Sixty Years of Beaver Brook, for RL’s Youngest Students
On September 8, 42 new Sixies—along with nine intrepid Class I leaders and faculty chaperones—trekked to Beaver Brook in Hollis, New Hampshire, for a tradition that dates back sixty years. Upon arriving, Class VI boys were immediately met with their first challenge: a test of their knowledge of “the oldest school in continuous existence in North America.” Charged with successfully separating Roxbury Latin fact from fiction and producing the most correct answers in the questionnaire, Sixies face an uphill battle: Those well-versed seniors and teachers may purposefully throw them off track with bogus answers, allowing for the single time all year when our watchwords “honesty is expected in all dealings” go out the window.
The day, organized by Class VI Dean Elizabeth Carroll, continued with team building activities (including a low ropes course, communication and leadership games, and an orienteering challenge that required a crash course in terrain maps and compasses). After dinner, Sixies gathered in the barn for the annual viewing of the 1957 film Twelve Angry Men, with small group discussions to follow; these were animated but decidedly more civil than the ones depicted on screen. The evening ended around the “campfire” (a creatively concocted non-incendiary version, given the group’s move indoors due to the rain) where Mr. Opdycke taught new boys The Founder’s Song before it was time for s’mores. The boys then retreated to their sleeping quarters in the barn—having bravely survived both thunderstorms and bee stings!—for a short night’s sleep after a full and exciting day.
The following morning, after breakfast, each Sixie was given a hand-written letter from his big brother offering words of wisdom for the years ahead. Each boy then addressed a letter to himself, to be opened at his senior retreat five years from now. As they closed their notebooks, packed up their gear, and boarded the bus home, the Class of 2029 joined a brotherhood of RL men and boys who have, for sixty years now, sat around the campfire at Beaver Brook, singing about Roundheads and eating s’mores. It is a brotherhood that spans generations.