By Sarah Elkandakly
Riddle me this:
What is the first thing you do before going to sleep?
What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
How do you wake up?
What do you do in the those spare minutes during class?
Most of the answers to these questions will involve technology, most likely your phones.
Today, in the 21st century, our world is bombarded by technology. We awake to the silent sizzling of electricity and fall asleep to its lullaby. We dream of flying cars and robots, which are all technically possible. We have reached a point in life where we are dependent on technology; some even say that surviving without their phones is nearly impossible. We spend countless hours buried in LED screens and we fail to recognize what is around us. We care only for what will benefit us, and we do not seem to recognize the disappearing green around us. In schools, lunch has become less about quickly eating to enjoy more of the fresh air, and more about quickly eating to check your Snapchat, Twitter, or Instagram accounts. Technology was supposed lighten our worries and relax our lifestyle, but it has become an addiction, a cureless addiction.
Three years ago the Medford community decided that it wastime for a change.Students were constantly plagued by technological devices, and teachers and community members were no longer oblivious to the growing condition. A partnership arose, in an attempt to make a difference, between Medford High School, Eagle Eye Institute, Friends of the Fells, DCR, Tufts University, Medford City Officials, the Energy Office, and the Mayor Stephanie Burke’s Office. According to Ms. Carnabucci, “We wanted to get kids out into the Fells, because we have this amazing living classroom. So, we decided that the first year, we wanted to have kind of a celebratory day with the Fells. We wanted to get everybody outside to have fun and to show the teachers and the students all the different opportunities you can have outside”. For the third year, their goal was achieved and students, along with teachers, have grown in union with the Fells, and have found it to be a relief to all the stress and technology of the electric city.
Fells Day has become more than a day to have shortened classes and a simple activity outside. It has become a friendship. Every year, from now on, teachers come up with activities outside, based on the input of the students, that get everyone energetic yet relaxed. The activities range from various sports, hikes, runs, beautification groups, music groups, gardening groups, and relaxation groups. Each student is able to chose an activity they are comfortable and with. Fells Day is an opportunity to drop our phones and to see all the life that is around us. We are able to find plants, animals, and make new friendships. Fells Day has absolutely become a celebratory day, and Julia Galebach, a 10th grade student of Medford High described it perfectly, “The Fells isn’t just a forest, it’s a lifestyle.”
Below you will find the activities and opportunities that were available to all of the students of Medford High:
Basketball & Bubbles with Ms. Sanford
One of the activities that took place during Fells Day was a basketball game between a group of students, and the very courageous Ms. Sanford. Their Fells Day began with a very intense and lively game of basketball that kept everyone on their toes and sweaty. Ms. Sanford, one of our very own English teachers, took Fells Day as a chance to connect with her students and joined in on the game, becoming a part of the team and not missing a beat of it. After her intense participation in the game, we were able to catch a quick quote from her describing her views on Fells Day itself. “When it comes together, it’s a really beneficial experience for the staff, the students, and the community,”
Ms. Sanford’s Fells Day did not stop there, and in conjunction with Ms. Parson, she left the basketball game and proceeded to enjoy some time with another group, in which bubbles were the main attraction along with many other group activites. Ms. Parson joined in on the bubble action, and she stated that, “I think this is the third year [of Fells Day]. I think it’s a work in progress and every year more and more activities are available for the kids. Ms. Carnabucci has great ideas with bringing the classroom outside and it’s growing and improving every year. Kids can be in the environment a couple of hours everyday and it’s really important.” Overall, both groups enjoyed their chance to interact with their teachers in a fun, outside activity.
Tie Dye Shirts
Tie Dye Shirts, once again, was another available activity for the students of Medford High. Students began their Fell’s Day with properly bounding their white shirts, and proceeded to mix their colors. After doing so, they tie-dyed their shirts and hung them up to dry in the underpass. Tie-dying itself is a very quick process; just the drying takes a while. So, to pass the time, students and teachers, including Mr. Esner, Mr. Morris, and Ms. LeClair, proceeded to write and share their haikus. Their Fells Day concluded with a souvenir that will be wearable for, hopefully, years to come.
Guitar with Ms. Fard
While the Fells is an inspirational place already, there’s nothing you can’t add music to, in order to relax and connect with people. Ms. Fard, our very own Guitar teacher, put together a group of students that were willing to jam out in the underpass, on the comforting tree stumps. The group spent their day enjoy the calming sounds of guitars and quiet chatter of their friends. The day could not have been more relaxing, giving the students a chance to relieve their worries and concerns about the approaching finals.
The artistic views of Fells Day did not stop there! The vibrant colors and lively moves of paintbrushes proceeded throughout the day with the group of students in Ms. Burns’ group. They spent their Fells Day painting rocks in order to bring a colorful and lively feeling to the school. One student painter, Alanna Kornblit, stated that, “[Fells Day is] a cute opportunity for the school to connect with nature and the community. It brings kids together.” The positive feedback from the rock painting group continued with Ms. Burns’, who stated, “I like Fells Day, because you get to interact with the kids in a less formal way than in the classroom.” It seems as though Fells Day has become a beneficial, celebratory time for both the students and teachers of Medford High.
