The Holidays are Here!

As the cold fronts come in, so too does the holiday spirit!  From the dining hall to the dorm, signs of festivities can be found all over campus.

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This particular decoration was in Wetherell Dining Hall

First things first, what would the holidays be without music?  On the Friday before winter break, our concert band, jazz band, acapella groups, symphony orchestra, and choral groups graced us with both wonderful renditions of classic holiday songs as well as a few new twists (see below!).  The holiday concert is held nearby in Exeter High School’s auditorium, and there are buses to take students to and from the performance.  What I really like about going is getting to see and experience this terrific event with teachers, my fellow Exonians and their families, and people from the town of Exeter.

Those performing included our Jazz Ensemble, acapella groups, Symphonia, Concert Choir, Concert Band (counterclockwise from top left), and more!

One of the many fun events hosted on campus during the holiday season is the gingerbread house competition.  Students form teams to try and make the most artistic, clever, and, don’t forget, stable gingerbread house.  The event is supported by local bakeries who provide the gingerbread and icing for each group.  The Student Activities office supplies the candy.  Grainger Auditorium in the Phelps Science Center was almost completely full with students having fun with friends, teachers, and staff while architectural masterpieces were being created, huge messes were being made, and more than a few marshmallows were being surreptitiously eaten.  My team’s plan was to set up the house structurally first and then begin with the fun part: decorating!  We dubbed our décor “business in the front, party in the back.”  The event ended with icing everywhere, a few toppled houses, and prizes going to the top three teams.

Coming from the South, I was not prepared at first for the early arrival of snow.  However, I have since learned that there is a large positive that comes with snow: epic snowball fights!  The best one, by far, happened as my three friends/teammates and I walked out of the gingerbread house-making competition.  Two of our friends were crouched and waiting with snowballs in hand.  I ducked and ran our sugary creation into Grill in the student center and returned outside to join in the fight!  We formed our teams and aimed for each other using a snow bank as a dividing line.  About half an hour and a few frozen hands later, we all went inside to warm up with big smiles on our faces!

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Finally, one of the biggest holiday celebrations on campus is Secret Santa.  Most of the dorms call it “angeling.”  In some dorms (mostly boys’ dorms) it is a one-night affair, but in others (mostly girls’ dorms), it spans days.  In wonderful Hoyt Hall, we chose names out of a hat and prepared gifts to give our “mortal” to whom we would play “angel” over four days during the last week before winter break.  While staying within a chosen monetary limit, we left gifts for our mortals over the first three days, building up to our big reveal on Friday night!  I’ve found that people can get very creative: from decorated rooms to monogrammed blankets to a note from each girl in the dorm.  On the final night, everyone has one chance to guess before being told who their angel is and being given their final gift.  It is always a fun time in the dorm with all of us together, and there is always lots of laughter.

Secret Santa at Knight House

Every year in Knight House we do Secret Santa! Everyone gathers around the common room Christmas tree. Presents wrapped in notebook paper or in shopping bag rest under the fake pine. Fabio, the dorm cat, follows suit. I turn on the holiday indie music and the gift-giving commences. We all sit with our eggnog and colored mini cupcakes. Everyone receives their present and has to guess who got it for them. I got my friend Ian 90 degree glasses so he can lay down and read at the same time. I received a teddy bear and chocolates from a new lower in our dorm, Gordon from Hong Kong. He noticed I liked his llama plush, and so he got me something just like it. It’s a great time for the dorm – the only thing missing is the fire.

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My Favorite Teacher

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Hey everyone! Halloween has passed and the holiday season is upon us.  My favorite time of year is right around the corner and I can’t wait – I’ve been listening to Christmas music since July.  As the holiday season nears, Fall term nears its end as well.  These first few months back have been filled with plenty of hard work and chill times as well. From my first U.S. History paper, helping a teacher get cast into a main role for a Marvel movie, to still being undefeated in soccer.  My day is split up between filming, sports, and of course, classes.  Most of my mornings begin with Tazawa Sensei in Japanese class. Japanese is by far my favorite class, due mostly to Tazawa Sensei.  Every morning she greets us with, “Ohaiyo gozaimasu!” which means “good morning.”  We converse about the weather, our weekend, assembly, or what we ate, all in Japanese of course.  We laugh and joke and then get started on that day’s lesson.  Tazawa Sensei creates such a relaxed atmosphere in class that it allows me to approach the Japanese language in a comfortable way.  I’ve had many great teachers here at Exeter, but I’ve grown to really enjoy Japanese culture thanks to Sensei. Don’t even get me started on her Japanese cuisine…

Exeter/Andover 2016

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Hey everyone!

