CS19 (Fall 2019) proved to be an ambitious and admirable group of young adults who did a fantastic job of not just completing their coursework, but also living together in harmony, supporting one another, and becoming exemplary environmental stewards. The staff was sad to see the students leave Lowenwood but felt privileged to have gotten to know them this past fall. The end of the semester is always bittersweet with the understanding that students’ growth at Conserve School has come to an end, and the new growth of returning to their sending communities with new knowledge and skills to share is just beginning.
On Friday, December 20th, students dressed up to attend the Semester Celebration dinner. At the end of dinner, students were treated to a cake that was both beautiful and delicious. It artfully represented their semester and outdoor experiences by portraying the change of season from fall to winter. Local baker Laura McPherson lovingly made this decadent creation for the students of CS19. Everything was edible on the cake, including the surrounding outdoor-themed details!
After everyone had a slice of cake or two, CS19 students received the gift of canoe paddles, a Conserve School tradition. Headmaster Stefan Anderson talked about the symbolism of the paddles, noting that they represent "teamwork" and the ability to "go farther and faster together." Humorously, he noted that "they are awkward to pack and to move with, so we hope that when each student moves, they might reflect on their Conserve School experience as they struggle with transporting this gift." Further, Stefan talked about how "each Conserve School semester is linked" and that perhaps while out on a paddling adventure in the wilderness, one might notice the Conserve School Leaf on a fellow adventurers paddle and immediately feel the shared bond of their Conserve School experience.
At the final dinner, CS19 also had their first student body selected semester speaker, Ruby Guzman from Madison, WI, address the class. After her humorous yet sentimental speech, dinner came to a close, and students had their photos taken with their new paddles. Following that, everyone made their way to the Community Room to share memories and final reflections on the semester. The night concluded with a candlelight circle out at Five Corners, a symbolic location at Lowenwood, to state their hopes for the future.
The next day the class of 62 students was commissioned with families in attendance. Speeches were given by student-selected student speakers Nyah Maddox from Southfield, MI, and Sydney Manno from Brookville, PA. There were also two student musical performances during the celebration. The ceremony concluded with a Memories Slideshow and many tearful goodbyes before students left Lowenwood with their families, homeward bound.
Below are videos from the dinner and the recognition ceremony:
Congratulations CS19! You are now part of the 1054 Conserve School Semester alumni community, commissioned as Environmental Stewards. We look forward to hearing about your journey!
Photos contributed by Stefan Anderson, Head of School, Jennifer Anderson, Enrollment and Marketing Associate, and Kate Houle, Communications Specialist.