Pingry's 157th Commencement Exercises on June 10 were marked by thoughtful words from students, faculty, and administrators. Here are a few, featured excerpts, followed by a slideshow of memorable moments.
Athletics and Activity Block
During the Athletics and Activity Block of our weekly schedule, Pingry Middle School students can select from a wide range of interscholastic sports and team and physical activities, guided by the requirements outlined below.
- Dance Rhythms
- Interscholastic Sports
- Intro to Squash
- Middle School Musical
- Outdoor Education
- P.E. Fit/Sports Academy/Ultimate Frisbee
- STEAM Challenges
- Taiko Drumming
- Theater Tech
In this Intro to Dance Rhythms course, students learn a blend of American, Latin-Caribbean, Afro-Cuban dance rhythms from around the world and perform them to music. Social dance forms such as dancing in circles, with partners, in unison with a group, or in a line will be explored. Special emphasis will be placed on the salsa rueda style of dance which combine elements from dances such as the cha cha and mambo. Enjoy dancing to music from around the globe and learn footwork that will allow you to enjoy dance rhythms in popular music. Students will gain confidence so they can join in the fun the next time they go to a dance. Students will be encouraged to choreograph their own dances and to adapt to different dance styles.
The Pingry outdoor adventure team will explore the wild areas of the Pingry campus and beyond. Guided by experienced wilderness “coaches,” participants will learn valuable backcountry skills, including map-and-compass, route-finding, fire-building, backcountry cooking, basic plant and animal identification, risk identification and management (safety in the backcountry), team care (pace-setting, group dynamics, etc.), trip-planning, and Leave No Trace principles. On most days, Pingry’s Outdoor Leadership team will “practice” during the normal middle-school athletics period on the beautiful “back forty” of the Basking Ridge campus, which includes nearly one-hundred acres of woods, streams, and pastures. Approximately once a week, participants will travel to nearby parks such as Chimney Rock, the Great Swamp, and Hacklebarney to apply the skills learned on campus to different environments. These will be the equivalent of “game days” for other sports teams.
In addition, students will be required to participate in their choice of at least one of three major trips to assess their growth as wilderness adventurers:
- A campout at the Pingry campsite. This experience will assess Leave No Trace, fire-building, cooking, and skills associated with basic camping equipment setup and use.
- A weekend day hike in mountainous terrain. This hike in Norvin Green or Harriman state parks will assess map-reading, route-finding, and group management skills in physically challenging terrain.
- A two-day backpacking trip. This end-of-course backpacking experience in Harriman State Park will test participants’ abilities to plan and lead their own wilderness trip. Students will be required to demonstrate the ability to plan a route, create a nutritious menu suitable for the backcountry, identify and manage risks, and lead fellow students on challenging mountain terrain.
P.E. Fit/Sport Academy allows students to both vary their daily activity and become more deliberate about fitness. Each day, students will engage in a different game or activity, including but not limited to basketball, dodgeball and its many variations, hiking, four square, water polo, soccer, football, wall ball, spud, and team handball, with a particular focus—in the fall and spring—on ultimate Frisbee. One day per week, students spend time in the Greig Strength and Conditioning Center with Pingry's strength and conditioning coaches to focus on these elements of fitness.
Ultimate Frisbee is a highly active team sport incorporating the skills associated with throwing and catching a frisbee. Team play and strategies are also developed in this activity as teams are formed within an intramural league and games are played daily.
In this course, students will work as a team to design, build, and program their own robot. The parameters for the robot will be provided and students will compete against other teams. Students will work on problem-solving skills to debug the code for the robot. This course will emphasize collaboration and teamwork to reach a common goal.
If you enjoy Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, or Math, then STEAM Challenges is the elective for you! In this super hands-on elective, students will try their hand at a large variety of fascinating tasks that test their ingenuity, creativity, and problem solving ability. Students will work collaboratively and individually to design and build towers, bridges, marshmallow launchers, pasta mobiles, and rollercoasters, to name a few. They will also delve into forensic crime scenes, DNA analysis, food science, genetics, and polymers and colloids (slime and Oobleck). Each week brings a new topic and experience for students to explore!
Taekwondo will be taught by instructors from USA Karate in Green Brook, NJ. For thousands of years, martial arts have been a tool for inner growth and development. The hard work and patience required to perfect each move builds discipline, focus, and determination. The desire to advance through the ranks develops goal setting and ambition. The exhilaration of passing a test and seeing how far you've come builds confidence and pride. And the increased energy that comes with improved physical fitness provides allows students to add other fulfilling activities to their lives. Finally, students will learn self defense skills that can be applied to real-life situations.
Taiko (the Japanese word for "drum") has a rich history that dates back hundreds of years, yet the art of "kumidaiko" (group drumming) as we see it today is a relatively modern invention. Today, taiko is gaining popularity and taiko groups are forming and thriving across the world, in local communities and on college campuses such as Brown, Stanford, Princeton, and Columbia. Over the course of the trimester, students will introduced to basic technique, explore choreography and movement, and learn several traditional and contemporary pieces. In addition to smaller performances on campus, students will put on a concert during a Middle School assembly to showcase their accomplishments from the trimester.
Every year in the spring trimester the Middle School puts on a musical and students are responsible for all aspects of the production, including tech. This is an opportunity to learn all about and be responsible for the lighting, set design and construction, sound, etc. All students are welcome to participate and be part of this exciting behind-the-scenes team.
This course is designed to empower young teens with practices they can use to create healthy bodies and minds. Today we live in a very fast paced and digital world, with implicit and explicit expectations of achievement. This can create stress which affects the ability of young people to learn, grow, and thrive. We will develop skills to handle stress, maintain emotional balance, and develop empathy for self and others. Physical poses and flowing movements which connect the poses will strengthen, stabilize, and open up the body, creating a sense of vitality and well-being. Breathing exercises, games, visualizations will open up the senses and allow for a feeling of being present, one breath at a time, in a safe space. Yoga, along with relaxation and meditation, has been scientifically proven to increase brain health. Everyday, we will explore ways to relax, nourishing our own lives and enriching the lives of others in the process.