This past weekend was one of my favorite days, Exeter/Andover, a Saturday where all of our sports teams play the teams of Phillips Academy, our rival school. The rivalry between Exeter and Andover is one of the longest running high school rivalries, which is pretty cool. E/A alternates where it’s at every year, this year it was at Andover.

Preparation for E/A starts on Wednesday, which is JV E/A. All of the JV teams play at whichever school isn’t holding the varsity competitions, which was here at Exeter this year. All the fall teams play Wednesday afternoon and tons of posters go up around campus reminding people to go to the games and cheer on their friends. Thursday is then class color day. Preps, or ninth graders, wear all white, Lowers (10th graders) wear gray, Uppers dress in black and Seniors get decked out in red. Friday is red day and everyone piles on as much red and Exeter clothing as they can. Every year, we get what are called psych packs in our post offices boxes. Each one has a red bandana, a red beaded necklace, and two temporary tattoos. This year and last year I managed to convince my friends to give me their necklaces, so I ended up with ten.

Our assembly on Friday was the pep assembly, which started off with a joint performance by Outkast and Precision, the two step teams on campus. Their performance was amazing and it was so fun to see the two groups perform together which doesn’t happen often. Next, the red bandits, who are the most spirited seniors teach a few of the cheers and then we watch the E/A video, which is produced by Reel Life Productions, our film club on campus. This year the video was  about a competition between two students to see who could make a fall varsity sport first. The underdog won and the video was filled with tons of fails and was a great way to get everyone laughing. After that, Principal McFarlane came out with a broom and started a “Sweep!” chant. After that, the seniors got to rush the stage and assembly was dismissed.

Friday night is the pep rally and E.A.R concert. Unfortunately this year the bonfire that usually starts before pep rally was canceled due to high winds. At pep rally all the dance groups get to perform, including Poms, our cheerleaders, ABS, the belly dance group, Imani, one of the hip-hop groups, BOA, which stands for Beat of Asia which is a Kpop dance group, and Lionettes, the jazz group. Each sports team also gets to come out and perform a skit, talk about their season and convince people to come to their games on Saturday. Boys cross country performed a Star Wars skit that was very funny and girls volleyball tried to find their biggest fan by quizzing people. Even though it was freezing out, pep rally was so much fun. After pep rally, I went off to the E.A.R concert. E.A.R stands for Exeter Association of Rock  and is one of the clubs on campus. Different bands and acts performed throughout the night, including a few people who performed original songs, an incredible cover of Hotel California by the Eagles, as well as an amazing Ray Charles cover.

Saturday morning I got on a bus to head to Andover and got there just after the start of boys soccer, who tied 0-0. Next was field hockey who lost 2-0. Girls volleyball was my favorite game of the day, and the only one I saw start to finish. The girls pulled off a win in 5 sets and storming the volleyball court was one of the most exciting parts of the day. After volleyball was girls soccer who fought bravely but lost 2-1. The day ended with football, which we lost 16-7 However, even though it wasn’t the closest game, both sides were very energetic and were rooting for their team up until the last few seconds. I screamed so much throughout the day that I got home that night with a very sore throat and very little voice. We got really lucky with the weather. It was mid to high 40’s the entire day, which beats last year, when it snowed during girls soccer. That night was Soule Tea, a dance hosted by Soule Hall, a boys dorm on campus. The dance was very fun, with a great dj and lots of good snacks.

All in all, it was an amazing day and I’m already looking forward to do it all over again in the winter!

