Inaugural Run Through AWE Ceremonial Gate from the Class of 2013

DSC08497The Class of 2013 wanted to honor their Athenian Wilderness Experience with a lasting class gift of a decorative gate for Athenian’s traditional Run-In. To complete their 26 day backpacking adventure, students run the last eight miles back to campus, where the entire community welcomes them back on the field. Previously, students ran through a small gate onto the field; now, students run through a beautiful, symbolic gate inscribed with the words “There’s more in you than you think,” by Kurt Hahn.

DSC_0018To inaugurate the gate, alumni were invited back for a ceremonial jog-through. David Buchanan ’72, Nicola Place ’76, Bryna Winchell ’84, John Kohler ’88, Wendell C. Arnold ’92, Allison Fletcher ’96, Philippa Stewart ’04, and Beth Heinen ’05 represented all AWE alumni by jogging through the gate before the Death Valley 2014 group came in.

Allie Rowe, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, Dick Bradford, Upper School Head and Academic Dean, and Gabe Del Real, Dean of Curriculum, emceed the event before the small group of alums and the Board of Trustees. Dick spoke about how AWE is the pinnacle of experiential education, students learn compassion for each other, and gain a better appreciation for the outdoors. He concluded with a piece of a poem by Tennyson:

Ulysses 

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I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
As tho’ to breathe were life!¬†
strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
The side of the gate facing the street reads "The Athenian Wilderness Experience"

The side of the gate facing the street reads “The Athenian Wilderness Experience”

Watch the 4-minute ceremony.

The gate’s design was a combination of student and alumni ideas, brought to life by Chad Dietz, a metal artist out of Monterey County.

“Not only did I notice my physical strength–feeling weak and still running farther than I ever thought possible–but I realized that as ‘strong’ as some people are on their own, knowing that you can ask for help and depend on your support system gives you immense strength to do things you never thought possible,” Emily Knell ’07 reflected on her own run-in experience.