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Juniors adapt to Arrow Week with fewer students attending, develop leadership skills

Photo credit:
Juniors sit at Union Peak in Lander, Wyoming. From Aug. 25-Sept. 1, most members of the Class of 2025 went on Arrow Week, a hiking and leadership program that is a part of Archer’s curriculum. Photo courtesy of Danilka Foronda-Zanipatin.

During this year’s junior Arrow Week Aug. 25- Sept. 1, 77% of the Class of 2025 attended. This was a noticeably smaller number compared to previous years, according to 11th grade Dean of Culture, Community and Belonging Casey Huff.

Juniors in attendance learned wilderness skills, collaboration, tolerance for adversity and leadership skills. They went backpacking throughout the Wind River Range in Lander, Wyoming, with instructors from the National Outdoor Leadership School.

Junior Danilka Foronda-Zanipatin said fewer people attending Arrow Week made it harder for her to connect with classmates. However, she said it was reassuring to be in a supportive environment.

“It was tough to know all of my friends are in a group together, and I’m not,” Foronda-Zanipatin said. “The first couple of days were hard, but it was good to know everyone was in the same boat.”

Junior Uma Nambiar said she also felt affected by the smaller amount of people participating in Arrow Week but said it gave her a chance to get to know her classmates and make new friends.

It’s so much different from a school atmosphere, and we got to reconnect with everyone in different ways that you wouldn’t get to do at school.”

— Sophia Bromwich ('25)

“My favorite experience from Arrow Week was getting to know a bunch of different people that I don’t normally hang out with,” Nambiar said. “For me personally, it was a lot better than my last Arrow Week in Arizona — the scenery was really pretty, and the experiences were just magical.”

During Arrow Week, juniors participated in activities such as swimming and making friendship bracelets during the final days of their trip in Wyoming. They learned how to set up camp and cook breakfast and dinner and spent most of their time hiking on the trail.

Junior Sophia Bromwich said she enjoyed this year’s Arrow Week because the participants had more time than in past trips to relax and reset after strenuous hiking. Additionally, she said it was helpful to have free time during the trip.

“It was really nice to have time to just hang out as a group,” Bromwich said. “We had a s’mores day, as well as a self-care day, which was helpful.”

Foronda-Zanipatin said she felt triumphant at the end of the trip. She said everyone’s drive to finish strong was aligned with Archer’s core values and brought her grade together.

“The second-to-last day was such an accomplishment because I thought I couldn’t do it, but everyone was pushing each other to keep going,” Foronda-Zanipatin said. “My whole group decided to hike two more miles to reach a better camp spot, which was a great achievement.”

Bromwich said she found this Arrow Week to be an opportunity to destress and have time away from school work. She said that being surrounded by nature and spending time with classmates was a positive experience.

“My favorite experience was being around people from school but also being around nature,” Bromwich said. “It’s so much different from a school atmosphere, and we got to reconnect with everyone in different ways that you wouldn’t get to do at school.”

Similarly to Foronda-Zanipatin, Nambiar said she was proud of herself after completing the NOLS course, as she said asking for breaks and advocating for herself and her group was challenging. She said, each day, someone was appointed by the camp counselors to be a leader of the day to keep the group motivated.

“I kept pushing myself, and I didn’t expect myself to ask for so many breaks, which I was proud of,” Nambiar said. “Being the leader of the day taught me to keep pushing and help give my group a positive attitude.”

Foronda-Zanipatin said she had an overall positive and impactful experience on Arrow Week, despite not experiencing the trip with all of her classmates. She said that persevering through the challenging course taught her to develop a positive mindset and learn how to deal with adversity.

“Arrow Week is easier said than done,” Foronda-Zanipatin said. “Actually seeing it and experiencing it is life-changing.”  

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About the Contributor
Lola Thomas
Lola Thomas, Senior Reporter
Lola Thomas joined The Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022 and became a senior reporter in 2023. She is a part of the Ambassador Leadership Team, serves on the Black Student Union Board, and is a member of the Unaccompanied Minors. You can find her listening to music, hanging out with her friends, and playing with her puppy in her free time.

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