ETS Fling 2010
For complete pictures, click on the days below.
Many thanks to our wonderful photo-journalist, Miss Katherine Kuznitz, whose wonderful eye and keen powers of social observation have created this very fine collection of pictures whose main purpose is to repackage four days of intense fellowship into a parade of images that recollect pleasure through the quiet contemplation of remembrance. May we all grow more gentle towards one another through remembering each other fondly.
For a narrative of all five days, please see below for Alyssa Carr's account.
by Alyssa Carr
The first day of the Spring Fling! After two days of pre-Fling events—a lovely tour of the Getty Villa on Monday and paper presentations and the fancy GBT V dinner on Tuesday—the Fling had finally arrived. The fun and excitement had started, but there was more to come—much more!
Mr. Hinrichs started with introductions and greetings, and gave everyone specific instructions regarding such things as tempting fruit and backyard boundaries, as well as the codes of behavior for the rest of the week. Then after we took a walk around the Hinrichs’ grounds for the grand tour we started with our first event—a bit of a nerve-racking one: the name game. We gathered in a huge circle that took up almost the entire croquet lawn. Evan. Evan Evangeline. Evan Evaneline Josh. Evan Evangeline Josh…(etc) all the way around the entire circle. When we had finished, Mr. Hinrichs led everyone in a few rounds of the Greek Alphabet song, “Alfa, Bhta...” which we would need to know in order to eat lunch, and then we all squeezed on to the front steps of the hall for the group picture. Next, it was time to listen to the first paper presentation of the Fling: “The Divine Ultimatum” by Matt Nunez regarding the controversial topic of predestination and free will in salvation. Rapid, intense questioning was still in full swing by the time Mr. Hinrichs announced that it was lunchtime. We were met with tables brimming full of delicious food. (If you said your Greek correctly, that is. Otherwise, not quite so brimming…) During lunch everyone went their own way: playing sports, chatting on the lawn, or, in my case—along with about twenty others—practicing scenes for the Fling play. Our practice was interrupted for a short time in order to announce Kylie Henson the first place winner for the baking conquiz. At around 2:00, Mr. Hinrichs called us all in for singing practice, and we worked on the old favorites: Dies Irae, Fairest Lord Jesus, Jubilate Deo etc, and for an hour the sounds of beautiful music and voices drifted from the hall. Soon, other, different sounds were filling the hall—the sounds of voices reasoning, persuading, questioning, and dissenting—in short, a debate. The topic was a familiar one to us from our GBT 1 readings: “Creon’s actions regarding the body of Polynices were wholly unjust and indicative of the tyrannical abuse of his office.” We were split into Pros and Cons and were told to form arguments that would hopefully persuade the GBT V “jury” to vote in our favor. There were speeches made on both sides and then the “stand and shoot” which soon became very animated. Finally, we sat quietly and watched the GBT V jury discuss the arguments put forward, vote, discuss more, vote, discuss even more and vote some more, and finally, finish with a (somewhat reluctant) unanimous vote in favor of the Cons. Everyone dispersed for dinner. The last event of the day was dance practice. I can still see the last streams of golden sunlight flickering over laughing faces and stamping feet as we danced and danced; the breeze seemed to send all the oak trees around us dancing too—as if they just had to join in all that wonderful fun!
After our morning Snickers throw in which Mr. Hinrichs quizzed our memories on particulars from our readings, paper presentations began, with the general topic of “The State.” First, John Michael La Salle presented his paper, “The Purpose of Government;” next was Zach Johnson, presenting “An Imposition of the Philosophical,” and finally Abbey Cook and her paper, “The Spiritual Side of Wealth and Riches.” By the time these papers were finished, it was time to eat. The lunch line had clusters of nervous students whispering such familiar Greek phrases and meanings as “the geometer may not enter” and “know yourself.” After lunch, we had another singing session, which was followed with a new tradition, a “Contemplation of Gratitude.” Mr. Hinrichs told us that just as someone who has arrived home safe from a long and eventful journey gives thanks to God, so he wanted to give thanks. He said many things, but something that has stayed in my memory was his thanks to all of his students and their families, for their character and continued interest to learn in a such a setting that he has offered, as it is for that reason that he is able to continue to do what he does—and that otherwise, most of what GBT is would be impossible. Mr. Hinrichs was followed by his niece, Autumn, who related her college experience to us and told us of the classes she was starting as a supplement to Great Books. The next event was one that has been received with mixed emotions—the Septathalon. Namely, a sports event (“sports” is perhaps a loose definition) composed of basketball, volleyball, croquet, badminton, Lego building, interpretive dance, and garden chess. The catch is, that in front of all, and inverse to dancing, or backwards, or inside out—however you think of it—the girl must ask a guy to be her partner for this particular event, making it complete with the typical emotions of dread, embarrassment and suspense. However, at the end it is the girl who is proclaimed victorious and given the costly trophy. For this Septathalon, Kylie Henson (and Nathan Henson) claimed the victory. Finally, after dinner we spread out our blankets and chairs on the lawn and sat back to watch Lady Jane, the romantic and heroically tragic story of the young girl who was the Queen of England for only nine short days. We had discussion afterwards, and then, sleepily gathered our things, which were very wet with dew, and headed home till the next day.
