Each year, our 9th grade students embark on a three day hiking trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Carrying heavy backpacks and navigating tricky trails, it's a trip that demands resilience and inner strength, and also rewards leadership, empathy, and kindness.

Here's what our Outdoor Adventure & Education Director, Eliza Statile, shared with the school community upon returning from this year's adventure.

Hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire is no small feat, and for many of our students this was the most challenging and longest stretch of trail that they have ever experienced. Over the course of two days, our students climbed to the summit of three mountains: Mount Guyot, South Twin, and Zealand Mountain. For reference, South Twin Mountain (4,902 feet) is New Hampshire’s eighth highest summit and the 13th highest in the Northeast.

During our time hiking, students were challenged both mentally and physically. While climbing up slippery rocks and steep sections of the trail, they encouraged each other to keep putting one foot in front of the other. The support for one another during challenging stretches of the trail and when energy was fading was admirable. We discussed how you can fight the urge to quit when the going gets tough, by controlling the voice in your head that may say “I can’t do this,” and instead turning that into “I CAN do this,” and “I believe in myself!” All of the students showed great inner strength and I hope they continue to draw on that strength and courage as they progress through this year at IMS and beyond.

In the evening, students spent time reflecting on the value of this trip, as well as advice they would give our rising 9th grade students prior to their trip next year. It was wonderful to witness the bonding that occurred; these connections between students will bring them closer as they navigate the many adventures of ninth grade, and all of the opportunities and challenges that come with it. They returned from this trip as powerful role models for our younger students.

A banana was carried on the White Mountain adventure:  a reference to the Savannah Bananas baseball team, whose purpose is to bring joy to everything they do.