RS Reporters Blog

Student benefit presentations for Nepal

On Tuesday evening, June 2nd, parents, students and alumni gathered together to support relief efforts in Nepal. The program included a variety of inspiring presentations and reflections to build awareness about humanitarian efforts abroad.

The program began with a series of thoughtful reflections from IB1 students who participated in the India trip in February 2015, including Nina S, Franck V, Bart C, Nathan B, Oliver V, Franco P, Farah V, Laetitia L and Gauthier L. Themes included perseverance, empowerment, faith, contrast, perspective, chaos, sharing and the aromas. Students work tirelessly throughout the year to promote their efforts in India, and then have the opportunity to travel there to see the projects through. These experiences leave lasting impressions, which the students carry forward with them not only in their studies, but in their personal lives as well.

We were proud to have IB 2014 alum, Marine Vasseur, present on her recent volunteer experiences in Nepal, where she had been spending part of her gap year when the devastating earth quake hit in April 2015. Marine quickly went to work with other volunteers to prepare care packages for rural communities that did not have access to aid and resources necessary to protect their families. This care was so needed and appreciated by those who were coming to terms with the enormous impact the earthquake has had on their lives, but it is just the beginning.

There is much work to continue in the effort to rebuild the areas impacted by the earthquake. Should you wish to participate, donations can be made through Global Giving

Mr Tony Hyde, Honorary Member of Round Square and Former Round Square Representative for Europe, later presented his challenging trek through the Himalayas. This trek embraces the Round Square Ideals in the spirit of adventure and cultural understanding. Mr. Hyde describes the trek below: 

"In winter, the kingdom of Zanskar, in the heart of the Himalayas, is cut off from the rest of the world since all the walking trails and roads are covered and blocked by snow.  Avalanche dangers are also contributory to this situation.  However, what is a raging grade 7 rafting river. running through deep sided gorges cutting through the 6000+m mountains in the summer, is frozen in the winter and provides a spectacular passage, which the locals and intrepid trekkers alike can use.  

For the local school kids in boarding schools in Leh, the Ladakhi capital with access to the outside world in winter because of its airport, it is as the "School Run" and what a "Run" it is!!!!  

The Tchadar (the Blanket) is the name of this venture and requires not only rigorous preparation but also fortitude and equipment to withstand the temperatures on the scale between Baltic to Siberian."

These efforts are remarkable and we are proud of all students, alumni and friends who continue to help others, explore and connect globally in the spirit of Round Square.

Posted by katie in Gap Students, Democracy, Service Projects on Monday June 1, 2015
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FND Students Trek in the Alps!

For their annual school trip, the Foundation 123s had tremendous weather and a lot of fun during their 5-day trip to Serre Chevalier. It was exhausting, but also exhilarating according to the stories they have told. Activities included rafting, airboating, hiking, Via Ferrata, a night in a mountain hut, swimming and rock climbing. A lot of students challenged themselves by facing their fears head-on and learned a lot about themselves and their abilities. 


Posted by katie in Adventure Trips on Monday May 25, 2015
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FND Mediterranean Sailing Trip

For their annual school trip, the Foundation 4-5s had incredible weather for their sailing trip in the Mediterranean. A blue sky, warming sun but still enough wind, made for the perfect setting to explore the coast. Students had a positive experience where they learned to even cook and clean for them selves, help with the sailing and work as a team both on the boat and inland. Congratulations to all who took up the challenge (and perservered despite feeling green in the gills in the water)!


Posted by katie in Adventure Trips on Monday May 25, 2015
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Ermitage Exchange with Bement School in Massachusetts

April vacation seems like it was a long time ago for most of us but for the 14 students and 3 staff who visited the Bement school in Historic Deerfield in Massachusetts the morning chill and genuine warmth of our friends from across the Atlantic still lingers. For over 16 years Ermitage has had an exchange with the Bement school and for those 16 years our mutual appreciation has crystallised into a magnificent friendship. 

For those that haven’t yet visited this quiet town it is one of the oldest settlements in all of New England. Incorporated almost 100 years before the Declaration of Independence Deerfield has a long history (by American standards at least). I won’t go any further into the historical background of the town and leave the rest of your curiosities to be answered by wikipedia and move on to the trip itself.

The majority of the trip was spent immersing ourselves into the lives of our American friends at school and at home. 

We went to class and played sports…. And, of course, the worm...

Halfway through our trip we took a bus 2 hours south to Mystic Connecticut to the worlds largest maritime museum called….Mystic Seaport. But, this was no ordinary museum as we were traveling with no ordinary group of students. We were traveling with protegé whale hunters and as such we had to hone our skills and understanding of the business.

To begin, our guide explained what the whaling industry was and why Mystic became so big. Then it was time for our fitness/accuracy test…. Jade, clearly, was a natural…. After all the students and staff successfully threw the harpoon into the water (pointy end first) it was time to explore the hunting vessels.

We first explored one of the longships that would be sent out to actually hunt with 4-6 men in each. Once the whale was harpooned the men and the boat would go on a “Nantucket sleigh ride” for as long as several hours where the angry and injured animal would tow them all over the open ocean. Once the whale had exhausted itself the men in the boat would then have to tow it back to the main ship for processing. Sometimes the return tow could take an entire day.

The second part of the visit was aboard the Charles W. Morgan, one of the world’s last wind powered whaling vessels, used just until the US transitioned to petroleum based oils in 1845. Holding around 33 sailors it made it’s trip from the coast of Connecticut to oceans all over the world but primarily hunted off the coast of California by way of Cape Horn. Trips lasted from 9 months to 5 years.  

After another very short week it was time to say “see you in June” to our Bement friends and hello to Boston! We left our mark… Saw some old stuff… Got a little silly. Had some pizza for dinner and went bowling...

Sunday we started off with a breakfast of pancakes at the South Street Diner before heading off for our Ducktour of Boston. Students visited the Old State House where the Declaration of Independence was first read to the inhabitants of Boston and also where Boston gave Queen Elizabeth a check for $1,300 to settle the debt of all the tea that was thrown into the harbor during the Boston Tea Party. 

These pictures are only a small fraction of the trip and it is only a teacher’s view of it. For the students, ours and those at Bement, individually and collectively, there is so much more to tell. The exchange program at Ermitage is not only an essential part of the Round Square mission but also an innate curiosity within each and everyone of us. The desire to explore new corners of the world and the people within them is one of the greatest lessons learned outside the classroom and ultimately teaches us all more about ourselves and where we are in life and the world. They help enlighten and remind us that for any lasting relationship one must give and take, be a guest and a host, be a follower and a leader so that in the end the group is stronger because each individual within it is too. 

Whit W, RS Exchange Coordinator

Posted by katie in Exchanges, Cultural Trips on Wednesday May 20, 2015
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