LACONIA — Some 26 incoming freshman at Newfound Regional High School in Bristol took part in an aerial adventure at Monkey Trunks, next to Funspot, yesterday.
The students, who spent the morning taking on the challenge of the high ropes adventure course, are taking part in the Newfound Bridge Academy, a voluntary program for eighth graders transitioning to the high school.
Amy Yeakel, who is charge of the extended learning opportunities program at the high school, said that one of the benefits of the program, which serves abut 50 students during two four-day sessions in July, is that it provides an opportunity for students, many of whom have attended school up to this point in different communities, to get to know one another.
New this year to the school district are students from Hill, who had previously attended the Jenny Blake Elementary School and the Franklin Middle School. The district serves students from six other communities, Bristol, New Hampton, Alexandria, Bridgewater, Hebron and Danbury.
''On Wednesday we were at Wellington Sate Park on Newfound Lake in Bristol and the students did some GPS work, which helps them learn survival, skills,'' said Yeakel.
She says that the goal of the program is to reach the children at a crucial time in their lives and help them get ready to be able to make good decisions, which lead to becoming responsible adults.
Topics which are covered include note taking strategies, homework tips, test taking suggestions, anti-bullying, stress reduction, and general orientation to the high school building and associated logistics. Yeakel says that the Monkey Trunks experience helps the students develop confidence in their abilities to handle stressful situations and to provide positive support for one another.
''One of the girls had a real fear of heights. But we persuaded her to put on a helmet and harness and watch other members of the group. After a little while she overcame her fear and wanted to get out on the ropes and zip lines with the other kids,'' said Yeaklel.
Casey Kasey, a 13-year-old from Bristol, said that the Monkey Trunks course was ''fun, but challenging,'' while Mason King, 14, from New Hampton, said that from his standpoint the aerial adventures was ''a really good fun time.''
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