Thank you for sharing

Melissa Stagnaro

With several vehicles taking different routes to Lake Placid yesterday, not everyone arrived at the same time, so some schedule adjustments were necessary. When Mr. Maiurano got the word that the kids who participated in the Sherburne Pageant of Bands wouldn’t be arriving until even later than the rest, he did some shuffling. Instead of playing mini golf at the end of the day, the social event got bumped to the forefront which, considering everyone was a bit wound up from all those hours of driving, was a good thing.

I wish I could say that I impressed everyone with my superior putting abilities, but that wasn’t the case. I definitely enjoyed the diversion though, and the views. It is absolutely gorgeous here.

I’d expected to spend the rest of the night in some common area at the hotel, but I was wrong. After mini-golf, we hopped into the bus and headed into downtown Lake Placid. We parked behind NBT’s branch which backs up to Mirror Lake, and with the slightly haunting cries of a common loon in the background got our marching orders.

The students’ first assignment took them onto the streets of Lake Placid to find items that represented their own values, as well as something that represented Norwich High School to them. Believe me, in a place as clean as Lake Placid, this wasn’t an easy task. A great deal of creativity was required.

After about 30 minutes (and some Ben & Jerry’s) everyone reconvened in their committees (food, safety and site) to “debrief” from the exercise. Each of these committees consists of students from different backgrounds and interests, who probably say hello as they pass one another in the halls, but that’s about it. Yet here they were, having active, involved discussions. It was amazing.

The next portion of the group session was lead by Kurt Edwards, who began by talking about the people and factors which influence us in our daily lives. After taking a few minutes to jot down their thoughts, the kids gathered at the edge of the lake to share. It was emotional for some as they talked about how their parents, friends, teachers, sports and even their own past decisions and mistakes influence their lives.

Then Edwards read an excerpt from the book Uncommon by Tony Dungy. It was about the decisions two young men from very different backgrounds made which ended with them in prison. He asked each of the kids to write down something they had done which they wished they could change. Again, everyone split off to write their response. But this time, instead of sharing what they had written, the sheets were collected in an envelope and destroyed. This was to signify that the past was just that, the past. And it was necessary to put that behind you to move forward.

Mr. Maiurano said several times that “time was irrelevant” during the evening, but by my body clock it was awfully late by the time we returned to the hotel and gathered for one more brief chat before turning in the night. It had to be about 1 a.m. before we got to sleep, and morning came early.

Today will be a big day, and we’re on a tight schedule.