OPEN Season Begins

Devin Mottier, Entertainment Editor

This Sunday Feb. 9, 52 seniors begin their journey to Olympic National Park in Port Angeles, Washington, for Miramonte’s annual OPEN (Olympic Park Experience in Nature) trip (formally known as OPI). This year’s trip was especially popular, leading trip organizer and Chemistry teacher Jennifer Moore to choose spots with a random lottery.

Upon their arrival, students will be immersed in the beauty of the 1,442 square mile national park until their departure on Feb. 14. During their six days, the attendees will be broken into small groups, allowing them to grow closer with classmates they may not have gotten the chance to know throughout high school. “The seniors hopefully will be able to get to know who we actually are, rather than the prejudices we’ve built in our minds on who we think we are. I’m most looking forward to just that: getting to know people I’ve hardly ever talked to on more real level,” senior Kacey Sorenson said.

Despite their constant workload and stresses, seniors have found ways to build friendships over their shared feelings. “I wanted to attend OPEN to bond more with other seniors,” senior Charles Hinman said, “I think that a lot of connections are already being made as the whole class goes through the stressful college application process, but being in such a unique and distant environment with a smaller, more intimate group seems like it would help make those connections even more personal, especially with people I don’t know nearly as well as I should by now.”

Seniors also have the opportunity to disconnect from the outside world as a result of the trip’s no-electronics policy. By leaving behind the cell phones and various “i-Devices,”students are able to interact with one another on a much more personal level while enjoying the beauty around them.

Though they will miss classwork, being away from school will give them a chance to appreciate what they have. “It’s a great experience since I don’t normally go camping with friends during the school year,” senior Ivan Munkres said.

In order to help students capture these moments, OPEN organizers strongly encourage those attending the trip to record what they see and experience in field journals. “My expectations are high, though I’m a little nervous about being expected to draw things in a journal, because that isn’t something I’m strong in.” Sorenson said.

Students attending the trip are expected to cope with 20-30 degree weather and heavy rainfall daily as they explore the beautiful Olympic National Park through hikes and an overnight backpacking trip. “I’m really looking forward to the backpacking. I’m expecting it to be pretty cold there, though, and of course lots of rain,” senior Colleen McCullough said.