Seventh graders ‘survive’ wilderness trip
By Tanner Harding | Jun 19, 2016
MATTAPOISETT — The families of 120 seventh graders waited excitedly outside of Old Rochester Regional Junior High on Saturday afternoon. Some had signs while others had balloons. All were waiting to welcome the students back from the 44th annual Survival week.
The students spent seven days in a field in Northfield. Three of those days were spent on outdoor education, such as learning navigation, learning the history of the environment around them and studying the mountains. The rest of the days were spent hiking.
Their first time out of the wilderness in almost a week, the students all seemed to agree on two things: Survival was a lot of fun, and the hiking was really hard.
“We hiked all day,” Jared Achorn said. “We didn’t get a lot of breaks.”
Ultimately, toughing it out is what Survival is all about.
During the hiking part of the trip, “the kids get limited food,” one of the organizers, Rory McPhee, said. “They get an apple in the morning and a cup of soup in the evening.”
But on top of learning wilderness skills and how to go to bed hungry, Survival also serves as a way for students to bond as the school year comes to an end.
“My favorite part was definitely the campfires,” Achorn said. “All the singing, getting to become closer with your friends, the whole experience was cool.”
Survival was started in 1972 by science teachers who wanted to teach students about the local environment. At the time they only went as far as Rochester. That field trip turned into an overnight trip, and continued to grow and evolve. The trip, as it currently operates, is more educational than the militaristic vibe it used to have.
The students were accompanied by 55 chaperones of all ages, including police officers, college students and eighth graders who participated in the trip the year before.
“I would definitely want to come back and chaperone,” seventh grader Carly Drew said. “It was fun.”