-Ingrid

Parent’s Weekend

Hi all,

I am so glad to be back on campus for my junior (or upper year)! This year has already gone full speed and I am busy with work, volleyball, and music but that just made this weekend all the more relaxing. Every year in the third weekend of October, the school invites the parents of all students to come for the weekend from Friday to Monday. On Friday and Saturday students bring their parents and/or relatives to classes and the parents can shadow harkness discussions in all subjects. It’s a great way for parents to see how harkness works and to watch their student(s) in the classroom. It’s always very busy on campus with parents and relatives around, but it also makes the campus feel more like home!

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PC: Rachel Luo

This year, for the first time, my parents decided not to come visit me during parents weekend because they will be on campus soon after. Since I am from California I do not have the luxury of going back home for the weekend, but thankfully, I was invited to stay over at a friend’s house. My friend, Alyssa, lives in Connecticut so we decided to spend Sunday in New York City eating food, shopping, and walking around. Coming from California, I have only really been in the city twice and both times my family and I spent the day on the sightseeing trolley tours— so this was the first time I truly got to experience a normal day in the city.

We started off the morning leaving Greenwich station to Grand Central. From there we got on the Q to Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Our whole late morning trip was for the main purpose of eating at Smorgasburg, which is a flee market for different types of food (a spin-off of the Brooklyn Flea). There are over 90 vendors so Alyssa and I spent a good two hours stopping by all the stands and ordering food. We ended up eating a seven course meal which consisted of tacos, bao rolls, pizza, fried chicken, wowfull waffle and ice cream, raindrop cake, and popsicles. There were so many other intriguing foods I wanted to try but we were too full! This definitely gives me an extra excuse to come back to New York and try the other street foods. Actually, this Sunday was the last Sunday the vendors were selling food as it is no longer open during the winter— I was lucky to have been there for the final opening! After that, we took the Q to Soho and walked to Times Square in the night. In total we walked over eight miles: a true adventure in the city.

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On Monday we slept in, baked pumpkin bread, went grocery shopping for dorm snacks, and ate our macarons and cupcakes from Sunday’s city adventure. I would say that although my parents were not with me for the long weekend, I felt much at home thanks to Alyssa and her family. So whether or not your parents come, there’s always something to do, somewhere to go, and time for relaxing.

Here’s to a fun-filled weekend with family and hopefully a reboot to finish off the term!

Academy Life Day

One of my favorite days of fall term is Academy Life Day.  Every year, there is a day set aside within the first few weeks of school when no classes are scheduled and the time is instead to be spent with your dorm mates (if you’re a boarder) or with your fellow advisees (if you are a day student).

This year on Academy Life Day, my wonderful dorm, Hoyt Hall, spent a fun day on campus.  After an all-dorm breakfast in the dining hall, we made our way into the art building.  Here we drew names of fellow dorm mates out of a cup and began working on painting canvases for the girl whose name we had chosen.  After painting, singing along to music, talking, and laughing, we left our masterpieces to dry.  Upon heading outside, we were divided into groups and sent on a scavenger hunt!  We ran all over campus serenading faculty, doing jumping-jacks, and generally ticking off as many activities on our list as we could, all the while laughing, taking pictures, and enjoying our time together.  The ladies of Hoyt Hall concluded our Academy Life Day by exchanging our canvases, sharing our scavenger hunt progress, and eating food catered by a local restaurant.  After lunch, the remainder of the day was ours to enjoy as we wished.

While I thoroughly enjoyed my own dorm’s activities, they were by no means the only fun events that occurred on this day.  Other dorms and advisories had dodgeball tournaments, went off campus to apple-picking orchards, went to the beach, and one dorm even went to play miniature golf!  There are so many ways to enjoy this day off from classes!  One of the best aspects of the day is that this bonding time is specifically set aside in the busy Exeter schedule.  By this point in the year, new students have met many new people, but this day provides an opportunity to get to know those who live closest to us much better.

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What it’s Like to be a Prep

We’re halfway fall term here so I decided to talk about what it’s like to be a prep, or ninth grader here at Exeter. However, it has been four months since I was a prep, so I managed to get a little help from Paula, a friend of mine who happens to be a prep this year. I asked her a couple questions about what her fall has been like so far and she was willing to let me share her answers with you.

What was your transition like?

