We close each semester with celebration, ceremony and some tearful goodbyes. There is a delicious feast, some parting gifts, and words of wisdom as students prepare for their next chapter.
The end of a semester is always filled with activity; celebration, ceremony, and often emotion. Some doors close while others open. The knowledge of impermanence can hit hard, tears are shed. Conserve School students are sent back to their home communities with new experiences, thoughts, ideas, ambitions, and opportunities that they have forged over the course of their semester in the northwoods of Wisconsin.
On the Friday night before they depart, staff and students get dressed up and participate in a celebratory dinner. Chef Scott, along with the incredibly dedicated kitchen staff as well as some students collect recipes and make menu decisions to make the dinner extra special and globally minded. Take a look at the menu from the delicious CS15 feast.
Semester Celebration Feast Menu
Salad with Feta, Apples, Cranberries (on side) and bacon (on side) – Separate Salad Table - Deb
Carved Strip loin of Beef
Lamb Korma with Naan Bread - Long - Scott
Isaiah Fried Chicken - Long - Drew & Isaiah
Macaroni & Cheese - Long - Gary
Roasted Root Vegetables - Long - Drew
Lentil Dahl - Long - Scott
Curried CousCous – Round - Judy
Latkes with Applesauce & Sour Cream - Long - Judy
Cranberry Wild Rice Bread – Separate Bread Table with Butters - Judy
Honey Butter/Cranberry Butter/Butter - Deb
Yule Log – Separate Dessert Table - Paul
It is a Conserve School tradition to give each student a personalized, wooden, canoe paddle on the last evening of the semester. The paddles are engraved with a Conserve School leaf and the names of each student from the students attending semester. The paddles are beautiful, decorative, and symbolic, but also functional. With an extra coat of varnish each paddle is water ready! Students are always excited to receive their paddles
Following dinner, and after receiving their paddles, everyone retires to the community room with full bellies and full hearts. This is where memorable and inspiring moments from the semester are shared along with a heaping helping of gratitude for friends, teachers, and new experiences.
Then everyone bundles up and heads out to five corners. This is the same clearing in the woods where Jim Lowenstine would gather with companions as they set off into the woods on adventures. The scene is enchanting with a candlelit path and a bonfire lighting the way. Each CS15 student silently lights a candle from a neighbor as they file around to complete the circle before briefly sharing their hopes, dreams, and plans for the future. There is a feeling of both optimism as well as shared responsibility for the future among both staff and students.
On Saturday, parents arrive and students must say their goodbyes... They are saying goodbye to each other and their shared home in the northwoods, where they have developed a deep sense of place and planted seeds that will continue to grow. But not before a family lunch is served and the CS15 Recognition Ceremony takes place with musical performances, student speeches and the famous, headmaster curated, end of semester Memories Slideshow! This is a graduation of sorts. Students are now alumni.