A Capstone Night of Adventure for Fifth Graders

Grab your sleeping bag, pillow, and your favorite stuffed animal. Why? Because Fifth Grade Adventure Night at MICDS is officially back!

For the first time since 2019, fifth-grade Rams got to embrace our annual tradition of a camping-styled sleepover at school, celebrating community and a wonderful academic year with their teachers and friends. The 2022 Fifth Grade Adventure Night this year was May 12 and students and teachers alike were thrilled to experience it once again. “The very first Fifth Grade Adventure Night was 10 years ago on May 10, 2012,” Christine Mayer, Middle School Fifth Grade Dean & Spanish Teacher said. “At the time, Jen Schuckman, our current Head of Middle School, was a science teacher on the fifth-grade team. She had the vision of an end-of-year capstone outdoor camping experience here on campus. Due to restrictions in Ladue, we were unable to camp outside, so we moved the experience inside and Jen went to work building the structure of the event. The idea of the event was to have the kids take part in interdisciplinary activities, build community, celebrate the students’ hard work during their fifth-grade year, and have some fun!

“When it launched, the event was such a hit with the kids and teachers that we have held Adventure Night ever since. However, due to COVID, we missed 2020 and 2021, but we are back in business! The night was a huge success. After spending an entire school year with the Class of 2029 and seeing their growth, it gave us, the teachers, immense joy to be able to provide this opportunity for the kids. Watching the kids work together to solve problems, socialize, laugh, learn new things, and help one another out brought us a great deal of satisfaction. It was a great night for everyone!”

After school last Thursday, fifth-graders were dropped off at MICDS by 5:30 p.m. and they jumped right into an evening of fun activities. First, students arrived to set up their “campsites” in advisory. After enjoying a barbecue dinner outside, they rotated through a variety of different stations:

  • Building Blocks
  • The Board Game Escape
  • Minute to Win It Games
  • The Drum Circle

Then, they gathered for a pizza party in the MAC Atrium followed by a dance party before it was time to go to sleep. “Lights out!” the teachers called.

The next morning, the fifth graders cleaned up their “campsites” and enjoyed more activities. They had a kickball tournament and spent time in Open Art and the Middle School Makerspace. The overnight fun concluded with a breakfast in advisory where parents and guardians could join. Each fifth-grader wrote a letter for their parents/guardians that they gave during the breakfast. “Compare and contrast your August ‘me’ to your May ‘me,'” Middle School Language Arts Teacher Kathleen Armstrong’s letter prompt stated. Armstrong encouraged students to share how they felt at the start versus the end of the school year. They detailed how their families have helped them grow this year, reflected on favorite memories from their fifth-grade year, and listed what they’ll look forward to in sixth grade. The letter closed with a big thank you to their families.

After all of the fun, a couple of students shared what they thought about Fifth Grade Adventure Night. “I was very pleased with how Adventure Night turned out,” said Timo Finnegan ’29. “It was a lot of fun and interactive. My favorite part from Adventure Night was the Minute to Win It challenges, which were fun little games.”

Veronika Landrum ’29 agreed that it was a fun evening. “I think that Adventure Night is a great experience for all fifth graders. My favorite part of the night was the escape room and the dance party before we went to bed,” she said. “It was a very fun way to be with your friends and take a break off school for a little while.”

The students weren’t the only ones who enjoyed Adventure Night. Dr. Sally Maxwell, Assistant Head of School for Teaching and Learning, attended for the first time and had a wonderful time. “Fifth Grade Adventure Night was such a blast and it is one of the many ways that the MICDS Middle School is a friendship machine,” she said. “And don’t be fooled—the teachers are lovely goofballs who are pretending that they do games, spooky soundtracks, cookouts, art, silly contests, and late-night pizza for the kids’ sake.”

Since that big night of adventure, we hope that all MICDS fifth graders have had plenty of rest, created even more fun memories with their peers, and have been enjoying the remaining couple of weeks of school before starting sixth grade. As one adventure finishes, the next one begins!