The following, originally posted on May 30, 2016, is our annual ode to the longtime tradition of Fair Haven sixth graders camping and learning at Stokes State Forrest. Take a trip back with us again. Remember?
It’s that time of the year when Fair Haven schools tradition takes hold and all good Knollwood sixth graders go on their trip to Stokes State Forrest. The buses rolled back into town at about 3:30 today. Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the most wonderful time of the year for those sixth graders. Wow.
Half a century of Stokes! Today marks the milestone for Fair Haven students, parents and Knollwood School staff.
They’re homeward bound, satiated with 50 years of it all.
Some stalwart traditions have changed in the evolution of the trip, but one thing has remained the same — lifetime connections forged and pranks aplenty pulled.
One such classic story is that of Knollwood teacher and Stokes organizer Andy Dougherty and Jenny Jones Costello.
The two grew up as Fair Haven neighbors whose parents were best buds. They, of course, went to Stokes in the 80s. They forged a friendship, as their siblings also did, from the time they were babies. And they were mighty cute babies, as only their babysitter would know for sure (ahem). Call it another kind of family tie. Best of neighbors and second string siblings. It all started more than 40 years ago.
They both graduated from RFH. Still on the block. They spread their wings and flew the neighborhood coop for a bit. Eventually Andy ended up becoming a teacher at the very same school, though not on the block where his parents stayed until they passed away. Jenny and her family ended up back on the same block.
She ended up volunteering year after year to be a parent counselor at the camp. And, two of her children have already been indoctrinated into the Stokes tradition. Andy has become an anchor in the annual trip.
This year, Jenny was back for the 50th with her son Nick, like Mom, a pretty happy camper.
The kids have their own little pranks going on at Stokes. Hey, it’s a tradition. We’ll just pretend for now that such things no longer happen with the young ones. But, since the statute of limitations is up for the “elders,” or something like that, they got right back to it.
In the interest of keeping with tradition, Andy and Jenny revisited an old prank. It all has something to do with a swim suit and a case of botched identity … or not, Doug Herty. And laughs. Lots of laughs.
Hey, that’s what friends and Stokes are for!
So, raise some frozen underwear up the flagpole, put some itching powder in a sleeping bag (well, maybe not) and remember the good ol’ days. Tradition!