Winter Co-Curricular Program Focuses on the Arts, Fitness and More

Joyce McFarland '20 painting in TPACC

Today marked the start of a new Co-Curricular Program for the Winter Term. Students are required to attend two, half-hour sessions each week with options that range from sports psychology, outdoor recreation and a Mind & Body Fitness Challenge to music, photography, Model United Nations (MUN), engineering and more.

Athletic Director Mike Marich P’23 ’24 introduced the program to students last week, noting that while they can choose a single area of interest, they are encouraged to explore different options throughout the term. All sessions are intended to emphasize health, wellness and community, especially while students are in an online learning environment.

“Our goal is to be as connected as we can,” Marich said. “Now is the time for us to come together as a community, and as a group.” 

Marich and Brian Konik, Director of Counseling, are co-leading Sports Psychology 101, which is based on "The Sport Psychology Mental Training Manual," by the U.S. Olympic Committee. Frederick Gunn School coaches and varsity athletes will lead round-table discussions on topics including goal setting, mental imagery, self-talk, energy management, concentration, self-confidence, mental preparedness, and handling competition pressure. The sessions emphasize performance capacity and help students to perform at their best, academically, athletically or artistically. “The skills are so transferable to our daily lives,” Marich said. “I know it will be a great benefit to us all.”

The Mind & Body Fitness Challenge is led by Christopher McKhann P’21 ’24, who specializes in strength and conditioning training. Team training sessions for boys hockey are led by Head Coach Craig Badger and Assistant Coach Shane Gorman ’10, and for girls hockey by Head Coach Jamie Goldsmith and Assistant Coach Jim Balben.

The IDEAS co-curricular program is led by MaryAnn Haverstock, Director of IDEAS Lab, in partnership with Engineers Without Borders. Guest speakers from the group’s Hartford chapter will discuss statewide engineering projects and share their experiences working in the field of engineering. Students will learn how they may contribute to local and global engineering projects and research, Haverstock said.

The MUN 2021: Global Issues Forum, led by MUN Advisors Ed Surjan and Karoline Theobald P’09, features a completely new format and an entirely new experience for those who have participated in MUN in previous years, Surjan said. Students are investigating and debating some of the most pressing global issues of today, including climate, energy, environmental and global financial issues. They will also host guest speakers, participate in Q&A sessions, and submit responses to questions using Flipgrid.

Students in Outdoor Recreation, led by Rebecca Leclerc, Director of Outdoor Programming, have the opportunity to complete their certification in an eight-module course from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. Students will take action in their own communities and learn how to reduce human impact on the environment, Leclerc said.

Four different co-curricular programs are being offered twice weekly in the arts. Ron Castonguay, Director of the Arts, is leading an eight-part music program that will introduce students to a different wind instrument each week, including French horn, clarinet, flute, saxophone, trombone, trumpet, oboe, and tuba. Jesse Perkins, Music Department faculty and Remote Student Coordinator, is offering a Music Technology program that will focus on music recording software such as Apple's GarageBand. Lincoln Turner of the Visual Arts faculty is offering Photoshop for Beginners and a Photography Open Forum, while Visual Arts Chair Andrew Richards P’20 ’23 is continuing to lead Artistry & Technique for those students who are interested in enhancing their skills in drawing, painting, ceramics and sculpture.

Faculty are invited to drop in to any co-curricular session and students will work with their advisors and the Frederick Gunn Toolkit for a Life Well Lived to set goals for their growth and learning during the Winter Term.

“One of the goals of our program is to create artistic and fitness options for students as well as to provide access to our varsity coaches and non-athletic program leaders in IDEAS Lab, Model UN, and Outdoor Programming,” Marich said, adding, “I am so impressed with all of the work that our co-curricular leaders have put into this program. This program is rich with content and opportunities to connect with our students. The scheduling team deserves credit for accommodating our request to add the program to the academic day for this term, which allows for students to get off screens in the afternoon, during what is typically time for co-curriculars, and to pursue activities outdoors after the academic day ends. We also collaborated with the Dean of Students Office to incorporate the programming into the Advisor curriculum.”

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