With many precautions being taken at Bridgton Academy due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, the first week for the Class of 2021 looked slightly different than in years past. In order to keep students as safe as possible, typical orientation-week activities took place on campus; however, this did not keep our Wolverines from having a good time as they acclimated to their new surroundings in rural Maine.
The Academy beach on Long Lake saw a good number of students throughout the week, taking in the final days of summer with canoeing, swimming, and fishing. Rumor has it there were some good-sized bass that landed on the end of a few students’ lines!
Other adventures included paintball in the woods behind the athletic fields. Last year, Mr. David Rosen, leader of the Outdoor Club, helped to revive this activity that had not been enjoyed by students in quite some time. The 2020-21 lacrosse team was the first to benefit from his efforts.
This year, each dormitory is home to just one athletic team, contributing to the camaraderie that becomes a such an important part of the Bridgton experience for our student-athletes. This was evidenced in many ways as well throughout the first week. In a contest for the cleanest room, this year’s Wolverine hockey team and residents of Sylvester Hall were eager to experience the infamous “Meserve burger” as their prize.
Another integral component of the first week is having the chance to hear a motivational speaker, with that individual providing words of wisdom for each new class. Over a span of two days, Jon Cross, Assistant Soccer Coach at St. Joseph’s College and owner of Cross Wellness, provided a dynamic message three times in order to allow for properly distanced seating at each of his presentations. Jon shared about his own personal journey of substance abuse and recovery, offering practical strategies that students can easily implement in their daily lives to help prevent addiction and promote overall well-being.
As students prepared for their first day of classes on Thursday, August 27th, rather than having the entire class meet together, individual teams met in various locations throughout campus the night before. Ms. Hanson, Dean of Academics and Student Life, and Head of School, Mr. Mooney, presented the first chapel of the year via Zoom. Even in this virtual setting, their messages of encouragement to the Class of 2021 came through clearly. The Wolverines are wrapping up their first full week of classes and settling in to life in North Bridgton.