By LARA PRAKASH
At Pinewood, students have the opportunity to partake in numerous trips, projects, and events. The Upper Campus faculty strives to instruct using enjoyable and purposeful techniques. Junior high, freshman, and sophomore panthers have countless academic and social opportunities to look forward to during their junior and senior years of high school.
Often times, junior high students, freshmen and sophomores are curious about the future, so this month, the seniors and juniors divulged some of their favorite class trips, projects, and events for the lower grades.
Senior year is the most stressful yet most exciting and sentimental year of high school. By senior year, Pinewood’s graduating class develops an undeniable bond – whether it be through surviving tough AP courses or laughing at unforgettable dances. At the beginning of the year, the seniors go rafting on the American River, which is one of the most memorable events of the year, according to seniors Haley Armstrong and Trinity Copeland.
“There [is] something about navigating through turbulent waters that really optimizes the high school experience,” Armstrong said. “We all just plunged into the water at the end, holding onto our life vests, drifting ashore. It was at that moment where I really believed we accepted that yes, we are going to be seniors. Yes, we are going to float our separate ways; however, we still have each other.”
For Armstrong, rafting on the American River symbolizes the unity of the senior class. Pinewood will always connect the future graduates together, as they float in different directions to college and beyond.
“The rafting excursion has been my favorite part of senior year,” Copeland said. “It was a fun event for Pinewood seniors to do together.”
Copeland enjoyed this trip for a different reason than Armstrong; for her, it was the moments of laughing with her friends and spending time together that made the experience truly special.
Junior Catherine Blotter has been able to bond with her peers throughout other events during junior year. In particular, she enjoys activities that the entire Upper Campus can participate in.
“I’ve loved all the lunchtime activities from food trucks, to music, to free hugs; lunch time is super fun to look forward to,” Blotter said.
Additionally, at Pinewood, students get to experience adventures and challenges they have never taken on before.
“I loved surfing on the junior class trip,” junior Esmi Pistelak said. “Even though most juniors were not proficient in surfing, it was fun to learn something new together.”
Students always have the chance to learn together and support each other outside of the classroom. Often times, students need to leave their comfort zones and try something new, beyond academics.
The junior class trip is just one of the numerous festivities that represent support for the upperclassmen. Last year, basketball’s Splash-a-thon event was a highlight for several students.
“The Splash-a-thon was a fun game in which I helped raise money for Pine- wood and prom,” senior varsity basketball player Hannah Jump said. I enjoyed playing with all my friends and seeing the people who came to support.”
In terms of academics, junior and senior year are both known for being particularly difficult. Despite this fact, lowerclassmen can look forward to choosing academic electives, such as AP chemistry, because as they advance in high school, students have the opportunity to take in- depth classes concerning one’s favorite subjects.
Pistelak enjoyed the cell project in particular, in which biology students were tasked to make a creative model of a cell.
“[The project] was creative, fun and brought out sides of my classmates I had never seen before,” Pistelak said.
Some students made a cell representation using origami or a soccer ball, while Pistelak made hers out of cake. This project is a biology class favorite because it is a useful way to memorize parts of a cell and have fun witnessing the creativity of others.
Junior high students, freshmen, and sophomores can observe the energy and excitement with which juniors and seniors walk onto campus. It is the class trips, projects, classes, and assignments that make the upperclassman experience special. As students at Pinewood, we are fortunate to have these opportunities, which create a bond between peers stronger than those found at larger high schools, awaiting us.