Explore and Experiment
For nearly five decades, Lawrence Academy has embraced the idea of experiential education through Winterim. The two-week mini-term in March is a central feature of LA’s educational program, breaking students out of their normal routines and encouraging them to open their minds, bodies, and hearts to new experiences. For some, Winterim is a cool, fun, and unique experience; for others, a Winterim program will end up infuencing their chosen path of study in college or their future career.
Roughly 44 Winterim options are offered each year, with each course falling into one of ve areas: cultural immersion, academic eld study, service learning, crafts and skills, or outdoor adventure. Students can stay on campus and in the Groton area or venture out of state – or even out of the country – and are encouraged to take advantage of the diverse areas of study and explore a variety of options throughout their time at Lawrence Academy.
For Example: The Maripositas
As part of Winterim, Lawrence Academy students have been working with the Mariposa Foundation in the Dominican Republic since 2001. Spanish teachers Nate Cabot and Rob Moore lead the trip to the northern coastal town of Cabarete where, under the guidance of LA alumna parent and Mariposa Foundation Executive Director Patricia Suriel, students work with the 7-16-year-old girls, nicknamed “maripositas” (“butterflies” in Spanish), who are part of the program.
“These girls are so voracious and full of energy and optimism. Despite coming from extreme poverty, they want to learn all they can and fulfill all their dreams,” shares Rob Moore. While teaching, mentoring and playing with the Maripositas, Lawrence students “see the joy and happiness in these little girls and think deeply about what happiness is and what sources of happiness are.” They also spend time visiting some of the Maripositas’ homes, working to better the Mariposa Foundation’s facilities, and cleaning up plastic debris from the nearby Yásica River.
Experience It Firsthand...
In addition to the Lawrence Academy group’s vital work at the Mariposa Foundation, students also explore their surroundings and the Dominican culture through excursions to the Waterfalls of Damajagua and a trip to La Boca, where the Yásica River meets the sea. Although knowledge of the Spanish language is not a prerequisite for the Dominican Service Project Winterim, students in the program learn and experience the language in an immersive setting, and Spanish lessons at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels are taught throughout the two weeks.
“It’s one thing to hear about life in developing countries on the news and from other people, but it’s another thing to actually see it and experience it firsthand,” says Matt Noel ’19. “The students and the teachers alike seemed extremely grateful that we were there to help them, and I felt the same in return. It’s something special to be part of a community that cares so much about the betterment of the world and encourages its students to be good people.
Note: Individual programs are subject to change.
Insight into the World of Communications
by Mark Bedetti ‘19
Following a hearty meal at Julian’s in Providence, Rhode Island, on March 9 the LA Winterim News Team ventured to Schneider Arena at Providence College to watch the PC Friars face off against the University of Maine Black Bears in men's ice hockey.
LA's team got a chance to watch the Hockey East quarterfinal game while having the opportunity to speak with staff from the two teams, as well as a writer from the Providence Journal.
Mike Billings, PC's Senior Assistant Director of Athletic Media Relations, took the time to give the News Team a tour of the college's ice hockey complex. Billings, who has spent the past three years with Providence College, described his job as doing "a little bit of everything."
He explained that he is primarily in charge of the website and any social media account -- from Twitter to Snapchat -- and despite the long hours both off and on game days, Billings added that it is the perfect deal, particularly as he still has the chance to recharge over the summer.
"It’s a job that I’ve always dreamed to have and it’s something that I really enjoy," he said. "I couldn’t ask for anything more."
Assistant Director of Athletic Communications for UMaine, Katie Peverada, also took the time to answer some questions that I had regarding her role on the team and how someone who is interested into going into a position like hers may do so.
You see, Peverada grew up playing hockey, but her career was cut short due to injury, leading her to find her way into athletic communications. LA's students asked her about any possible advice that she had to give to someone who might have an interest in working towards a position in college athletics.
"Reach out to local schools, local teams," she said.
As an example, Peverada described her past experience working for other colleges and getting the opportunity to be exposed to the national level as crucial experience to building up a resume.
"Most of the time they are not going to be able to pay you but… people see that you love what you are doing and that you are really interested in that field."
The News Team also had the privilege of speaking with Mark Divver, Assistant Sports Editor for the Providence Journal.
Divver, a veteran member of New England's hockey's press corps, offered an alternate perspective to journalism and communications in college sports in comparison to Katie Peverada and Mike Billings.
Divver described his job as “long hours, low pay, lots of fun.” Although he writes about hockey on both the college and professional level, he admitted to enjoying college hockey over the pros.
“I love covering college hockey,” he said. “I love the players, the coaches, the people around it are some of the best, most genuine people you’ll ever hope to meet.”
Divver says that he could never have imagined he would have the opportunity to write about what he loves and explained that after working in news for twenty years, it is a “blessing” to be able to share writing about something he loves.
Thanks to Billings, Peverada, and Divver, the Winterim News Team left the rink with new thoughts on what a career in communications may look like, and with new insight on everything from the path that led them to where they are now; a place where their love for the game helps them survive through the endless hours of hard work.
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