TYLER ARLE, JUNIOR
One of the best parts of the River’s program for me was that as a Cohort, both the students and the faculty were one learning community. Whether there was a teacher at the front of the room or a student up there presenting, everybody in that classroom had an open mind to try something new, learn something new, and find something new that they love and are passionate about. On the first day of the program, Michael stood at the front of the room and talked about generally what the semester would look like, although there was no way we really could have known until we went through it ourselves. But I remember him stopping at one point and saying “If you think you have anything more to offer than someone else in this room, you’re wrong. And If you think you have anything less to over than someone else in this room, you’re wrong.”
Now I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking at the time, "How can you know that? You just met us!" But he was right. Every single person in CXI had a special talent, passion, interest and knowledge for something that they could share with the group. And we weren’t just hearing about what other people like to do, but we were getting involved ourselves.
I was learning about history through the music I write, I was learning about science, not by being fed facts in a classroom, but by being out in the world and discovering it for myself. I learned about the dance culture that Jasmil and Frankaris come from and what dance means to them. And then they taught us some dances. Now will I ever be a good dancer? Probably not. But dance is one of the most direct responses to music, which is what I love to study. So learning about dance helps me learn more about what I love, and it also allows me to connect with what Jasmil and Frankaris love.
I love music, I love performing arts. But Tracie can back me up on this: I’m not very good at the visual arts. However, with the first set of artifacts, I stayed pretty close to my comfort zone and wrote a song and performed it for the group. But I watched others go far beyond their comfort zone and try things that were completely new to them. So I decided for my fire artifact that I was going to make a painting. Sharing my thoughts visually was unfamiliar and a little overwhelming as it was right on the canvas for everyone to see. But that’s what a learning community is all about. It's supporting and being supported. Its inspiring and its being inspired. It's learning and it's teaching. And like a river, it's flowing and it's revolving
ZELLA BERGMAN, SENIOR
When I entered the Rivers room on our first day, it was a hectic whirlwind of fun.
Over time, I began to realize that our cohort was embracing our collective quirkiness – from dancing on tables to performing improv on stage before an audience – our cohort did not hold back from making this the most rich and valuable experience possible.
I also want to acknowledge that we could not have had our special semester without the teachers. Each and every one of them was capable of making you feel appreciated and supported. These teachers became our mentors, as well as our close friends.
I could go on and on for hours raving about my four months in rivers. Especially about our hikes to devil's staircase, our skating on the fairyland pond, our exciting bus rides to and from memorable places…
But the biggest thing I will take away from this semester in Rivers is how learning can be a more enjoyable experience when surrounded by students and teachers who you look up to and love, just as they do back.
I am grateful for the lessons that taught me to think with an open mind, pushed me beyond my comfort zone, and allowed me to pursue that which puts a smile on my face.
So as we end our time together, it is all bittersweet, and I can’t fully capture my emotions in words. I do know I want to say thank you c12 – for all the laughs, the cries, the walks, the songs, the sharing and most importantly the friendships. With the help and support of all of you, I have grown more in the past few months as a learner and as an individual, than in my past 17 years combined.
Thank you for making this journey one that I will never forget throughout my lifetime, and one that has impacted me, and I hope all of us, for the better.