Busy Bees: Students from the Hive Get Their First Rock Climbing Experience.

Ms.Vercellino, shown above instructs a student on the basics of rock climbing.

(Felicia Abbass)

Ms.Vercellino, shown above instructs a student on the basics of rock climbing.

Felicia Abbass, Staff Writer

Have you ever wanted to feel like you were on top of the world? Or merely even feel like flying for just a couple of seconds? Well, the students and Staff from Saint Benedict’s Preparatory were definitely flying from rocks on October 14th at Method Rock Climbing Gym in Downtown Newark. Ms. Lana Vercellino and Ms. Paulette Anderson-Spence organized a Rock climbing day for the students to expose them to rock climbing as a future activity and sport. Fourteen students joyously walked deeper down Newark along with Mr. Daniel Kane ’03 and Mr. Brian Delaney ‘02.

Method rock climbing is an up-and-coming rock climbing center in Downtown Newark. It has an indoor gym and three-part bouldering walls for all to challenge themselves and/or face their fear of heights. People who train to be professional rock climbers go there as well and bonding relationships grow because everyone is like family; all helping each other to be stronger climbers.

Upon arrival, the group was welcomed to the sweet smell of brewed coffee and treated by the eclectic coffee shop. Heading down into the basement of the building, they were greeted with the vibrant colors of the immersive rock walls.
From walls 30 feet high for rope climbing to 15-foot bouldering walls, the gym caters to all skill levels. The staff greeted students warmly and guided them to the training area, teaching them the basics.
Immediately, the students took to the walls yelling words of encouragement to help the others persevere to the top nob.

Lana Vercellino, rock climbing enthusiast and a history teacher for the Girls Prep Division at St. Benedict’s has been a part of the Method Climbing community for six months. Vercellino was able to help coach students in the proper techniques to climb safely and efficiently. “I loved it! I was in my element; It’s one of my favorite spaces…Seeing the looks of the students and the energy they were transmitting…Even seeing kids and how they were struggling and being challenged and then watching the ways in which each student interacted with each other and cheered each other on…it was exciting!’’ Vercellino exclaims.

Gray Bees pose for a picture before heading out of the Method Climbing Facility.

“It was difficult…Rock climbing was a new experience; I felt like I was trying something different, so I felt a little out of place, so my teacher, Ms. Vercellino…taught me how to…navigate my way through the rocks…It was overall fun,” Rachel Toress (FY) said enthusiastically with a bright smile.

Keisnalall Garib (UD2), stated,” I enjoyed it very much…I think they did very well at putting rock climbing out there as a sport, and hopefully, this is a new stepping stone for us to…jumpstart rock climbing as an activity.”

“Traditionally, rock climbing is not the most inclusive in terms of demographics…So getting to expose the kids to something they may not otherwise have access to is really great. It’s another form of fitness that they may not be able to regularly access.” Delaney notes.
Many students didn’t know there was a rock climbing facility in Newark, so being able to go there and experience rock climbing was a gratifying experience.
“It provided me a deep sense of gratefulness and peace knowing that in some way, shape, or form, I’m beginning to build a community not just within a classroom, but also doing something that I hold very dear…The reason why I would want to make rock climbing an activity here is, first and foremost, it’s [an activity] for both genders… Adding rock climbing as a club… can also give St. Benedict’s students the opportunity to participate in a sport that is individual and not team based for the first time.” Vercellino added.

Even the quietest students lit up. Everyone supported each other, even if they didn’t know one another initially. Fellow classmates had grit and stamina when taking charge of the wall and climbing to the top despite fear. Rock climbing becoming a St. Benedict’s activity in the future could unite both Divisions. This activity allows students to do something they may have never experienced or even known of.