Theodate Pope Riddle, the founder of Avon Old Farms, strongly believed that students should work alongside faculty mentors to produce meaningful work.
The idea behind Intersession is to broaden the curriculum while creating opportunities for excursions, experiential learning, and interdisciplinary work. Intersession honors that tradition by encouraging students and faculty alike to delve deeply into a single topic that interests them and to produce something tangible and valuable with their efforts. During the two-week program, students and faculty devote all of their academic attention to one course; the course may explore a traditional academic topic in great detail, or it may focus on an area outside the traditional curriculum. At the end of the program, each class presents what they have learned to the wider community.
Avon Old Farms offers a different catalog of Intersession Courses each year. Here is a sampling of courses from the past several years:
Students explored American responses to the attacks of 9-11, 2001, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, societal and legal changes post 9-11, and the rapidly changing global political landscape of the early 21st century.
Students engaged in extended Mindfulness meditation practices, including sitting meditation, walking meditation, body scans, and mindful eating. The retreat, conducted largely in silence, afforded students the opportunity to strengthen and deepen their mindfulness practice or to learn about Mindfulness for the first time.
Students learned the secrets of the hive! This introductory course in beekeeping covered bee biology and dissection, the structure of the bee colony, how bees make honey problems with beekeeping, and how bees affect the food chain.
Students spent the majority of their time learning techniques and skills necessary for their musical development. Each day, a master teacher discussed particular techniques and practices on how to become a better musician.
Students embarked on an intensive review of Roman History, beginning with the transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire, continuing to the fall of the west.
Students looked at the most famous works of art of the 20th and 21st century. They engaged in lively discussion about the works and went on field trips to New England’s finest museums. Students came away from the course with an ability to identify, understand and explain major artistic movements, famous (and infamous) artists, and iconic art works — and impress friends, family members with their insight and studied opinions.
Students learned the fundamentals of flying and visited the airport and New England Air Museum.
Guest speakers, such as Karl Ravech from ESPN, taught students the ins and outs of the professional sports world.
Students learned all about 3D printing and visited UConn and several other institutions for hands-on innovation.
Through trips to the butcher, local cooking store, and a neighborhood kitchen, students learned how to cook up a gourmet meal.
Although singing is an art, there is a science behind recording a song. Students visited a recording studio and presented a complete song to the student body. Watch the class perform a tribute to their mothers.
After sequencing their own DNA in the lab, students headed to Courtagen in Boston to learn from two of our alumni about cutting edge changes in the world of genetics.
When young men are given the space, structure, and opportunity to experience a trade, science, or art from qualified instructors – simply put – they thrive.
Students got a taste of the business aspect of personal finance. Guest speakers and a trip to Goldman Sachs in New York City opened the students' perspective to what a career in the world of finance would entail.
Gaming is one of the largest growing industries of the century. Students learned how video games have evolved and spoke with high-level management from some of the fore-running video game entities in the industry.
After learning how to tie flies at Orvis, students made several trips to the Farmington River to experience winter fishing.
International diplomacy is vital to promoting worldwide peace: our students visited New York to see where some of the biggest global decisions are made.
From ironing to changing a tire, our boys participated in simulation labs to grow in simple – yet crucial – ways.
Students gained an understanding of the breadth of the universe as they studied astronomical details by day and marveled at the expansive blanket of sky by night.
"I truly got a lot out of my experience and learned more than I was expecting to. I also enjoyed hanging out with a different group of students."
Avon Old Farms Student