Dean Koenig (V)
The Form V class spent their opening to the school year at the Lehigh River to go whitewater rafting. Since the junior class traveled to Philadelphia in previous years for their back-to-school trips, this trip was a surprise to students.
The grade was reunited from summer break at 8:30 A.M. in the dining center. From there, the students split into their advisory groups and boarded coach buses. When the buses arrived at the site, students got off and ate their packaged lunches on picnic tables, already surrounded by nature. As they ate, the juniors shared stories of their summers and discussed the upcoming school year.
After lunch, students and faculty listened in on a brief presentation given by the Pocono Whitewater Company. The presentation laid down guidelines for the experience to come, such as safety regulations and paddling recommendations. During the lecture, students and faculty were fitted for lifejackets.
Once everyone was ready to raft, students boarded buses once again and were driven to the river. Although the original plan was for advisory groups to raft together, students were able to join the raft they wished to be in as long as there were no more than seven people in it. Each raft was provided with a bucket, which was supposed to be used to remove water from the raft.
Aided by river guides, students and faculty began to make their way down the river. Soon enough, the rafts encountered the first wave of class II rapids. Students and faculty soon got splashed, or even submerged.
Along the way down the river, the river guides offered the rafters three opportunities to exit their rafts and swim in shallow water. During this time, students had fun in the water, splashing each other and climbing into other boats with their friends. “The battles between the raft crews on the river were epic,” Dr. James Murray said. Even some river guides got in on the action. Ethan Mannello (V) said, “The most fun part of the rafting was probably splashing people with buckets of water.”
Though the students enjoyed themselves, paddling took a great deal of energy and most were ready to head home by the time the rafting was over. Students and faculty were bussed back to the lunch location to retrieve their belongings before the coach busses took them back to school. The buses arrived at Pingry at around 7:00 P.M.
Sandy Friedman (V) remarked, “The retreat made me feel closer to a lot of my classmates.”
Overall, it was an exciting way for students to reconvene before classes began.