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Orientation trip bonds an ever-growing group of student-athletes and faculty

Enrollment in Killington Mountain School’s full-term program has reached an all-time high in what is the fifth year of its existence, with 45 students arriving on campus eager for the 2016-2017 school year. The group spent two nights in Plymouth at the Farm and Wilderness camp property, making use of the beautiful waterfront setting and wooded surroundings.

Upon arrival on Tuesday afternoon, students engaged in some ice breaker activities before dropping off belongings in their cabins and jumping into the water to cool off. Team Orange was on dinner duty, and they prepared a meal that everyone thoroughly enjoyed. After dinner, the entire group along with the school’s faculty and staff, joined together for the House team announcements. Each House leader called up their academic advisers, faculty members, and student members, one-by-one. Assistant Head of School Dave Willis gave everyone a laugh when he revealed that he’d called the parents of each student on his team to find out stories about them that the rest of the student body may not know; the stories were met with a great deal of laugher and some slightly horrified looks by those on team Jus D’Orange. Greg Hadley was decked out in red from head to toe as he called up his team members, and Head of School Tao Smith managed to introduce each person on his House team and include background information about them without the aid of any notes– an impressive (and impromptu) feat!

After s’mores by the fire (which was lit thanks to Max Wonsavage’s camping preparedness; thanks, Max!), the students played some manhunt, sardines, and headed to bed.

Team Red was up bright and early on Wednesday to cook an awesome breakfast for the group, after which everyone made sandwiches which they packed for lunch and piled into vehicles to head to Colchester for the much-anticipated main event: paintball! Some in the group evidenced their experience at the pastime by being decked out in full camouflage; others were brand new to paintball, their novice status reflected in their thin, brightly colored clothing and panicky eyes. Let’s be real: paintball hurts but man, it is fun! It’s amazing how a group can bond over doling out painful wounds to one another, but there’s no question the group left a tighter (more bruised) bunch.

Once back at camp, the water beckoned the sweaty, tired, paint-sodden group. After swimming, team Yellow served yet another great meal followed again with s’mores by the campfire. Several students and staff members took advantage of the still water and evening light to partake in some fly fishing, with Tommy Shantler catching his first-ever fish on a fly rod, Paul Ferri landing a rock bass, and Tao Smith imparting some of his well-earned wisdom about the sport to a handful of students, eager to learn.

After some campfire chatting, games of manhunt, and stargazing, the group once again headed to bed, falling asleep to the sound of loons and owls.

Thursday morning brought an awesome pancake breakfast cooked by team Blue, several games of capture the flag on the island in the middle of the reservoir, and some swimming and fun before packing up and heading back to school.

There’s something about getting away from campus and enjoying nature together as a group that leaves everyone feeling closer to one another and ready to tackle another school year. New friendships were made and old ones were strengthened, House team alliances were built, and on Thursday night the entire group was reminded, that no matter how much fun was had, there’s nothing quite like sleeping in your own bed! Here’s to a great 2016-2017 school year!




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