We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

← Back to all stories
Photo ofMegan Gamache

The bright sun shined in our eyes and the cool March air whipped our hair all around as we ran. It was our first day at ecology school and everyone was excited. With screaming kids all in competition for the swings we ran faster. We could still smell the savory meal we had for lunch in the mess hall mixed with the salty air. DINGGG DINGGG! The sound of the bell was so loud everyone stopped in their tracks and slapped their hands to their ears to muffle the piercing noise. Once it finally stopped, the sound of many leaders yelling for everyone to get in their groups replaced it. We jumped off the swings and trotted along to get to our leaders.

“Hello everyone! My name is Sarah and this is Josh. We will be your group leaders for this week!” As she continued to talk all I could think of was how scared I was to be in a group with my classmates that I didn’t talk to. I shied away and moved to the back of the group so I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone I didn’t know.

“Ok adventurers, let's get lined up and ready for the walk to the tidepools! Hunter, you are sitting with me, everyone else buddy up and on the walk we will talk about how we should behave at the tidepools.” We started our adventure and all I could think about was how much I didn’t want to walk with my crazy group. They were all jumping up and down. Josh tried to calm them down by teaching us about the trees above us. As he spoke I looked at the little buds on the trees. 

I took one off the tree and opened it and inside was a tiny fuzzy bunch of leaves. I opened them and saw how inside before they sprouted they were with one or two other leaves. It reminded me of Carson and how we were like two leaves inside our bud, not yet open and ready to see the world, but eventually we would open up and see a bigger and more beautiful world.         * * * “I thought that the compost area would be super boring but it wasn’t! We got to see how the different things break down and everyone in my group is extremely nice! Our lesson finished early so all of us went to the playground and played capture the flag! It was so much fun!” Carson exclaimed. Her excitement made me upset because I was happy she was having a good time but I could see that she was perfectly fine without me. So I faked it and pretended I had the best time as well and that my group was fun too.

“Ya pretty much same here. My group was fun and we got to see a bunch of cool creatures,” I said, trying to sound excited. As we talked we could hear a distant and muffled dinging in the background, followed by a bunch of footsteps outside the door. We jumped down from the squeaky bunks and followed the crowd down to the mess hall for supper. 

Each of the following days was pretty much the same. We would eat three times a day, have three lessons, and a bunch of free time. I hung out with Carson as much as I could but I also learned that being with my group wasn’t all that bad and that they were really nice and crazy people. On our way home the bus jostled up and down over the bumps Carson and I were both sad and happy at the same time. So as we rode into the afternoon sun, we knew this was our last trip before she moved away. We knew there would be many more adventures.

© Megan Gamache. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.