Connected by Creativity

‘Twas the night before classes started and stress was high. Semester 72 had been at Chewonki for three days and through the bonding process, we learned of our shared excitement and fear for a full academic schedule. It was with this trepidation that we entered our last official orientation day. I think my science teacher would be proud to hear me compare our group to a bunch of baby birds (though she’d ask for our specific species), hesitantly creeping toward the edge of our makeshift Chewonki comfort nest and jumping into something brand new. When it was announced that we’d be hosting our first coffeehouse night to commemorate the transition, I was thrilled. Not only did it give me something to look forward to instead of a night of desperately trying to memorize my schedule, but I had also heard so much about it from past semesters in these very blog posts.

I’m not going to lie, I went in with low expectations. Putting a group of teenagers together for a talent show can either be chaotic or impressively excellent and I had no idea which way it would go. I can now say with confidence that it was most certainly the latter. There were many different talents ranging from a step routine to a Just Dance extravaganza. Several violin, cello, and guitar players collaborated on a folk music moment. There was a storybook reading as well as a few miscellaneous performances, but my favorite went beyond the stage.

Advertised as a poetry reading, I fully expected to be lulled further into orientation week exhaustion with some rhythmic recitation. What actually happened was far from a time for sleep. Two lines into this “poem,” it became clear that my fellow Semester 72 student was reciting “Aaron Burr, Sir” from the musical Hamilton. Little did I know, I was not the only musical theater fanatic in our coffeehouse that night. People started mouthing the words, me included, and contagiously, the volume slowly rose. By the middle of the song, it had become a riotous moment of show tune celebration. We finished it off several minutes later and between laughs of glee at what just happened, I felt immensely refreshed.

I honestly hadn’t expected to be able to carry my love of musicals to Chewonki especially given the limitations on technology. However, I’m quickly learning that if you make space for what you love, the Chewonki community will make space for you. There is an abundance of kindness here and immense value placed on every individual. I am carrying this lesson into my coming weeks on this beautiful campus with the hopes that I can become a better listener. I want to create connections with those around me and clearly, finding the common ground on which to do that is not as hard as I imagined it to be. I think I speak for all of the semester when I say we went into classes the next day with a “we’re all in this together” attitude, ready for whatever may come. A week later, you can still find us blasting this soundtrack often. I have no doubt that for the rest of Semester 72 and beyond, my new Chewonki family will remain connected by creativity, and of course, Hamilton.

-Selena Schulz, Sunlake High School, Land o’ Lakes, FL

More News from Maine Coast Semester:

Please enable JavaScript in your browser.