Family Weekend
Cade CS19 (Fall 2019), Royal Palm Beach, FL

Conserve School held family weekend for CS19 families at "Lowenwood," the Conserve School campus, from October 3rd to 5th. The beauty of the Northwoods was popping, with near-peak fall color as a backdrop to the classes and other activities. A variety of different family members had the opportunity to experience a slice of the Conserve School life that students live every day. The weekend began with breakfast on Friday, followed by the opportunity for families to shadow students in their classes and free time. They enjoyed Art, Photography, Spanish, Math, Environmental Science, History, English, Environmental Stewardship, and Outdoor Skills; it was a busy academic day with many chances to be in the outdoors.

On Saturday, families had the opportunity to have individual teacher conferences if they chose to and explore Lowenwood more or even go off campus into the town of Land O’ Lakes. In the evening, there was a slide show of the semester and an “open mic” in the theater. Families departed Conserve School Sunday afternoon, somewhat exhausted after all of that activity, leaving their students to continue their semester. Keep reading to learn more about CS19 Cade's (Royal Palm Beach, FL) Family Weekend experience.  

~Kate Houle, Communications Specialist

Cade writes: 

The day had finally come, too soon for some, while for others, it could not come quickly enough. It was Family Weekend at Conserve School! I couldn’t wait; my two older sisters were coming in my parent’s stead. And while I love my parents, I couldn’t wait to share this weekend with my sisters. I was looking forward to showing them what had been my home for more than a month and simply hang out together. Because they both live on the west coast, I don’t get to see them very often, so this weekend was extra special. The weekend turned out to be a blast.

We learned Gelli Plate printing in earth art, took portraits in photography and learned about the Klondike Gold Rush in English. We also learned more about glacial movement in the Northwoods and how it affected the topography of this area in history, and then we went on a hike in science. We followed this by hanging out by the fire playing SET and Spades before going to the Lowenwood Recreation Center to meet other families and play games like Mafia. The next day, we had a quiet morning with more hanging out by the fire. Then we worked on earth art homework, corded basswood, and made good use of the open waterfront by canoeing. 

While Family Weekend was terrific, it taught me something other than how much I enjoy spending time with my sisters. It taught me how close and comfortable I am with this community. The first time I walked into the LAB after the majority of the families had arrived, it was shocking not to recognize everyone I saw. It made me realize how tightly knit we have built this community. The student body, the staff, and everyone else (including the dogs) have indeed formed a comfortable and healthy community. In this environment, I feel safe to be myself, through activities such as student life seminars, as well as openly addressing and dealing with issues. I think that there has been a level of trust built up between everyone, and I feel safe expressing my opinions without fearing judgment and unhealthy conflict. Although not everyone may agree with my views, I trust everyone to be respectful and open to them. While this revelation about the nature of the Conserve family seems deep for simply walking into a room and not recognizing the people inside, I feel that this atmosphere of trust is an accomplishment for our community. It is indeed an accomplishment with which the population here should be extremely pleased. I don’t know all of my peers exceptionally well, as I have not had full conversations with everyone, yet I trust them. This trust is something in which I feel we, as a community, can all take pride.

*Photo of Conserve family bonding by spontaneously engaging in fun parachute games during free time.

With this in mind, after Family Weekend was over, the goodbyes and sadness passed, my thoughts turned to how grateful and lucky I am to have the opportunity to attend this school. I have watched myself grow and change so much already, and I am not even halfway through with this experience (thankfully). I can only imagine how much I will have grown when this experience is over. While this may be said often, I can only repeat that Conserve School is a life-changing experience. If one were to liken the Conserve students to seedlings, then Conserve School is the fertilizer. It nurtures us, allows us to grow and explore who we are, as well as who we want to become. If ever you get the chance, as a student, or just a visitor, I strongly suggest you visit Conserve School; the people and environment here are amazing.

Photos contributed by Stefan Anderson, Rachel Keller, and Cade CS19 (Fall 2019),  Royal Palm Beach, FL.