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Intersession: Through the Eyes of a Student

Stories, know-how, and guidance from the experts in educating boys.

Jacqueline Keller

Intersession: Through the Eyes of a Student

Intersession is all about teaching Avonians new skills that can be used in everyday life or give them a preview of a career they might want to pursue in the future. From fitness, nutrition, and mindfulness to learning to tie a fly on your fishing rod and cooking paella—there's guaranteed to be something for everyone within the 30+ intersession courses offered. This year, the marketing & communications team joined in to offer a crash course on what it takes to document life at Avon, with Intersession as the subject matter.

1: Provide an Example

For newcomers, photographing, interviewing, and writing an article might seem a little daunting. We also knew that having a model to work off of can ease the tension, so using our own class, we came up with an article template:

2: Practice

With assignment in hand, we began the week with a controlled field trip: the group walked over to Beaver Pond where the Winter Fishing class would be stocking our own stream with fish for the season. The group was told to photograph the event and ask the faculty and students all about what was happening that day at the pond.

3: Let the Creativity Begin!

For the rest of the week, students were allowed to attend field trips and classes for any of the other intersession groups that intrigued them. They joined in as Textile Tycoons learned how to run a thrift store; they documented what it takes to run a horse rescue; they traveled to the golf course and to UConn Law. In all, they took a lot of photos, learned a few things, and created some great content.



The Stories

Below are the intersession stories these four students created.

The crossroads of Art and tech? The Art and Computer Science of Game Design

By: Charles Goggin '23

This year, for the first time, Mr. Sayles partnered with Mr. Calibey to offer a new game design experience for an intersession course - allowing students to spend a week dedicated to designing and programming their own game.

Mr. Calibey, a talented artist, primarily led the design portion of the course, while Mr. Sayles focused on the computer science and programming side.

When asked about why he took the course, Aidan Kwok explained “Throughout the year, I rarely have time to code between school, sports, etc. This being in a smaller, more focused setting makes it easier for me to learn at least the fundamentals of programming.”

Within the course, students and instructors alike agree that intersession is a critical part of Avon curriculum, with Mr. Sayles stating “... it’s a great way to explore an area you wouldn’t be able to explore in a semester or full year class, and is a great way for students and teachers to have fun and have an educational experience outside of the normal classroom.”

The course will be offered in Spring 2023 as a semester course, giving students who may have missed this opportunity another chance to look forward to.

 



Songwriting and Music Production

By: Eliel Mercado '24

This class has been offered in previous years. Here is a description: “We will explore the popular song from Ragtime to the present day through readings, film, listening, and discussion, and then analyze well-known songs from many different genres. Students will apply the techniques we use to create analyses of their own favorite songs and present their work in class. Ultimately, students will elect to either work alone or form groups and write original songs, using the analysis process to improve their work. This course is limited to 10 students who have prior experience singing or playing an instrument.” Mr. Raposo teaches this class.

Mark is a senior here at Avon. When asked why he decided to take this course he said, “I love music and wanted to learn how to produce. So hopefully in the future, I can produce my own music.” When asked what he has learned he said, “I have learned how to line things up properly and I learned how to combine instruments and songs together.”

 



Golf Course Design

By: Brian Dowling '22

Due to the severity of COVID-19 during January of this year, the beloved intersession (a time where students take a new class for a week usually not offered in the regular curriculum) was postponed from January to March. While for most classes, this enabled students to enjoy better weather for their desired course, students participating in the Golf Course Design class had a different story.

Many of the students were originally signed up for the Miracle on Ice intersession, where the class would learn about the improbable Olympic victory and even take a trip to Lake Placid, New York. The time change of the class allowed the instructor, Mr. Reece, to switch gears and decide to use the warmer weather to his advantage. The class was announced at morning meeting, along with a few other newly-created courses, and anyone who previously signed up for Miracle on Ice received preferential treatment in the selection process.

This new class did not disappoint. While students joined for a multitude of reasons, the recurring cause was due to the love of the sport. From talking to course designers, learning about the intricacies of the game, to even playing a round of golf, the kids were constantly engaged in activities that intrigued them because of this love.

“I chose Golf Course Design because golf is a passion of mine and I was eager to learn as much as I could about the sport. I had a great time, this was definitely a class I think should be offered in future intersessions,” shares Tripp Miley ’23, who also has a passion for hockey. 

Overall, despite this being its first year, Golf Course Design was a major success in not only educating, but giving students an immersive, exciting experience while doing so.

 



Why Do You Always Carry a Camera?

By: Adham Nassar '22

I love how people would smile at me and get out of there to pose at the camera—after five months of consistent photography, this was my final answer to this recurring question, “Why are you always holding a camera Adham?” Being a cameraman doesn’t mean just taking photos, editing them, selecting different settings for every situation...it also includes experiences while talking to different people, great memories with every shutter snap, and as Mrs. Keller would put it, “Being behind the camera also includes always being in the way.”

