Everyone’s favorite time of year is here--May Program, Oldfields’ signature experiential learning program. It began early on Monday morning as The Maine Stage pulled out of Rodney parking lot to get their creative juices flowing in beautiful Kennebunkport, ME. The activity level continued to rise as a scavenger hunt had students exploring every corner of campus while other groups headed out on an urban hike and a jaunt to nearby Kilgore Falls. Design, Build, Play tested their strength and balance on some team building games they created, while nutritionist and alumni Ashley Grimmel ’06 gave an interactive presentation to Food Science. Many more adventures are planned for the next two weeks of experiential learning. Be a part of the magic by following us on Facebook and Instagram. We will share new highlights every day, so hop on board and let our students show you where they go, what they do, and who they can become during this 50th anniversary of May Program!
May Program, a hallmark of an Oldfields education, began in 1971. The first two abroad trips to Paris and Madrid were designed for our foreign language students. For other students remaining on campus, a wide variety of experiential learning experiences were offered that included everything from Stock Market Practices to Beginning Shorthand. Just like today, they were designed to complement the academic curriculum. Over the years, our students continue to share that May Program was a life-changing experience. The new perspectives they gain and strong friendships that form stay with them long after they leave our campus. From galloping across the plains of Iceland, nailing drywall for local Habitat for Humanity homes, touring the ruins in Pompeii, or learning how to change a tire–it's incredible to think of all the lesson learned, near and far, that our students have enjoyed over the past fifty years.
One of the reasons for the longevity of the program is that each student chooses one of the many diverse programs that interests them the most. A typical year has 20+ programs, but due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, we have eight programs this year, including three programs with overnight stays in Maine, Virginia, and Maryland. Our creative faculty and staff planned some amazing learning experiences all on campus or within driving distance of Oldfields. Click here for descriptions of the 2021 May Programs >
May Program can take students across town, throughout the country, or around the globe, but all involve expanding horizons. The faculty often share a personal passion or area of expertise outside the traditional curriculum, and both teacher and student alike grow from this in-depth, hands-on experience.
Juniors and seniors have the opportunity to design an independent May Program. Working in consultation with a faculty member who serves as her advisor, each girl develops a project that is unique to her. Many students choose to explore areas of college study or a potential career path. Past projects have included working as a veterinary aide, being part of a congressional campaign committee, assisting teachers at an elementary school, and interning in surgical pathology at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
May Program could be considered one of Oldfields’ newer traditions, but it is truly an important and cherished part of an Oldfields education. Girls relish the seriousness of purpose that these real-world experiences add to their high school education. They often discover interests that eventually become careers. It provides an opportunity for self-discovery, leadership, and confidence-building; another step in ensuring each girl’s success.