By Mairin Hoffman ’25
Hi everyone! My name is Mairin Hoffman, and I am a freshman at the Frederick Gunn School. I am 15 years old, from Pawling, New York, and reside at Trinity Pawling School. This is my first year being a part of the Highlander Newspaper. In this article, I will share my freshman experience at the Frederick Gunn School so far.
I had been counting down the days until September 8th, anticipating the nerve-wracking date. The day came fast. I was extremely nervous and excited to go to a new school. When I arrived during orientation week, the school gave us a schedule of all the activities we would be doing for the next five days. Let’s just say they kept us very occupied. Before school started, we received no word on who our roommates were, so I met mine when I got there. After I received the schedule, one of the activities was setting up our new rooms, so I set up my dorm room, and I had to say goodbye to my parents, which was probably the most challenging part.
After all the setting up, the school organized outdoor activities to help us bond with our peers. We played games and were put in small groups to get to know each other. It was out of my comfort zone and almost embarrassing sometimes, but it helped me feel more comfortable in the community! We also attended school tradition events like Convocation and our All-School Walk a little later in the school year. The Walk was our first big tradition this year. It is a tradition started by our founder Frederick Gunn. To honor him, all classes are canceled for the day, and we walk eight miles up Steep Rock. I connected with many peers I didn’t expect to connect with on this walk and created new valuable friendships. I look forward to future All School Walks as it is a great tradition in our community and a great day off of school.
The co-curricular that I chose in the fall was crew, which I had never done before. We started co-curriculars the second day we got there—the girls’ and boys’ row on Lake Waramaug, which is 15 minutes away from the school. Trying something new (For me) is very scary. We had to do a swimming test on the second day of crew. I ultimately failed the swimming test, and I wanted to quit at that moment because I was embarrassed. Slowly, over the training period, I began to love the sport more and more every day and get in the hang of it. I will never forget the beautiful sunsets reflecting off Lake Waramaug and listening to music with my teammates on the bus to practice after school. Being on crew was my first experience being on a team, and I definitely would never take it back. In the end, I am indeed very grateful that I didn’t quit because I would have missed out on all the fun moments of being on a team.
The school values community, teamwork, and it brings the whole Frederick Gunn community closer together every day through small activities, even just School Meeting. As a first-year student, learning these things is very important when joining a new community and learning overall in high school. I am learning new things and meeting new people, which I believe is essential. Overall, My experience at the Frederick Gunn School has been a positive one, and even though it has its ups and downs, I am grateful to be attending this fantastic school!