A HUGE congratulations to Semester 64 students, who graduated last Friday in a virtual ceremony. Semester 64 will go down in Chewonki history as one of the most resilient groups to ever set foot on campus. They have shown dedication, creativity, and grit in the face of immense challenge, maintaining a strongly-bonded learning community through two months of remote education. We are so proud of them.
When Semester 64 left for spring break in early March, few could have predicted the profound impact that Covid-19 would have on our country in the coming weeks. With schools unable to open their campuses, the pivot to distance learning was an unforeseen obstacle for all. For Maine Coast Semester, adapting our placed-based, experiential curriculum into an online format proved an exceptional challenge. Yet, our students and faculty rose to the occasion with grace and tenacity. Morning meetings continued on a daily basis (now at 11:00 am to accommodate different time zones). In addition, students continued classes, study hours, weekly cabin meetings, virtual game nights, knitting circles, and weekend coffee house performances.
As the semester drew to a close, students had the opportunity to participate in a 24-hour wilderness solo – a highlight of our outdoor program. Students were supported in choosing a place in their home environment where they could experience solitude, quiet, and connection to the natural world. For some, that meant camping out in their backyards; for others, it meant exploring local parks, observing wildlife, and journaling. Our faculty helped students embark on their unique solo adventures and welcomed them back afterwards to process as a group.
Our final week was filled with reflection and celebration. On Thursday, students shared words of appreciation at a school meeting focused on gratitude. On Friday afternoon, they participated in transition workshops led by faculty and staff from across the Chewonki foundation. And finally, on Friday evening, students honored their time together at a virtual art show and graduation ceremony. When asked to describe the Semester 64 community in one word, here’s what students had to say:
Thank you to Hope Jerris for compiling these responses and creating this wonderful word cloud. And thank you to all Semester 64 students for a meaningful and memorable semester! We are grateful that you are all part of our learning community, and we wish you the very best this summer and beyond.