The IXs were full of jitters the week before the Country Trip. Although they recently returned from Spring Break, they left again soon to take part in the IXs annual tradition and connect with the people they studied: American families traveling West on the Oregon Trail.
In the week before Spring Break, the IXsK travelled on the Oregon Trail in class. They made their first stop at a river on the last day of school before Spring Break, and the students had three activities to choose from. They could “either ford the river,” which means to pass through it by walking down the shallow sections of the water, “to float” on the water, or “to use a small ferry” to ride over the river, said Tate Collins.
The IXs’ preparation for the Country Trip has taken place in all kinds of ways. It would be hard to ignore the yeasty aroma of “making sourdough in Science,” said Sophie Rothman, a student in the IXsK. With flavors such as rye, honey, cinnamon, blueberry, and salt, the unmissable smells have made the mouths of passersby water. The IXs feasted happily on the homemade loaves of sourdough on this year’s Country Trip.
“We [the IXsK] have mostly been testing out only,” said Theo Schwider, a IXsK student. What Theo meant is that the IXs have been eating bread and enjoying skits performed by their peers. However, the real work came when the IXs diligently mastered and rehearsed their plays and made sure that they made tasty bread.
Although the Country Trip was fun, serene, and educational, the preparation prior to the IXs’ departure was tough and challenging, including some business that they had to complete in a short time. They had about one week to prepare for the trip.
Nevertheless, the IXs were immensely enthusiastic about spending a week in the countryside with their peers and chaperones. When asked how excited they were for the big trip, Sophie and her classmate Tabitha Broderick, IXsK, said “Ten!”
The Country Trip did not disappoint. After carrying their heavy boxes filled with supplies for the pilgrimage to the lobby last Friday afternoon, everything that followed for the IXs was joyous and uphill.
Surviving as a traveller in the wilderness is one thing, but keeping composed and sane is surely another. All IXs students graciously provided entertainment to their peers and their chaperones during the evenings on the Country Trip.
“The IXs learned how to knit. Although some already knew how to knit, it was a great collaborative and engaging learning experience, and it really comes in handy when they have to pass time on the Country Trip,” said Katie Mastriano, IXsK teacher.
The IXs helped each other out by teaching their groupmates how to knit if they were confused. Even Katrina Raben, Science Teacher, stumbled upon a predicament and struggled with her knitting. Henry Shapiro, a IXsK student, unhesitantly aided his fellow C&C community member.
“It was also something that real pioneers would do back then, and we [found] it relaxing during such a chaotic week [when they were preparing for the Country Trip],” said Katie.
Another way to pass time was eating snacks, and the IXs spent some time at Westside Market buying ingredients for meals and afternoon teas such as “beef stew, Johnny cakes, lemonade, and many more,” said Katie.
Of course, safety was the number one priority on the trip, no matter how fun it was; the IXs left some time in class last week to pack some medical supplies as well.
Another form of entertainment was to perform various skits. Throughout the trip, students presented their nightly entertainment. To tackle this they split up into small groups and discussed ideas, roles, and lines.
“Whether it be a group of IXs telling scary stories or silly ones, we all gather around the fire at night listen, and it [was] very entertaining. It [kept] our mind off our homesickness,” said Katie. The small skits also kept the IXs entertained, especially in the night when it is too dark to explore the outdoors. The skits made them laugh, cry, and shout in joy or fright. The skits were also great practice for the IXs’ Play that is coming soon in late Spring.
Some groups seemed to have a discussion leader of sorts, even if this was not their official title. This was the case in Ella Rahav, Jack Toews, Ana Patterson and Sophie Rothman’s group. Sophie is in the IXsK but the rest of the group is in Jay Birdwell’s group. Ana appeared to step up to a leadership position and ensured that her group focused on the task at hand. Their task: “adding words,” as Ana said. The rest of her group helpfully pointed out that they had narration but still needed dialogue for their skit.
All four members of the group participated in the brainstorming process, creating an effective group dynamic. Ella suddenly had an idea and the others quieted down to listen to her explain her concept. She enthusiastically put herself into her character’s shoes and even acted out facial expressions for clarity.
The process went smoothly until the group noticed an odd word written on a piece of paper next to them. They all took a moment to laugh in confusion at the word “diarrhea,” but they quickly went back to work. In order to make their spooky skit come to life, the IXs created props. The group split up, Jack and Ella going to the Wood Shop while Sophie and Ana ran up to the Art Room to gather supplies.
Meanwhile, another IXsJ group acted out their much more lighthearted skit in the second floor hallway. Loretta Broderick, Frances Keane, Lily Early, and Sophia de Mendonca giggled as they got ready to take it from the top. The scene was set: a few mellow pigs, played by Frances and Lillie, were being fed by the farmer, Loretta, until conflict struck. Loretta quickly changed positions to become a pig in a seamless transition and the antagonist stepped forward: Buttercup the pig, played by Sophia.
“Oh no, it’s Buttercup!” cried out one of the pigs.
“Not again…” said another with fear and disgust in her voice.
Buttercup, a true villain, paid no heed to the terror-struck pigs and rudely stole their food, calling them “losers.” Had an audience been present, a gasp would have undoubtedly been heard. The three pigs expressed their dismay but Buttercup was not swayed.
“I don’t care, loser,” she said, which was quickly becoming her signature phrase. The pigs were left with no choice; they had to break out into song and dance.
“Buttercup, Buttercup, the big fat meanie,” they sang in unison. They proceeded to go through several verses explaining why Buttercup was not only mean, but grumpy, as well as stinky, ugly, and fat.
To no one’s surprise, Buttercup still called them losers. This time she did this in a song. “You are all losers,” she repeated. Buttercup’s rhymes were more than enough to give the other pigs a sudden change of heart. Maybe they should give her a chance, even if she calls them losers, surprisingly frequently. A pig handed over a cake that was “definitely not poison.” The cake was obviously not poisoned so Buttercup ate it with delight.
Sophia briefly broke character to tell her groupmates that she could bring in a fake piece of cake from home. They all agreed with this plan and went back to the grand finale of their performance: a song. This time the pigs did not sing about why Buttercup was a big fat meany. With a heartwarming change, they sang about why she was “the really nice piggy.”
After a stellar practice run, one can imagine that their performance went smoothly when they presented it during the Country Trip.
If you see any of the cast members roaming the C&C halls after their return to New York City, be sure to ask how it went.