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Grit ‘N Wit Activity Facilitates Senior Class Bonding

D. Zhu/The Phillipian

Sebastian Frankel ’20 (left) celebrates with friend Sam Donchi ’20 (right) while participating in the Grit ‘N Wit obstacle course.


Beneath sunny skies in Phelps Stadium, Seniors challenged their mental and physical capacities in a twenty-station Grit ‘N Wit obstacle course. Organized by the Empathy, Balance, and Inclusion (E.B.I.) Department, the event took place on Sunday with the aim to set a collaborative and determined tone for the year.

Taylor Ware, Senior E.B.I. Transitions Course Head, helped plan Grit ‘N Wit. According to Ware, Grit ‘N Wit provided an opportunity for students to establish connections and develop a spirit of class identity. She hopes the activities allowed E.B.I. teachers to get to know their students, thus developing a strong class camaraderie.

Ware said, “Sunday’s programming was really focused around kicking off our E.B.I. twelfth grade program called Transitions. And so because of the fact that year after year the E.B.I. program has gotten condensed and there’s less room in our busy schedules for it, especially Senior year, we wanted to start the day with a meaningful way for students and faculty to get to know each other and to build connections within their smaller E.B.I. sections as well as give an opportunity for the class to spend time together as a Senior class.”

The variety of activity types was a purposeful decision, as Grit ‘N Wit encouraged students to work together and see the value in their teammates’ diverse strengths. The layout of the course ensured that a student wouldn’t be able to succeed alone.

Claire Brady ’20 said, “The course was set up with a lot of physical and mental challenges. They tried to space it out with some things like jumping over walls, or climbing over ladders. There were a lot of mental puzzles too, where you would match up triangles with specific numbers or memorize boards. I had a really fun time getting to do it with my teammates. I didn’t know everyone in my group super well so it was really fun to get into the spirit of the game while working with my groupmates.”

When announced, the event caused some concern among the members of the Senior class, primarily due to its scheduling from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Uanne Chang ’20 said, “I hope the students are generally more enthusiastic about it [in the future] because I kind of feel bad for the faculty members who put a lot of effort into this and that it was met with such distaste from the student body. But also at the same time it is a lot of time required from the Senior class, especially during the fall term. So I think just figuring out a way to abbreviate the entire thing will be beneficial for everybody and probably easier for the faculty as well.”

Kylie Quinlan ’20 noted that a large proportion of attendees seemed to enjoy the occasion, despite the fact that the grade had prior complaints about the logististics of the event.

“I think there is always an aura of negativity around any mandatory event. But I thought it was really well organized. Once we got out there, especially in the Grit and Wit course, I know everyone had a ton of fun. We had food trucks, and I think everyone ended up going into it with an open mind and really enjoyed it afterward. I talked to a lot of people who said they really had a lot of fun. I know I personally had a lot of fun with my group running through the course,” said Quinlan.

In addition, faculty members had to consider the threat of eastern equine encephalitis, known as EEE, when arranging Grit ‘N Wit. The event was initially supposed to be held in the Cochran Bird Sanctuary; however, because of the concern of mosquitoes in a wooded area, it was moved to Phelps Stadium.

Aya Murata, E.B.I. Course Head, said, “I think by and large the EEE situation was sort of a blessing in disguise because [I think that] those of us who organized the event and participated actually [all] preferred actually having it up in the stadium. Before it was supposed to be a whole course through the whole Sanctuary. You wouldn’t have had that aspect of being able to watch all your classmates and faculty and staff go through it. I actually think that was a happy outcome of the EEE situation. It was fun to just see it all in its totality.”