By Susan Wilderman
From its humble beginnings the Maple Sugaring project at JRHS has always been about the development of students through the process of refining sap into pure Maple Syrup. The dedication of time, attention and effort provides a unique learning environment which is hard to replicate in a traditional classroom. This experience links students with creation at this special time of the year as it changes from winter to spring.
In a culture that values individualism, this project fosters collaborative teamwork. Each member learns to value one another, learning that each is important and essential. Together they collect the sap, boil it down, and bottle the finished product. No job is more or less important to the fulfillment of the mission. This results in joy and great fellowship within the class. As senior Adalie Kammerman says, “it's a great way to learn how to work together as a team.”
This project requires attention to detail as students learn responsibility. As senior Aidan Jeanes shared, “maple sugaring is a great way to learn hard work and responsibility through the production of maple syrup.” There are real risks they learn to mitigate, plan and manage and this is done under the watchful leadership of project leaders, Jeff Philbrick and Susan Wilderman.
Furthermore this project links students to the past helping them see they are part of a larger story. They are part of a thirty year legacy of JRHS students producing Pure Maple Syrup ~ “God’s Secret Delight” - the name the first students gave to our delicious product. Over these years we have produced over 1200 gallons of syrup. Meaning students have processed an estimated 50,000 gallons of sap over the years. For all the leaders and volunteers who have helped facilitate the continuation of this project we are thankful.