The Athenian Wilderness Experience (AWE
) is a 26-day wilderness backpacking course for students in their junior year and is a graduation requirement of all students. Students attend either the spring Death Valley course in the Panamint Range of Death Valley National Park or the summer High Sierra course in the Sierra Nevada high country in Yosemite National Park.
Within the context of a rigorous backpacking expedition, we encourage an appreciation of the natural world, self-awareness, and positive community participation. Students focus on promoting leadership and fellowship abilities, improving physical well-being, recognizing and acting upon individual strengths and weaknesses, and appreciating and care-taking the natural environment. Opportunities abound to develop human interactive skills by sharing responsibilities, making group decisions, taking care of one another, and realizing personal potential.
AWE is a dynamic and concentrated reflection of The Athenian School’s values and mission without the insulation provided by the amenities, complications and diversions of daily routines. Students and parents that choose to enroll in the Athenian Upper School are thereby choosing to participate in this challenging and unique program.