Every student at Concord High School is encouraged to reach their full potential in education. So much, in fact, that there is a whole course dedicated to just that.
With course sign-ups beginning soon, students might want to consider taking R.O.P.E., which stands for “Reaching Our Potential in Education.”
R.O.P.E. is offered to 18 students per semester ranging from grades 10-12. The one-credit course satisfies half a credit needed toward the overall physical education requirement of 1.5 credits. The other half-credit counts as an elective.
Many students sign up for ROPE because, as senior Seamus Dunphy puts it, they “like the idea of an unconventional class, and [enjoy] doing activities outdoors.”
Typical activities include rock climbing, trail construction and backpacking. Participation in fundraising events and four weekend trips–all announced in advance–are required in order to pass.
To sign up students must first complete an application and an informational meeting about the course, which is taught by science teacher Frank Harrison and English teacher Matt Skoby.
According to past applicants the process is straightforward. The application is just a Google form and “it asked about your experience with outdoor activities and why you would like to take the class,” Dunphy said.
Dunphy admits that he had some concerns before signing up for the course. He was worried about “whether or not medical conditions such as asthma would limit [him] from taking the class.”
Not necessarily, he learned. “As long as you have the proper medication, you are permitted to take the class.”
Cost is another worry among some, but R.O.P.E. students are not required to buy anything. They are encouraged to bring boots and a backpack; other equipment is supplied.
It’s also not necessary to already know other students or the teachers well. “Just as the classmates have bonded, the instructors have bonded with the students as well and have become people that the students can trust,” Dunphy reported.
“When you do these trips they are based entirely on teamwork and working together, so the experiences we had together made us better friends.”
Dunphy said his best memory was “repelling off a 55-foot cliff.” His worst was “facing [his] fear of heights on the rock climbing trip.”
“I can confidently say we all had a mixture of both new learning experiences and things we already knew,” said Dunphy. “It is easily the best class I’ve ever taken and the memories from it will stay with me forever.”
For the current Fall 2018 semester, students have already gone on a one-night Merrimack River Trek, a two-night rock climbing adventure and a daylong community service adventure at White Farm.
They also have a three-day winter camping adventure planned for January 11-13.
The first adventure for students enrolled this spring will be a two-night camping adventure in March. After community service adventures and rock climbing adventures in April and May, their final trip will be a one-night Northern Trail Bike Trek in late May.