OCEAN CITY — Jumping from one plank to progressively smaller ones, rolling marbles down multiple tubes and using only strings to lift up a bucket of plastic balls were among several team-building exercises freshmen students participated in at Ocean City High School on Friday.
About 320 freshmen, led by 130 juniors and seniors and overseen by 20 staff and faculty members participated in the annual Freshmen Team Building Day.
It’s a tradition typically held earlier in the school year and featuring a combination of field day and student orientation exercises designed to familiarize the younger students with their peers and older students.
“The more amazing thing is seeing the upperclass lead the freshmen,” said Chris Clark, the faculty adviser for the event.
A decade ago, the school limited the day to indoor assemblies but later moved part of it to the outdoor field.
“Some things are more problem solving, some things are more physical,” Clark said of the activities.
Some of the more challenging activities included 10 people using only strings to lift a bucket full of plastic balls, maneuvering it over a barrel and unloading the balls by tipping the bucket using only the strings.
In another activity, a group of teens jumped from one square plank to a second smaller one. One by one, the group then jumped onto a third even smaller square plank. The trick was to squeeze everyone on the smaller plank, with one person standing in the middle and everyone else hugging that person and each other while balancing on one foot on the plank, advised history teacher Andrew Bristol, a faculty member overseeing one team.
“Hug it out,” he said. “You can’t be afraid to hug.”
In addition to students and faculty members, members of the Ocean City Police and Fire departments hosted events, including running an obstacle course through which students had to ride an all-terrain bicycle while texting. The exercise was to show students the difficulties and dangers of combining both activities.
“The turns were harder when you were looking at your phone,” said Matt Stanton, 14, of Upper Township.
Freshman Emily Rutter, 14, also of Upper Township, said the high school experience initially caught her by surprise because of its size, but she has since adjusted.
“I feel like you can’t be yourself at first,” she said.
To help the younger students make the adjustment, teachers chose juniors and seniors to lead the activities not based their test scores but their personalities, Clark said.
“We thought they would be good role models and leaders,” he said
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