We started with the Snickers throw again, and then moved on to another round of interesting paper presentations surrounding the concept of “Faith.” First was Meghan O’Brien on “The Nature of Faith,” after that was Ashley Atkinson and her paper “The Sun,” and finally Zack Lucia, who presented “The Myth of the Looking Glass.” Lunch followed, as well as the Greek phrases (which we went over between paper presentations). People soon began to leave to get ready for the Fling Ball later that evening, except for those of us in the play. We went through the whole performance in order that we would be ready for Saturday night. After our free afternoon, everyone began to arrive at the Hinrichs’ again as the evening drew towards 7:00. Seeing people on the evening of the Fling Ball is almost like walking into a room that was once full of caterpillars and is now full of butterflies; there were men and boys in smart suits and ties, girls fresh and lovely in evening gowns and everyone with eyes bright and shining. At around 7:00 we formed the familiar circle, and each family was formally introduced. Mr. and Mrs. Hinrichs gave their traditional ‘Exhortation to Young Men and Young Ladies,’ and then everyone found a partner for the Grand March. We marched up and down and around and around the Hinrichs’ property, while we talked and laughed to the stimulating sounds of Kanan’s drum and Scott Conner’s bagpipe. After a few more English dances, we attempted some Greek dances. And while we mostly mastered the steps, we often ended up simply kicking and hopping and tripping! Swing was next, and after that we finished the day with song.
“…Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.”
The last day of the Fling was a full day. We started it with another Snickers throw, and then the last GBT V papers were presented; they pertained to the thought-provoking and applicable topic of “Purpose.” Katherine Kuznitz’ paper was “Fate and Destiny Applied to the Christian Life;” Emily Bell presented her paper on “The Final Judgment,” and Emily Uhland spoke regarding “War, Passion, and Peace.” As usual we went over the Greek phrases between papers and were ready for the quizzing before lunch.
We had the last run-through for the play, and then Mr. Hinrichs ran the bell to signal the start of the Fling Recital. Mr. Hinrichs and his boys performed a few pieces, then the local GBT choir, along with some hymns bluegrass style, and ‘Great Books rap.’ For the next two and a half hours, constant and melodious music issued from the airy hall, and performances styles ranged from Beethoven to Opera, Victor Borge and the Hammer Dulcimer. Dinner followed, and then the play. Before the play, however, as a result of it still being light, Mr. Hinrichs gave his final farewell and encouragement to his sixth graduating GBT V class. Each student was given a token as a way to remember what they had learned throughout Great Books—a beautifully carved wood box, crafted with much care by Mr. Kuznitz and Mr. Carr and containing without and within reminders and lessons to be remembered. Many of the students’ eyes (and many of the students’ parents and friends!) were shining with tears. By now it was getting dark, and the play began. The Fling play this year was not the same as years before; other years Mrs. Helland wrote a script from literature like the Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis or The Clouds by Aristophanes. This year’s play was actually the paper presentation of Grace Lambert and Hannah Foster; they wrote it, and narrated it, and afterwards, lead the discussion. The play was The Door of Truth: A GBT Tale. In the play, students “in GBT” met the authors they were reading face to face, in a search to find the Truth. Students met Athena and Apollo, Lucretius, Pascal, Aristotle, Don Quixote, Anselm and Luther. They seemed to find so many ways to open the Door of Truth and see God, yet in the end, all those men could only help them find the way, and the students found that only Christ could truly open the Door of Truth for He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
I want to thank everyone for making the Fling so wonderful, meaningful and memorable! Thanks to all those not-so-noticed helpers, parents and especially Mr. and Mrs. Hinrichs, who are so giving in allowing so many people to come and practically take over their backyard as well as for all of their time and effort in making the Fling possible!!!