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Casco Bay Quest

School: Casco Bay High School

City/State: Portland, ME

Grade(s): 9, 12

Format(s): Journal

Subject(s): English Language Arts

Project Overview

Casco Bay Quest is an adventure-based, cultural kick-off for freshman and seniors at Casco Bay High School in Portland Maine. This book is a collection of reflective essays, poetry, letters and journal entries completed during the quests.

For freshman, the quest consists of a 4-day trip to Cow Island in Casco Bay. The trip is the kick-off event to an expedition based on the question “What makes a successful community?” The Cow Island adventure is designed to orient freshmen to one another, their advisory groups, EL Education and the possibilities of their high school years.  Freshmen learn outdoor living skills and participate in group initiatives and writing exercises that explore the overarching question. 

For seniors, the quest is a 4-day sea kayaking expedition on Casco Bay. It is the launching point for a yearlong humanities course, which focuses on students successfully completing 1) the college application process and 2) a senior project. During the quest, seniors write a letter to the freshman, providing advice about how to make the best use of their high school years.

Back at school, the freshmen interview the senior who wrote them their letter. Ultimately, they extract wisdom from these interviews when synthesizing their learnings about what makes a successful community.

Casco Bay High School partnered with Rippleffect, an adventure-based learning program, and a nonprofit writing center called the Telling Room on this expedition. This book was put together and published by the Telling Room. 

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Builds a strong sense of community and crew
  • Helps students develop a understanding of the school’s values
  • Empowers senior students as leaders and role models of the school
  • Orients senior students towards college and independent learning
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