Learning Character from Brooklyn, NY to Woodstock, CT: Hyde 5th Graders Team Up with Their Sister School Mentors

Through the Hyde Foundation, 57 fifth-graders from Hyde Leadership Charter School in Brooklyn, NY, visited the Hyde-Woodstock community for a special overnight “senior trip” September 25-26. Six of their teachers accompanied them for the first-ever exchange between the two sister schools.

The Hyde-Brooklyn students are the top class in their K-5 school. Visiting Woodstock was their first experience on the boarding school campus.

The purpose of this exchange is to expand the horizons of all Hyde students. Hyde Foundation president Joanne Goubourn said, “Our vision is to facilitate more opportunities for our public and private school students to engage in the Hyde process together.”

Each young Brooklyn student on campus was paired with a Woodstock mentor. Together, the mentor and mentee students attended class, joined sports practices, shared an art project about strengths and struggles, and formed meaningful friendships.

Highlights for the Brooklyn students included participating in sports, enjoying meals in the Dining Hall, and for the girls: experiencing dorm life.

Reflecting on some of the lessons learned during their trip, the Brooklyn students said:

  • “I learned to have more confidence in myself.”
  • “I learned I could make new friends.”
  • “I learned I have courage to do new things – like stand on a stage in front of a lot of people.”
  • “I learned I could do something even if I don’t want to do it.”
  • “I learned and grew by experiencing a lot of challenges.”

Like their mentees, the Woodstock mentors expressed their appreciation for the trip. Damon Gomes ’15 said he learned a lot from the experience with his Brooklyn mentee: “He opened up to me, and we became close,” said Gomes. “I helped him with his confidence. He said he has a hard time with friendships, and we talked about that a lot. We’re going to stay connected. I’m seen as the baby in my family, so this experience gave me a chance to be the big brother, and I liked that. It helped me to open up more and share myself.”

Harrison Smith ’15 said, “This was a great new experience for Hyde. I hope this becomes a tradition,” and Jimmy Murphy, a post graduate new to the Hyde community, said, “It was amazing to see these kids so happy to be here, because it goes to show what Hyde means to certain people.”

According to Brooklyn native Kris Carroll ’16, “Brooklyn breeds the best kids,” and the Woodstock community was impressed with the maturity, curiosity, and courage of the Hyde fifth graders.

The trip spotlighted Hyde leaders and learners at their best, and it displayed the growing impact of the Hyde family and its principles.

You can see photos from the Brooklyn Visit HERE.