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Portledge in the Now.

The Blairstown Tradition Continues For The Class Of 2027

by Eden White, Dean of Community Engagement
Long-standing tradition for 9th grade students continues this year. Read more about the upcoming annual trip.
If you are aware of Blairstown, a sprawling educational campsite located approximately 2.5 hours west of Long Island, you may know that it holds a special place in the hearts of every Portledge School's rising 9th-grade class. For over thirty-plus years, the Princeton-Blairstown Center (PBC) has been the backdrop for an extraordinary program designed to provide a meaningful orientation experience for both new and returning students of Portledge embarking on their Upper School journey.

With its 230 acres of pristine lakes, winding trails, and open fields, Blairstown creates an environment where students from diverse backgrounds, schools and locations - (not only across Long Island, but from California, China and Japan!) come together with the goal of forming long-lasting Portledge connections.

Through a myriad of team-building exercises, challenges, outdoor adventures, and activities, students not only develop valuable life skills through the lens of the Portledge Pillars of Kindness, Honor, Purpose, and Respect, but also forge deep bonds with their peers and the faculty members who accompany them as a result. 

From tackling high ropes courses and conquering rock-climbing walls to engaging in the peaceful exploration of fishing, kayaking, and an evening of star-gazing, our students will experience the great outdoors, free from the distraction of technology. They will engage in thought-provoking discussions, oftentimes stepping out of their comfort zones, pushing their limits, and embracing the unknown. A highlight for all is the final evening, which is highlighted by the student talent show, a highly anticipated event filled with song, comedy, and overflowing laughter and support for one another. 

Blairstown holds a profound significance to Portledge School's community. It is a rite of passage, marking the beginning of a new and exciting journey where students and faculty create the beginning of an inclusive and supportive environment with one another. The shared experiences and memories forged at Blairstown lay a foundation for lifelong friendships and foster a strong sense of belonging and confidence within the Portledge community.

Blairstown stands as a cherished tradition and a testament to the power of bonding and connection. This year from September 20th to the 22nd, we look forward once again to inspiring and shaping the lives of each student who walks the Blairstown trails, igniting a spirit of adventure, resilience, and lifelong learning that will guide them through their Upper School years and beyond!  We can’t wait to share this indelible experience with the Class of 2027. We know that they will build on and share in these wonderful memories as much as we do!
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