Tyler says that boys who develop deepconnections with classmates and facultyare, unsurprisingly, more likely to earnbetter grades and remain at Woodberry untilgraduation. And they are also less likely todeal with severe anxiety or depression andmore likely to be able to successfully managethe stresses and strains of being a teenager.
The power of these connections is alreadyevident in the fourth form, which returnseach year from their expedition with a muchclearer identity as one class of Woodberryboys rather than a group of old boys and newboys. Because the entire class lives togetheron the Walker Building (something that willresume next fall after two years when therenovation of the building meant the class
The seeds of Woodberry’s newexpedition week were planted in
2000 by Deb Follo Caughron ’74.
Deb, who had loved climbing andhiking while growing up on campusand then as a member of the RapidanProgram as a student, was hired bythen-Headmaster Dennis Campbell asthe school’s first director of outdooreducation. Along with overseeingconstruction of the school’s ropescourse, Deb launched the Fourth-Form Leadership DevelopmentProgram. The cornerstone of that newprogram was a four-day expeditionto the Outward Bound School in themountains of North Carolina.
“We saw the trip as a way topromote greater self-awareness,interpersonal skills, service, personalgrowth, and leadership for the boys,”says Deb, who spent twelve years ofher early career with North CarolinaOutward Bound School (NCOBS)before serving as director of outdooreducation at The LawrencevilleSchool. Deb left the Woodberryfaculty in 2010 to become chair ofNCOBS board of directors, a role sheheld until 2014.
was split between two dorms), connectionsthat start on the expedition deepen intolifelong friendships as the year goes along.
“I really enjoyed spending time witheveryone,” said Jordan Manor, a fourthformer from Washington, DC. “And I likedgetting to try different things, like caving,which was both scary and cool, or doingtandem climbing.”
BUILDING CONNECTIONSWITH OUR YOUNGESTSTUDENTS
The new third-form expedition also fallsin late September, a month after new boysarrive on campus. This year the boys brokeinto groups of ten, each joined by a memberof the faculty, to spend four days together.Boys enjoyed climbing, caving, or funcompetitions like the Woodberry Olympics,with the winning team taking home ateenage boy’s most prized reward: food (inthe form of ice cream sandwiches deliveredin a gold-painted cooler).
“My favorite part of the expedition wasspelunking — when else would I have anopportunity to crawl through a muddy cavewith my students?” asks Natalie Rodriguez-Nelson, a Kenan-Lewis Fellow who teachesthird-form history. “We had to commandocrawl through the cave, and after the firstround, we turned all of our headlampsoff and completed the same commandocrawl in total darkness. We guided eachother by our feet and our comments. Itwas the most trusting thing I’ve ever done.The expedition was full of trust-building