My transition was a little overwhelming because my previous school was not quite as rigorous as PEA, but with help from my teachers, I was soon feeling better. I felt well integrated into the school and community from the beginning.

How do you feel now compared to your first week?

I feel a lot more secure with how to not stress myself out and manage my time.  I also finally understand the schedule and know where all my classes are.

How did you meet new friends?

I’ve met a lot of wonderful people through the mainstage play and in my classes. I’ve become close with a lot of them and look forward to meeting new people as well.

How did you decide what clubs to join?

I had already had in mind what clubs I wanted to join such as fem club and tour guiding, but at club night I signed up for some that seemed interesting after hearing what the club heads said about their clubs.

What has prep fall been like so far?

It’s been really fun to start being integrated into Exeter life. I’ve been a little stressed with this new environment but there are lots of support systems on campus that have helped me out.

From memory, prep year can be a little bit hectic, but luckily prep fall is pass/fail, meaning your grades don’t count you either pass or fail your classes, which allows kids who aren’t used to the workload or living on their own adjust to life here on campus.

When it comes to meeting new people, it’s very easy to meet people who are in your dorm or classes, along with clubs and sports teams. However, as you continue here, you meet even more people, whether that’s because they come in as a new tenth, eleventh or twelfth grader, you have a class together for the first time or you bump into each other on the paths. I didn’t get close with one of my best friends until winter term and became friends with most of my friends who are older in the spring.

Adjusting can be difficult, whether it’s to the workload or being away from home for the first time but it’s important to remember that there are people on campus who are going through or have gone through the same things and are always there to help if or when you need them.

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Club Night!!!!

One of my favorite things about Exeter is just how many clubs we have. It feels like we have a club for practically everything, and if we don’t have one for a student’s specific interest, they can just start one! There is everything from Debate to Model UN to The Exonian newspaper to Quidditch club, cooking club, Chemistry club, Ethics Forum, etc. For students who like to give back, there is also a whole section of clubs (called ESSO clubs – Exeter Student Service Organization) dedicated to bettering the community around us. The sky’s the limit with Exeter clubs, and nothing showcases that like club night.
Club night is basically a night dedicated to signing up for and learning about clubs. The ESSO clubs have their own club night a week before, but here I’m going to be talking about mainstream club night, or my importantly, my own adventures at this years club night.
A little background: The way club night works is that each club head(s) sets up a booth for their respective club, and tries to make it as appealing as possible to guilt- I mean recruit- the unsuspecting masses into joining their clubs. Usually this involves candy. My own club night routine involves signing up for every single club that looks interesting, eating a lot of chocolate, picking two or three to actually go to, and dealing with the guilt emails from the clubs I’m not going to for the rest of the year. Personally I think this is the way to do it.
On a saturday night, a couple hours before Club Night started, a close friend and I were just drifting around with nothing to do. Another friend, the head of a club called spikeball club, asked if we wanted to help him design a colorful poster for his club. We said sure, why not. Then, the same friend asked if later on we could manage the booth for spikeball club while he managed a booth for another club he was a part of. We said, “sure, why not,” deciding to make it our personal mission to make spikeball club the most sought after club on campus.

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After learning what spikeball is (it’s a game played on the quad involving throwing a ball at a mini trampoline), we went to club night to find our booth. When we arrived, our friend had to go, leaving us on our own. That’s when the fun began. We grabbed a speaker, bumped some music, and started calling out to random passerby. “Hey! Come join spikeball club! It’s fun! Come on!” and phrases like that slowly drew people closer to our booth. When they approached, we reminded them that just because their name was down doesn’t mean the had to come, but hey, they should put their name down anyway. After this, we decided to do some recon, walking around the rest of Grainger Auditorium, cheering for spikeball club and shuttling friends and strangers over to the table. We were enthusiastic and well, it worked. We ended up with 152 people signing up! Not everyone will go to every club meeting, but hey, the recruiting was an adventure.
So to close this off, I would like to say this. Exeter clubs are great. Club night is great. My friend and I have been moved to executive lower board members of spikeball club, on the condition that we attend at least 25% of the meetings. Still, do I know how to play spikeball? No I do not. Did I have a good time recruiting? Yes I did.