May 13, 2021 — In just a few days, many seniors and PGs will wake early on the morning of their graduation — before 5 am, when it’s still dark — and head to Memorial Chapel, where they will take turns climbing the chapel’s tower to watch the sun rise on their last day as NMH students. It’s a tradition for seniors, and one that will punctuate a year like no other. And it will happen in one of their “favorite places at NMH.”
“This spot on top of Chapel Hill means a lot to me and my friends,” said Tram Huynh. Taking in the view of campus, people-watching, relaxing on nice evenings — Tram has been able to soak up her last weeks and days at NMH. “My friends and I have been spending a lot of moments up there, especially when the sun is setting. Being there together means a lot to us.”
“It has the best view on campus,” said Reyna Faust, who loves to sit on the hill just below the chapel in one of the many blue Adirondack chairs that were placed all around campus this year. The chairs were part of the school’s effort to create more places for students to easily and safely gather outdoors during the pandemic.
Many classes were held outdoors this year, and for Sydney duKor-Jackson, the Hemlock Classroom was a favorite place. In a clearing in the woods on the edge of campus, the “classroom” is a cluster of tree stumps arranged as chairs. “Because of COVID guidelines this year, we haven’t been able to sit in a circle in the classroom like we usually would. However, my AP Environmental Science class used the Hemlock Classroom for a discussion mid-semester, and it was exciting to be in conversation in a way that was familiar, but also in a completely non-traditional classroom setting. I also love going there to journal and take some time for myself.”
Bill Wu also found a place to take time for himself over the years, and find some “peace of mind.” “I would go beside the Lower Mod, meditate for three minutes, and remind myself of the good things that happened earlier this week to calm my mind. Often, I’d see the Big Dipper hanging bright and tall above South Farmhouse.”
Brian Kwak’s time at NMH is marked by his time on the track, which makes it his favorite place on campus. “Being a varsity track athlete all four years, when I go to the track, I’m reminded of the highs and lows I had during my time at NMH. But, in addition to doing hard sprinting workouts, it’s also a place where I hang out with friends and relax on the weekends, on the grass field inside the track.”
At NMH, food is always a big draw for students, but Yudai Higuchi’s affection for Alumni Hall, the school’s dining hall, is about more than just the good meals he has eaten. “It’s the best place to feel the warm and welcoming community at NMH,” he said. Yudai recalled visiting the dining hall during his tour of campus as a prospective student. “It was bustling with life, full of students having a great time with each other, and I thought, ‘This is the place.’”
Outside Alumni Hall, the clusters of blue Adirondack chairs are what make Blue Smith “feel really special” as he winds down his time at NMH. “Sitting there with friends, enjoying our food and each other and the nice weather — it feels like a beautiful way to end my time here.”