Here at Eagle Rock School, we find ourselves halfway through another highly anticipated Explore Week (Oct. 30-Nov. 3, 2017). And even though the regular class schedule has been sidelined for the week, our students aren’t ignoring their regular community chores and responsibilities.
Our student body strives to become a well-oiled machine, and our many and varied campus routines are just part of what keeps us accountable on this small mountainside community that we’ve worked so hard to establish and maintain.
After all, we know dishes aren’t going to wash themselves. Which is why we maintain a strict KP schedule during this “off” week from classes. Same goes for daily exercises, taking meals together, regular Gatherings and evening programs.
Turns out the magic of Explore Week is a full five days of exciting course offerings that fall well outside the realm of reading, writing and arithmetic. Below is a description of some of these unique offerings for Explore Week 73 (the 73rd such event since the founding of Eagle Rock in the early-90s), a little about their instructors, and what the students are getting out of the experience:
Step into the Cipher — In this musical adventure, students who fancy themselves as potential emcees, rappers, poets, or beatboxers, get together to make music, test rhymes, and share their talents.
The title of the class comes from hip-hop, which describes a “cipher” as a sacred space — a circle of talented musical people where community is firmly established. It’s a laboratory where our students can make music, test rhymes, and share a piece of themselves with all who enter. Students are exploring hip-hop as a tool for community building, and they’re writing verses, poems, and hooks to bring their stories to life with sound.
The instructor for this course is Kane Smego, a National Poetry Slam finalist, international touring spoken word poet and hip hop artist. He has performed and taught poetry and hip-hop programs across the country and abroad on five continents. Kane was featured on Grammy Award-winner King Mez’s debut album alongside production by J. Cole and Soundtrakk, and topped the Spotify Viral 50 billboard in May 2017 featuring on the song North Cack with G Yamazawa. The music video for the song appeared on BET Jams, and went on to win Best Music Video at the Hip-Hop Film Festival in Harlem. A native of Durham, N.C., Kane currently resides in Los Angeles.
Hip-Hop Dance — Continuing the theme of hip-hop, this class instructs participants in how to utilize dance as a form of expression and communication. Students are learning how each movement tells a story and that the story can go wherever the body is willing to go. Participating dancers are presenting themselves on stage and staging choreography.
Instructors Edgar Viloria and Tjay Martino are planning for course members to walk away from this experience with an interest in creating their own piece and collaborate with different dance styles and people. Edgar and Tjay teach hip-hop at schools all over New England. They also work with organizations like Providence After School Alliance (PASA), CityArts, Smart Test and more. Edgar and Tjay founded their own company in August 2014 named Thr3e Live Dance Company, which has performed worldwide. And you can see them in the 2016 film, Ghostbusters III.
Wilderness and Remote First Aid — Students who succeed in this course will be certified to perform first aid in remote settings like wilderness and throughout the backcountry. Here, our students are learning how to help victims of a medical emergency. Injuries range from stomach problems to broken bones, and also include burns, altitude issues, head and spine trauma, wound care and situations related to diabetes, asthma and other ailments.
Students are working hands-on with dramatic actors who perform as “victims,” complete with realistic-looking injuries. Instructor Nick Magle-Haberek is a 20-year veteran of outdoor education and himself is a Wilderness First Responder. He has seen some scary injuries, many of which have become scenarios in this course.
Hot Glass & Metal Embossing — Instructor Vickie Mastron, gallery manager at the Art Center of Estes Park, is introducing students to working with lamp work glass this week. In addition, they are learning about torch work, including safety, the equipment, techniques, supplies and resources.
They are also learning the fundamentals of metal embossing, using sheet metal aluminum and sheet metal copper, and are creating embossed, relief images that are being utilized as elements for mobiles.
Vickie was first introduced to glasswork while earning her bachelor’s degree in ceramics at California State University at Fullerton, and was later introduced to bead making by a fellow glassblower’s wife. She has been exhibiting her work all over the country for decades.