and help local communities is the Hebron Round Square. Round Square has taken me on many adventures already, and I hope to continue these adventures for my entire high school career. Through Round Square, I have participated in many events such as trash cleanup along Station Road, camping trips, and volunteer trips. Similar to W.O.W., I have one experience that stands out from others, and I wanted to talk a little more about it. MidCoast Hunger Prevention Program is a hunger prevention program based out of Brunswick, Maine, not far from my childhood home. The goal of MidCoast Hunger, otherwise known as M.C.H.P.P., is to put food in the kitchens of local families in need who are struggling to find food and meals. Through Hebron Round Square, I was able to take on my own individual project and plan a volunteer opportunity at M.C.H.P.P.. About five of us went to Brunswick and volunteered for about four hours helping make soup, cut vegetables, and plan meals. This experience was special to me because I was able to give back to a local organization that is close to my heart. It felt heartwarming to go home knowing that we had provided food for families who did not have three meals a day in a warm home.
Creating bonds with friends and getting together to help out the communities around us is something that I will always remember and value for the rest of my life, and I hope to continue doing it. As was mentioned in my brief explanation of my W.O.W. performance in Philadelphia, my community service has not only been special to me because I have helped others around me, but that I have also been able to learn valuable lessons within myself. The community service I have provided has allowed me to pass on lessons about not giving up and setting goals to achieve eventually. To me, community service is about giving back to others around you in order to make a difference and a better world.
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!
Birds chirping, sun shining, and a cool, crisp breeze gently blowing through my room. No hustle and bustle of cars to be heard. No rumble of a train running through town.
This is my life, every day, morning and night, growing up in rural Maine.
For my entire 17 years of life, I have lived in a small town called Casco.
Nearby are the towns of Naples, Bridgton, and Sebago, and much alike to Casco, they are small but full of life. Living here, everyone knows everyone and everything about everyone. There are no secrets to be kept. The kids here come from families who have been in this area for at least 4 generations, and the families have some of the most amazing stories to tell.
Living here is quite different than living in a city. First off, the biggest city that is actually close to me is Portland, which is still about an hour away. In comparison to New York or Boston, it’s decently smaller. Uber, Lyft, and even subway systems aren’t really a thing here. If you want to go somewhere you either call your friends or drive yourself.
Second, we really don’t have major sports teams in our area. Don’t get me wrong though, there are some of the most passionate Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics fans up through here, but we don’t quite have the easy access of being able to walk to The Garden or Fenway whenever there’s a game.
Despite the differences, there are so many wonderful experiences that I wouldn’t trade the world for, that I’ve had because of the area I live in. I live in one of the most beautiful places in Maine, with lakes surrounding the area all over. There are large, popular lakes, like Sebago and Long Lake that have some of the most beautiful views you could ever see. There are also quiet gems like Pleasant Pond, right in the middle of my town, that are perfect for taking the kayak or canoe out for a relaxing paddle.
Not only do we have the gorgeous lakes surrounding us, but we also have small, but still mighty mountains in the area to hike.
There is a particular mountain called Rattlesnake Mountain near me, which is a challenging hike, but extremely fun. There’s also There is no better feeling than hiking a mountain, and enjoying the view from the peak.
Though it is cool to hear about “big city life” and hear about the developments and furthering of technology and everything in cities, I still much rather prefer my quiet, small Maine town life. I wouldn’t trade the world for experiences I’ve had and memories I’ve made in the town I live in, and I very much agree with the statement “Maine: the way life should be!” I love this beautiful state, and everything it comes with. As the sign says as you’re entering Maine on the highway, “Welcome Home”, and welcome to my home.