Like a growing number of graduating high school seniors, including the president’s daughter Malia Obama, Conor Belfield ’14 took a year off before starting college in 2015.
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Liam Tuveson participated in an adventure of a lifetime as part of a fall semester program with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).
After graduating from Groton School, Groton, Massachusetts, in 2015, he embarked on the course from Aug. 28-Nov. 24, 2015. “In the weeks prior to the semester, I prepared by working out at Cook Performance, Batesville, and I spent some time looking at reviews and videos of the course online to prepare for what I might have to deal with,” he said.
Whether you're swimming in crystal-clear lakes, taking in the stunning panoramic views of mountains, or frolicking in fields of blooming wildflowers, camping in nature can be one of the best ways to get out and enjoy the summer months.
But how do you pick a campsite in a country overflowing with natural beauty? Nearly 1 million square miles (2.6 million square kilometers), or about 14 percent of the U.S.' total landmass, is under some form of protection, according to Protected Planet, an international database of nature reserves and protected spaces worldwide.
“For us, it’s a small stretch,” said Keaton, who has been the Antioch School’s Kindergarten teacher for 10 years, after beginning her career in public schools. Not only does Forest Kindergarten embody the school’s educational ideals, but it also builds on Keaton’s own classroom organization. “I’ve never had a day where we didn’t go outside,” she said. Also, her class, like others at the school, “has taken weekly hikes in the Glen for many years.”
Imagine a class that backpacks through Washington’s North Cascades for 29 days. This is a reality with the North Cascades Mountaineering course offered through the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). In this course, 10 lucky students, with the aid of two instructors, travel through the North Cascades and encounter deep valleys, jagged peaks, vast glaciers, and cascading waterfalls.
What is a gap year?
Originally popularized in the United Kingdom, a gap year is a year students take between high school and starting college most typically to travel, volunteer or work.
Often, these students will have already been accepted into a college who work with admissions counselors to defer their starting dates. Some universities are more willing than others to do this, but its becoming a more accepted practice each year.
Even though going straight to college after senior year may still be the norm at Saint Thomas Aquinas, one student is taking a different path. Senior Wesley Weissend plans to take a gap year to pursue a year in a program after his graduation.
“My dad had told me about the organization [National Outdoor Leadership School] a long time ago and I looked into during one of their classic month long courses in the summer,” Weissend said. His original plan was just to do a program in the summer before his freshman year of college.
The American Gap Association (AGA) released a report containing results from a new survey on gap year participation among college-age students. The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) is an accredited gap year provider through the AGA.
Truly, the best part about all of those choices is that students will often get credit for the experience when they do go to college.
Over three months last fall Kevin Cadogan got a chance to hike 38 miles in the Wind River Range in Wyoming, rock climb in southern Idaho, and take part in an 84-mile canoe expedition on Utah’s Green River and San Juan River.
The expedition was the dream of a lifetime for the 20-year-old Sudbury native, who as a child summited several of New England's highest peaks with his stepdad, including Mt. Washington, Mt. Kathadin, and Mt. Mansfield.