March came in like a lion yet didn’t go out like a lamb for the students of South Harrison Elementary School. During the first week of April, the students of South Harrison endured finicky weather conditions yet didn’t let that damper their three-day, two-night trip to the SOC campus.
Upon arrival the students became situated in their home away from home. Once settled, they headed to lunch to fill their bellies before heading down the road to ASEs.
ASEs are a trademark here at the SOC and stand for Action Socialization Experiences. During this session the students are put into a group to solve a common problem. This is a timed activity and the students may not accomplish solving the problem and that is okay. What is most important about this inaugural activity is the lessons learned during it. Lessons of communication, cooperation, patience, honesty, and teamwork to name a few!
Did you know that iron is the fourth most plentiful element that makes up the Earth’s crust? This is just one of the many facts that the students of South Harrison learned during their Metalsmithing session.
After learning some history of the trade, the students began their immersive experience in metalsmithing. In addition to working with iron, the students also worked with aluminum. While some students began their work on the forge making their s-hooks the others took a seat and worked on another project that didn’t involve heat from the fire. Because aluminum is a much softer metal to manipulate, the students worked on a tinsmithing project, which consisted of punching holes into a desired design that transpired onto the piece of aluminum.
Winding one’s way through Stokes State Forest can be an adventure but add in a compass and that adventure becomes twice as exciting. Students are introduced to the fundamentals of a compass during the SOC’s Orienteering class and by the end of this session students feel comfortable and confident in their compass reading abilities.
Beginning in an open space, the students honed their skills by accomplishing small tasks. These tasks were essential to their success on the course. Once completed, they began their journey winding through the forested landscape. Upon reaching their destinations the students were then confronted with a harder challenge. Not only did they have to begin bushwhacking through the forest, they also had to go longer distances! The course only becomes more challenging as the students’ progress through, but by the finish they are rewarded with ending at a nice area near the SOC’s Lake Wapalanne.
In addition to the classes listed above, the students of South Harrison also enjoyed Pioneer Life, Archery, and Wildlife Challenge.
The sixth graders also set forth on a tumultuous hike that lead them through key ecological and geographical parts of Stokes State Forest. They learned about various flora, fauna, and how the last ice age helped shaped the great state of New Jersey. After miles of hiking on sore feet and through unforgiving terrain the students were awarded with a nice, warm comfort meal for dinner.
I want to extend a thank you to all of the teachers and Coordinator, Carolyn Olsen, for their efforts in the running of such a smooth trip during a time of cantankerous weather conditions. Once again, we thoroughly enjoyed having the students of South Harrison on campus and can’t wait for next year!
Article written by Veronica Puza