Spring 2020 Student Orientation to Idaho

Alzar School | 11.03.20

After a smooth (albeit long) couple of days of traveling from Coyhaique to Cascade, students spent most of their first weekend on our Idaho campus recharging.

Julia and Wrede cozy up in their yurt.
Darshan and Zeke give yurt inspection a ‘thumb’s up’.

Friday night pizza. Saturday sleep-in. Wood stove warmed yurts. The climbing wall. Ping pong. Frozen lake reflections. Digital storytelling class. Chopping wood. Fresh snow. That salad bar though… 

These are just a few of the answers I heard from students and staff when asked what they enjoyed most about their first few days here. Everyone unpacked, relaxed, and explored their new Idahome with their favorite Idahomies (copyright pending for Semester XVI). 

Chopping wood and hanging out: Montse, Julie, Ellie, Emily, Kaia and Sam.

In their first full digital storytelling class, students began splicing video clips and images into short films about their time in Chile. This is a creative and meaningful way for students to synthesize their experiences thus far – not to mention they’ll be able to revisit them for years to come. I’ve seen some really impressive edits already, but that doesn’t surprise me with this impressive group of students!

One of the first words that comes to mind when I think of this semester is definitely ‘enthusiasm’.

During a fun “orientation to campus” scavenger hunt, students discovered the Barn’s game room: a great space to unwind by practicing moves on the climbing wall or competing in an intense game of ping pong (seriously competitive… they’ve already planned a tournament for Sunday). One student expressed gratitude in Monday’s Community Meeting for the inclusivity others have shown about spending time at the Barn, noting that the experienced climbers intentionally created space for the novice climbers to use the bouldering wall. I’ve also noticed that even students who are not climbing or playing ping pong come to the Barn just to watch and be with their friends (and it’s really just a garage, y’all… no cozy couches or big-screen TVs in this game room!). Not every group of students enjoys the Barn with such enthusiasm, but then I’d say one of the first words that comes to mind when I think of this semester is definitely “enthusiasm”. We anticipate many more wonderful things from Semester XVI, and the Idaho portion of our time together is only beginning!