The Brotherhood in Bloom: Springtime on the Farm

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The Brotherhood in Bloom: Springtime on the Farm
Adam Hushin

The Brotherhood in Bloom: Springtime on the Farm

There seems to be a consensus on campus that the spring season at Avon Old Farms is the favorite among students and faculty alike. Avonians know that our winters can be enduring, but once the days get longer, the temperatures rise, and the birds start chirping—some of the best times of the year are ahead. So, with that being said, here are some spring traditions at Avon Old Farms that everyone is looking forward to:

1.    Intersession

It wasn’t always the case, but Intersession now marks the first week of spring academics at Avon Old Farms. It’s also the favorite week of academics for many students and faculty because it takes learning outside of the classroom and beyond the standard curriculum. Intersession allows students and faculty to explore a topic of interest in greater detail with an experiential component since field trips and project-based learning feature prominently in the courses. Students get to choose which course they’d like to participate in from a wide variety of offerings ranging from career-oriented explorations to fun and engaging experiences. Whether it’s carrying out genomic experiments in a lab, biking or hiking trails throughout the state, cooking and eating cuisine from different cultures, or learning to play a new instrument; Intersession is a great way to start the spring season. 

2.    Stickball

While baseball fans around the nation anxiously await MLB opening day, the boys at the CT private high school, Avon Old Farms, eagerly round up their team rosters for stickball season. Every weeknight after dinner, science teacher Ian Bomely ’14 (more importantly the Commissioner of the Avon Old Farms Stickball League) officiates a stickball game on Jamerson Green. The game is played with a tennis ball and a stickball bat, which is essentially a thicker, heavier broomstick. The rules are simple: if the batter hits Elephant Dormitory, it is a home run, otherwise, the ball is live. Teams choose their own name and are often centered around themes, with jerseys to match. The end of the season tournament culminates with a champion that is crowned during the week before graduation. You do not have to be a varsity athlete to be a champion at Avon Old Farms, you simply have to embrace the tradition and have some fun!

3.    Senior Community Service Day

At Avon Old Farms, we have a strong tradition of giving back to the community. Avon Outreach, our community service club, is instrumental in organizing Special Olympics basketball and soccer practices, our mentorship collaboration with Covenant Prep middle school, and our annual Toys For Tots winter fundraisers. However, each spring, the senior class participates in a full day of community service along with their teachers. Some boys will be tasked with picking up litter on Old Farms Road, which runs adjacent to campus. Some will go off campus to help our local farms clean up their land after the winter. Some head to local nonprofits to assist with their daily operations. No matter what the seniors are doing on this day, they will go to sleep knowing that they made a difference.

4.    Afternoons at Beaver Pond

After a long week full of classes and activities, there is no better place to spend some time than at Beaver Pond. When the sun is shining, our boys love nothing more than to grab their bathing suits, fishing rods, and spike-ball sets before heading down the short trail to Beaver Pond. On any given afternoon you may stumble upon boys jumping off of the dock, fishing in waist-high water, or hanging out with their friends from our sister-schools while listening to music. When alums think of spring at Avon Old Farms, their memories of Beaver Pond sit at the forefront of their minds.

5.    Founder’s Day

Our Founder, Theodate Pope Riddle, had a vision to create an indestructible boarding school for boys ...and that is exactly what she did. In the Deed of Trust she wrote for the school, it established Founder’s Day as an annual event. One day every spring, our head of school spontaneously calls a ‘Founder’s Day’ at Morning Meeting, which is followed by a flood of cheers. Why? Because Founder’s Day means no classes! The boys quickly pull off their ties, and head outside to appreciate the place of permanence that Mrs. Riddle created. Boys go to Beaver Pond to fish, swim, and grill, while others participate in a stickball game or play pickup basketball. Some might just return to their dorms for a nap. Regardless of how it’s spent, Founder’s Day is a tradition that Avonians welcome with much anticipation every spring.

In Conclusion

Maybe it’s these treasured traditions that make spring time so enjoyable. Maybe it’s the fact that the end of the school year is in sight. Or maybe it’s just the fact the sun feels warmer and sets later on our oasis in full bloom. Most likely it’s a combination of all of the above.