Many groups took a comforting and calm selection for an activity for Fells Day. However, some of our very valiant teachers, Mr. Brophy and Mr. Donlon, decided to take a different approach, and decided to lead a spirited group of students in a run to Wright’s Tower. The group made sure to keep hydrated and vibrant during the run, and the teachers didn’t miss a beat with our track runners. According to Mr. Brophy, there were some stragglers, but many made the victorious run to their goal, and were able to make it back in one piece.
However, Mr. Brophy and Mr. Donlon weren’t the only brave teachers to take on such a challenge. Many other groups led by Mr. Tower, Mr. Galusi, Ms. Barry, Mr. Weigel, Dr. Wadness, Ms. Mahany, Ms. Briden, Ms. Simpson, and many other teachers and volunteers, took on the challenges of scaling the extravagant trails of the Fells. All these groups put in tireless effort to keep as a team and accomplish their goals, which included everything from field research to trash pick-ups, together. Students and teachers certainly broke sweat while enjoying the beaming sun shining through the canopies of the trees. Ms. Briden, shortly after her hike stated that, “It’s great to get out in nature for a little bit. It inspires the students and motivates them as they are with their teachers, friends, and trees”. These adventures brought great joy and excitement to all the students, allowing them to truly connect with the wonder-filled Fells and with the teachers as well. If you see one of these brave students or teachers, make sure to give them a big shoutout for taking on such a gratifying challenge!
This year, while there were many numerous activities to choose from on Fells Day, there was one activity that became the main attraction. Once again, three creative teachers of Medford High made the choice to put on the ultimate scavenger hunt. The scavenger consisted of collaboration of students within their groups, in which they would need to work as a team to scramble both inside and outside the school to complete the scavenger hunt list.
The teachers that put on this competitive activity were Señora Diez, Señora Munoz-Lepore, and Mr. Maldonado, and because two of these terrific teachers teach Spanish, the scavenger hunt list was therefore in Spanish. This provided the student to demonstrate, not only their love of the Fells and being outside, but also the love of the language. The scavenger hunt proceeded throughout Fells Day successfully, with a list that consisted of finding a stop light, acorn, dog, and many other tasks. The tasks would only be counted as completed if there was a selfie for each group member by the object, to prove their find. The scavenger hunt was a great success and ended with a grand prize for the winners rewarding them for the dedication, hard work, and enthusiasm.
Fells Day continued on with Mr. Milne and is enticing idea to take students to the Mystic River, in order to canoe through the beauty of the Fells. Courageous students took the plunge out of their shoes and into a canoe for the first time. Justin Tseng, one of these brave students, stated that, “Originally, I didn’t think I could do as well as I did. It wasn’t until after I started canoeing that I realized that anyone can learn. Especially when you have great friend and great teachers around.” Canoeing in the Fells will certainly be a memory that will never be forgotten by these students, teaching them that being outside is, most likely, more entertaining than being glued to their phones.
Student Reporters and Photographers
While many students chose activities to enjoy outside during Fells Day, many students decided to be the ones to document the eventful day. English teacher, Mr. Ambrose, put together a team of about twenty students that were willing to become reporters and photographers for the day. These students spent the day taking quotes from students and teachers, taking numerous photos, and jumping from activity to activity. This group dedicated their time so that we could document the day, by writing articles, making slideshows, and more. These students may have been buried in some technology throughout the day, but it was a necessary tool to make sure we could remember this marvelous Fells Day for the years to come!
Release of the Marbled Salamanders
Fells Day ended with a bang this year! After the school day ended, a kind group of students and teachers proceeded back into the Fells, on their own time, to release thirteen salamanders. Throughout the entire year all the students and the science department had been working diligently to raise 26 marbled salamanders to a healthy and survivable point. All their hard work paid off on Fells Day when they were able to release thirteen of those lucky salamanders back into their natural habitat. Although we won’t be able to see those marbled salamanders for about five to six years, it is definitely nice to know that we are making a difference in the Medford community, and maintaining all the life around us. So, a big thank you to all of those who took their own time to return the marbled salamanders back into their home, revived with energy and full of life!
Fells Day began with one critical goal, to get students outside. We were buried in phones, computers, games, and tablets that kept us from enjoying the fresh air and green scenery. With the help of so many dedicated staff, teachers, officials, and students, Fells Day became more than just being outside. It turned into so much more. It became a day of new friendships, a day of laughter, sweat, discoveries, and smiles. It became a day that we all look forward to, not just because of our shortened class periods, but also because of the enticing activities that we all get to choose from. It’s terrific how every year a larger variety is available to all of us. Teachers and students look forward to a day that is full of adventure, and volunteers continue to pile in every year, hoping to join in on the fun. Fells Day has truly accomplished its goal, and I can only hope that it will continue to expand and make a difference in the lives of the students and teachers of Medford High, but that it also makes a difference in our joyful community.
In conclusion, we would like to thank everyone who made Fells Day what it is today. You have truly made a difference and we will continue to be thankful for it for many generations. We would also like to extend our gratitude to all the staff and students who greet this wonderful time of the year with enthusiasm and glee. Thank you!