For the past sixteen days, all St. Markers have been actively participating in Lion Term: a two-and-a-half-week Form-based experience. Each Form has its own theme and schedule of activities, with students getting involved in team-building, community service, and experiential learning. In addition, the Lions Roam program provides a global experience for its participants.
The theme of the III Form experience is "My Footprint" – examining how both individually and collectively students can affect the community around them. Through the lenses of environmental, economic, and social sustainability, students evaluate and understand the concept of community, exploring issues of self-awareness and personal identity while working to understand the impact of individuals on their communities andbeyond.
Five days of the III Form Lion Term experience was spent at Brantwood Camp in Greenfield, NH. Brantwood has been associated with St. Mark's for 98 years, and St. Markers have work as Brantwood counselors each summer, serving primarily low-income youth. At Brantwood this Lion Term, III Formers hiked, kept journals, learned campcraft, helped rebuild an outdoor chapel, worked at various projects and tasks, and got to know each other even better as classmates. Click here to see the III Form blog from Brantwood.
"Community Engagement" is the theme of the IV Form Lion Term experience. Students work in small groups to explore ideas of community leadership and social responsibility while serving and partnering with local organizations such as animal shelters, food pantries, soup kitchens, community farms, veterans groups, and family support programs. Throughout it all, St. Markers are challenged to learn how to effectively collaborate with others.
Students who complete the IV Form Lion Term will learn valuable lessons of agency, collaboration, and problem solving; skills in high demand in this 21st century world.
The V Form Lion Term experience engages smaller "cohorts" of students in "Critical Curiosity," discovering how their own interests drive the learning process. Students are given the opportunity for purposeful immersion in an area of genuine interest. This program takes advantage of the abundant intellectual resources and opportunities presented by living in New England. Collaboration, curiosity, critical thinking, and communication are central to the V Form Lion Term program. These important real-world skills that prepare students for college, careers, and life are supported and developed as students engage in their own unique Lion Term experience.
Just a few of examples from this year's V Form Lion Term activities include three students involved in a music production course (writing, performing, producing, and recording an original song), six students building a therapeutic ball pit, five students working on footwear design, and five others designing and building a remote-controlled car. Click here to listen to the result of the music production cohort ("Brighton Lights" by Oysterwar—V Formers Matt Hart, Connor Berry, and Boyd Hall).
"Global Independence" is the focus of VI Formers for Lion Term. "How do I chart my own course?" each student is challenged to ask themselves. St. Markers then pursue their personal interests, passions, and goals as they relate to the world outside the School. Each VI Former submits a proposal for a personal course of study that will include an investigation of issues of character, leadership, and intellect.
As the culminating experience of both Lion Term and their time at St. Mark's, VI Formers work independently, supported by the St. Mark's community and enriched by the world beyond our walls. Internships, individual independent projects, off-campus jobs, and even international opportunities are central to the VI Form Lion Term. St. Markers work with adult mentors to facilitate their experiences. The VI Form Lion Term represents a final opportunity to polish the skills that will help our graduates live lives of leadership and service.
Finally, the Lions Roam program, which this year worked to unpack the cultural legacy of the Icelandic people. In a spring term course, a group of students studied Icelandic culture by investigating language, religion, customs, art, economy, government and social structure as seen through the lens of the natural environment. In order to better understand Iceland's present, students must first understand Iceland's rich history. The group then traveled to Iceland for two weeks. While investigating each cultural mode, students explored the role the natural world plays in crafting Iceland's sense of national identity. As a culminating assignment, students will craft a project proposal for their time abroad, based on an area of focus from the course. St. Markers blogged about their Lions Roam experience. Click here to see what they've had to say.