Unity Days opens each school year at the Academy. The weekend's activities give each class the opportunity to spend time together as a group and reflect on their individual and class goals for the school year ahead. Ninth graders, sophomores, and juniors participate in activities locally, while seniors travel to the Brantwood Camp in New Hampshire for an overnight stay.
Unity Days programming is based on the development goals for each year as part of GovsSELF, the strategic plan for student life at the Academy. The GovsSELF development goals are intended to guide Academy students in becoming curious and compassionate individuals with the skills and experience to make meaningful contributions to their communities.
The goal of GovsSELF for ninth graders is to increase their self-awareness. During Unity Days, ninth graders were oriented to key places on our campus, introduced to resources that will allow them to optimize their Governor’s experience, and given a sense of Governor’s community expectations. They were also introduced to the surrounding community with a scavenger hunt in Newburyport. They shared some laughs over trivia night on Saturday, and enjoyed the long-standing tradition of a ninth grade BBQ and class photo on Sunday.
As sophomores, students are encouraged to expand their understanding of others and step outside their comfort zone. Students practice compassionate action and advocacy with respect to issues that matter to them. On Saturday, sophomores visited the Essex County Greenbelt Property to participate in a “Trash to Treasure” project. It was a multi-dimensional experience to reflect, collect, connect, and take action. At their Saturday night cookout, they explored how they want to be identified as a class and what goals they have for the year ahead. On Sunday, they traveled off campus to go bowling and enjoy ice cream.
During their Unity Days, the junior class made posters to support Special Olympics and KIPP Academy Field Day athletes, took a trip to Canobie Lake Park, and hosted a field day for KIPP Academy (Lynn) students and GovsPLUS scholars. This programming supports the junior year GovsSELF objective of helping students to take greater responsibility for their own experiences and for shaping the community in which they live. They are guided in developing and practicing leadership skills that will position them for lives of ‘active citizenship.’
The final year of the GovsSELF program prepares seniors to make the transition to a successful life after Governor’s by encouraging them to develop and practice leadership grounded in self-awareness and community. While at the Brantwood Camp, the seniors established class goals and priorities for the school year. Students bonded with their class over lawn games and fire pits before retiring to cabins for the night. On Sunday morning, the class broke into groups, and each group hiked Mt. Monadnock as a team.
To view photos of Unity Days, click here.
Cover photo: Senior class group photo at Brantwood by Becky Stratton