One of the intersession classes that I was very grateful for getting the opportunity to cover was Winter Fishing with Mr. Malchoff. Certainly, it was unusual to see my fellow Avonian brother in hats, comfortable smart casuals, and carrying a fish rod by the Beaver Pond. I loved taking photos at the pond because I literally saw every Avonian quality in action with this fine group: I saw an athlete using his patience; I saw an artist using his creativity to catch the most fish; I saw the adventures half deep in the pond to catch better fish; and certainly last but not least I saw the teacher sharing his memories of wisdom to inspire his students.

I was glad that introduction to marketing and communication was an intersession option this year. I was able to have a taste of most of the activities on campus and of course for giving me more time to spend behind the camera and learn from the best photographers on campus.

I would like Thank Mrs. Keller so much for putting this group together, Mr. Archambault for your critical tips when it comes to shooting, and definitely Mr. Campbell for always pushing me to be a better person before being a better photographer.



An Introduction to Law: Intersession by Brendan Faulkner '91

By Charles Goggin '23

Among the many new intersession courses offered during the 2022 intersession week, one in particular stood out. The “Introduction to Law” course, taught by alum Brendan Faulkner (AOF ‘91), offered students insight into the legal profession and allowed a glimpse into the everyday life of attorneys, judges, and even law school students.

Intersession, Avon Old Farms’ week-long extracurricular course period, is a yearly tradition which gives students and educators alike the ability to try courses surrounding new topics - either offering an in-depth view of a curriculum concept, or focusing on a topic not within normal academic curriculum. 

On Thursday, students in the course traveled to UConn Law School, meeting Dean Nelson - Dean of UConn Law - as well as getting to witness a moot court trial case from UConn’s own moot court team in preparation for a mock court debate, and getting a full tour of the law campus.

As Mr. Faulkner stated, “This course certainly gives you a look into the real profession, and is a great setup for those who want to pursue a career in law… In high school, I certainly would have been too scared to do this, so [the students] are already ahead of the game.”

Dean Eboni Nelson speaking to visiting AOF students.

Avon Old Farms students were also offered the chance to hear from Lauren Majchrowski, who leads UConn Law School’s department of Admissions. She offered critical insight into the law school admissions process, stating “While this whole process may seem years away, its actually incredibly close by. Essentially, your admissions process will begin your junior year of college with the LSAT testing process.”



Introduction to Milling and Machinery

By: Eliel Mercado '24

Introduction to Milling and Machine is a new course offering for intersession this year. In the Intersession 2022 course catalog, the class was described to students as an opportunity to "learn the operating and engineering aspects of a Haas milling machine. Each student will be able to take home his own designed and milled metal project. This intersession will involve learning CAD (computer-aided design), 3D-printing, CAM (computer-aided manufacturing), and the Haas operation system." ​​

Robert Maher, a junior from Massachusetts, decided to take the course. Robert shared that he wanted to take this course because he is really interested in manufacturing. He also said, “I pushed the limits with 3D printing. So with milling I can make more enhanced parts.” When asked what he had learned he said, “I learned how to operate the machine, and since I already had design knowledge I can now translate that with the milling machine.” 

The class featured both hands-on work in our own lab as well as exciting field trips, including one to Morris Group, thanks to board member Brad Morris ’84, P’20, '24.

 



The Business of Sports

By Brian Dowling '22

Sports and everything related to sports have always lived in the hearts of young boys, so when Robert Dowling started The Business of Sports intersession, the responses were incredible. This was the same reaction for this year’s course.

Mr. Dowling had a familiar face run the class with him: his uncle Bill Dowling, former VP of the New York Yankees and owner of the now-extinct New Britain Rock Cats, a team who played in the Minor Leagues of baseball. Including Mr. B. Dowling, guests were from all parts of the sports industry, from Sports Betting Analyst Chris Fallicia to the GM of the New York Yankees Brian Cashman to former Wipeout Host and Sportscenter Anchor John Anderson. With this variety, students received different perspectives from numerous job types and backgrounds. A field trip to the recently-founded Hartford Athletic soccer club complex was also in store for later in the week.

Patrick Dallahan ’23, the “voice of Avon Old Farms Athletics,” was a member of this intersession and stated, “I loved it. I was able to be enriched in knowledge from people on the other side of sports, I learned a ton and honestly wished it was longer.” This feeling seemed to be the consensus of the group, with members looking forward to seeing who each speaker was.

The Business of Sports intersession was a great experience for its participants. Students were able to learn countless unique things about things they are genuinely interested in, which made this such a success.


KEY TAKEAWAY

Avon Old Farms students see their faculty and staff every day on campus, but may not know exactly how they spend their hours. Through this intersession class, students not only got to participate in some amazing trips, learn some new skills, and take some great photos, but they also learned what it means to work in communications in a way that relates to them. It didn't hurt either that our department got some great student-created content out of the deal!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JACQUELINE KELLER

Associate Director of Communications & Publications

kellerj@avonoldfarms.com