Sunday, October 30, 2016

Our First Annual World Food, Health & Wellness Event

On Friday, October 21st, with the support of Student Council, Brian Fischer (Food Services), Sandie Chaloux (Driver Ed.), Meaghan Falby (Health Educator), Brian Divelbliss (P.E.), and representatives from New Directions, the National Guard, the Montpelier Police Department and many more, we kicked off our first annual World Food, Health and Wellness afternoon.  

This was the intentional growth of an event that has run in past  years as World Food Day.  During past World Food Day events, Meaghan's classes set up stations for food tasting and information - such as how much sugar might be in your beverage, during the lunch bands.

Apple Crunch! 

New Directions Substance Jeopardy

Horticulture class exhibit (included tour of greenhouse)!

How much sugar?

Making stress balls!

Physiology & Anatomy class health check!

Down time!

This year we combined some food tasting, such as the apple crunch, and Driver Ed Turn off Texting components of previous years, with a Jr. Iron Chef competition, the National Guard climbing wall, the PE ropes course (located in the gymnasium), tours of our Greenhouse with the horticulture class, and much more.

Students were asked to give feedback via a google form after the event, here's what a few of them had to say:

"I loved making the stress balls and going to yoga. I found it extremely relaxing and it was a lovely way to end my week."

"I enjoyed the yoga portion of the day. We took a really nice walk outside before it started to rain and then after the chair yoga, we did some meditative coloring."

"I liked the impaired vision goggles, and the stress socks."

"I enjoyed the awesome food, especially the chicken pasta. I also enjoyed the jeopardy."

"I enjoyed the anatomy and physiology student run station and the food stations."

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hunger Mountain Hikes

Fall is a time for beautiful foliage, shortened daylight hours and, if you are a 7th grader at U-32, a hike up Hunger Mountain.  Leading up to the hike, 7th grade students across all three cores read a survival story about a 12 year old who gets separated from his Boy Scout group, "Lost on a Mountain in Maine" by Donn Fendler, as part of their English Language Arts study.  In their Social Studies classes they are learning about maps, especially topographical maps.  In Science their study is focused on ecology - trees, plants.  All in preparation for the elevation studies performed at three different locations along the Hunger Mountain Trail.  Those students in PE also benefit from the adventure based unit at the start of the school year, the work on the ropes course helps to prepare for climbing the rope up a steep section of rock and climbing the rocks the remainder of the trail.  All three COREs set out on the same adventure on different days and often, due to the weather and the people in their groups, have different experiences!  

Every year, after the students have come back from their hike and used the data they collected, they reflect on the experience.  I wanted to take a moment and share some of those reflections.

A Teacher's Thoughts:

Aramis: "Aramis students set out to climb Hunger Mtn. on Oct. 13.  Under gray skies, with a prediction of 100% chance of rain by the afternoon we were determined to get our science done before the wash out.  We made quick work of the logging road and then proceeded up the trail, past the barely trickling stream to our first study plot.  Tape measures were brandished, instruments calibrated, and survey plots set up.  This same strategy would be repeated less than an hour later and 1000' higher.  The first individuals up and over the summit were greeted with a 30 mph wind and the visible stratus clouds descending off the main range of the Green Mountains.  A hurried lunch and quick science readings found us thirty minutes later descending.  A light patter of sprinkles found all hikers below tree line before the sky opened up and we could experience the meditative sound of rain falling on hundreds of colorful leaves."

Student Reflections:

Athos "Working with different people and just hiking with them, made me understand a lot more about the person. What was fun for me, was a struggle for others. Understanding how people take situations like climbing up a mountain was a big milestone to this hike. Climbing was very fun and enjoyable I would definitely go back and do this hike again in the future."

Athos "This hike was memorable for me because I learned a lot, but also had a lot of fun (which is usually not the case with science in my past). I liked that we got to get outdoors and be with our friends, and still learn a lot and collect data."

Athos "when we got to the top, I was mesmerized. The beautiful colors of the changing trees, the cool view over our towns, and most of all the great memories we had."

Porthos "At every elevation we stopped as the view became a little more rewarding. And at the top of every rock we climbed the sense of accomplishment made you want to go farther. Until you reached the top and just stood there in awe. The beautiful foliage was breathtaking and to be there with your friends made it even better. You could just stand there and take pictures for hours of the mountains in the distance their red, yellow , orange, and green trees making them seem even bigger than they already are. Being at the top of that mountain really puts the world into perspective. You feel like you are on top of the world, like a goat, and a mouse at the same time. I love to hike because the feeling is unreal. "

Porthos "I’ve never hiked before and this was the best first experience. I really enjoyed it. In fact I wasn’t even that sore at the end.
It wasn’t too easy yet it wasn’t too hard, and I loved doing it with all of my friends. I think I really enjoy hiking now, and this has motivated me into hiking more often. It was a little challenging coming down on the rock part, but we got through it and then the trail coming down was a lot easier. I was very proud when we got to the top, and it was all worth it, the view was spectacular. "

Porthos "As far as group work goes, I definitely liked the stops when we did the testing, it was fun, and since our group tended to finish fairly early, it was fun to explore the places that we had stopped when we were done. I enjoyed doing the scientific processes, though I was not a fan of my main role in the group (Group leader), because I am a fairly quiet person. However I think it was a good challenge. I think that our group worked well together and that we got a lot of good data to work with! "

*Photo credits:  Bo Carey, Jody Emerson

Friday, October 21, 2016

Marine Biology

Ever wondered if marine biology was something you might be interested in? Dreamed of going to Bermuda and admiring fish?  This past July, 19 members of the 2016 Marine Biology class collected data on fish populations ( in Bermuda at BIOS ( as a REEF research team.  They also visited museums, historical sites, conducted plankton tows, and explored caves.

12 of the students who attended the trip were U-32 students!  They included 
Alex Reilly, Emma Olmstead, Gabrielle Stroh, Joslyn Bolduc, Rebecca Thompson, Rena Schwartz, Gus Obeldobel, Shaina Herring, Aine Kennedy. In addition, Taylor Forest, Jade McMillan, and Andrea Symonds were student leaders and conducted independent studies on Lionfish, Mangroves, and Coral Bleaching.

The Marine biology course runs from January to July and scholarships are available for the Bermuda research trip.  Unfortunately, last year some students had to be turned away, so if you are interested please consider signing up soon!

For more information contact Brian Slopey ( and/or go to this link:

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Thanks to our U-32 Cafe Raiders!

This past week was National School Lunch Week (October 10-14, 2016) and I wanted to take a moment to recognize our food service staff for their hard work and great meals.  

The U-32 cafeteria has seen some yummy changes this year with breakfasts that consist of lots of different options. From pancakes or french toast to smoothies, muffins, omelets and more.  There have been some exciting new lunch options as well, and our menu board has shown us that even a small spelling error can increase interest in a meal!

It goes without saying that the old favorites are still available - salad bar, pizza and custom-made sandwiches are available every day!  Thank you U-32 cafeteria staff for delivering great tasting, nutritional meals every day!

*photo credits to Amy Molina and Sue Verchereau