Songs of Reflection

Alzar School | 25.03.21

And still, pressed deep into my mind, the river

keeps coming, touching me, passing by on its

long journey, its pale, infallible voice


~ At the River Clarion, Mary Oliver

As many members of our Alzar School community are well aware, Semester 18 students recently completed their first round of expeditions! Students and several staff members traveled by bus to northern California and embarked on a journey down the Klamath River (see previous blog posts, Revisiting the Klamath River Corridor & Leadership on the Klamath, for more anecdotes). Since the students’ departure nearly three weeks ago, they have been there-and-back-again, returning to Cascade last Wednesday sun-kissed, smelly and proud. 

River Pod 1

Upon re-entry with their formal academic class schedule, students are energized, exuberant, enthusiastic, and many have expressed contentment toward engaging with a more “normal” routine. Semester 18 students are far from “normal”; they have been exceptional in countless ways, showing up as the very best versions of themselves each day. 

In the Capstone Leadership class, teacher Hallie Holland asked students to reflect on “a time you were your best self or acted as a leader on expedition”. Lexi said that “going on the double duckie with one of my friends … through a bunch of Class III rapids made me feel super inspired and happy. It made me just really appreciate everything and everyone around me”. Jonah says he was his best self “when helping out with group tasks at our first campsite”. And M.J.’s most vivid sense-of-self occurred while stargazing.  


Eva said that she was her best self “when on a raft floating down the river and enjoying the outdoors” while John cherishes that “on a cold and rainy day I was in a duckie..we all were having a blast – singing and playing on the boats. We kept a super good attitude.”

Indeed, keeping a good attitude has been a consistent feature of this semester’s cohort, and we cannot wait to see what our backpacking expeditions will have in store for this group of intrepid leaders. In the meantime, our Leaders of the Week have posed reflection questions for the student group to ponder regarding strengths and areas of improvement:

– What was your favorite memory from expedition?

A gaggle of duckies.

– What was a personal area of growth for you on expedition?

– What was difficult on expedition?

– What are some checks, pluses, and deltas from expedition?

Be sure to ask the Alzar School student in your life about their most powerful expedition reflections. Also, stay up-to-date with Alzar School happenings and discover fantastic expedition photos on Instagram, @alzarschool.