The administration and faculty on the 10th grade team decided to change the annual 10th grade trip to SeaWorld into a more educational experience: Face-It.
The new 10th grade Face-It will be similar to the Upper School Face-It diversity retreat, but this year’s separate 10th grade Face-It will be compulsory for all tenth graders. As opposed to the $250 SeaWorld trip, the new Face-It will cost each student $200 to attend. The first annual 10th grade Face-It will take place on Feb. 27 and 28, 2014.
According to Assistant Head of School and Head of Upper School Laura Hotchkiss ’86, the faculty wanted to create an experience that incorporated leadership training and aspects of the strategic plan and the Marlborough School goals, including preparing Marlborough girls for the future, growing, developing, and sustaining Marlborough, leading Marlborough today, leading Marlborough tomorrow, and engaging locally, leading globally.
Hotchkiss explained that the decision to change the SeaWorld trip to a Face-It retreat was made last spring, after administrators examined the appropriateness and effectiveness of the annual junior trip to Disneyland and the annual sophomore trip to SeaWorld.
“We needed to reevaluate because in both cases we weren’t sure if [the trips] were as tied to the curriculum and to the goals of the School as they should be,” Hotchkiss said.
For the past several years, both faculty and students have approached Head of School Barbara Wagner, Director of Admissions Jeanette Woo Chitjian, and Hotchkiss about implementing a Face-It retreat that all students could be a part of. According to Hotchkiss, the main goal of the compulsory Face-It retreat is to create a common experience and dialogue within the School.
“Almost every year the same issue about Face-It comes up, but there hasn’t been space or time to do it. Now, with the Class of 2016, it seems to be a natural fit,” Hotchkiss added.
The changes to the 10th grade trip have created some upset within the sophomore class.
“I [do not feel like] paying $200 to talk about feelings with people I am not that close to. I’m not opposed to doing something like that, but it’s the fact that it’s just not that fun,” Ariel ’16 said.
On the other hand, some sophomores agree with the change.
“Personally, I’m happy that we [won’t] go to SeaWorld because of the documentary Black Fish that talked about how cruel SeaWorld is to its animals,” Sarah ’16 said. “I think our grade definitely needs to bond,” Sarah added.
Tenth Grade Dean and history instructor Tom Millar helped during the initial brainstorming phase to create an event that fit within the parameters given, and he said he is satisfied with the Face-It retreat idea and the philosophy behind it.
“I wish I would have had [a Face-It retreat] in high school. It’s the kind of thing that you’re wary about at the time and if you had total freedom you might say, ‘No, I don’t want to do that,’ but I think it’s going to be really good for the class. I think that this class is a great class to do it the f