Alanna Waldman

Alanna Waldman ’10 battled the Washington wilderness this summer in an Outward Bound program funded by Andover. Last spring, Waldman received the David Spencer Hackett Memorial Scholarship, which awarded her $5,000 to participate in an Outward Bound program of her choice. Waldman said that the trip was “one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life, both physically and emotionally.” Waldman chose to go to Washington state for two weeks. She kayaked 40 miles for one week in the Puget Sound, and then spent the second week hiking 50 miles in the Cascade Mountains. “We had to work together to survive,” said Waldman. “It really encouraged teamwork and compassion within the group, and, because we were a group of strangers, we had to get to know each other to overcome challenges.” Waldman had previously hiked Mount Washington three times, and had done plenty of kayaking as well. She said, however, that she had “never done it to the extent of Outward Bound, because [the group] had to carry everything on [their] backs or in the kayaks.” Waldman said that her trip “was really intense because we didn’t shower for two weeks, and we didn’t have any of the comforts of home.” Waldman also learned that she didn’t need many possessions for survival. “It showed me that we only need a very minimal amount of things to live off of, when we live in a society that’s so materialistic,” she said. Now, Waldman said, “I only take what I’m going to eat because I don’t want to waste food, and I don’t buy what I don’t need.” Looking back, Waldman noted many benefits of the trip. “Nothing seems as hard anymore, because it doesn’t seem as hard as what I did,” she said. “It was great in the end.” Waldman did not apply for the scholarship. Her advisor and a Junior in Nathan Hale, where she served as a prefect last year, nominated her for the recognition. Waldman said that she didn’t have any idea that she was going to receive the scholarship until someone called her out of class to tell her. “My freshman [nominated me] because [the scholarship was] for someone who works hard and is a good role model,” she said. Waldman heard about the scholarship because a friend participated the year before, but she “didn’t know the content of the award,” she said. “I accepted the nomination, and then I talked to [my friend] and he said he absolutely loved it.” The scholarship is awarded each year to an Upper in memory of David Hackett ’61, who played a large role in the introduction of the Outward Bound program to the U.S. He served as a marine officer in Vietnam, and died in action while trying to save one of his men. According to Outward Bound International’s website, the program works to develop participants in several key ways, focusing on the building of individual and team strength.