March 16, 2014
“There are so many 8th graders I never knew were in my class.” – a JFKS student
Except for the past two days, the sun has shone for most of the week here. There are many bronzed faces to show for it among teachers and students. The snow at the bottom of the mountain has been generally slushy. At the top of the Hochfϋgen ski resort the snow is crisper and complemented with the spectacular view of the Austrian, German and Italian Alps.
This is JFKS ski trip #39. For those unfamiliar with a city of Berlin tradition, a ski trip was historically a way to get Berlin students out of the walled city, to encourage them to face and overcome new challenges like skiing, and to better their social competencies. With the fall of the wall in 1989, the focus shifted primarily to mastering new challenges and improving their interpersonal relations. To do this, three times throughout the trip, the 128 eighth grade students break into 14 ski groups based on their ability. In addition, each evening one of the six classes organizes a group event to encourage further interaction and fun. Finally, two days are “ski-free days” for students to go for a hike, swim, or shop. With one week already past in this beautiful setting, we believe the students are forming new friendships and strengthening others that will last in their time at JFKS and perhaps thereafter.
Jason Lang, teacher