Fall Forum Day 2021

After over a year of online school due to COVID-19, forums finally gathered on Oct. 1 for Forum Day. Most activities were outside for COVID safety. Students relaxed and bonded at rivers, parks and orchards while eating and playing games. Read on to learn more about what some forums did during their day and how students attending felt.

Anderson Forum by Natalie Mycek-Card and Elijah Klein

From kayaking the Huron River rapids to playing cards and talking together, the Anderson Forum Day was jam-packed with quality time and forum bonding. Bright and early, the Anderson forum departed from CHS and trekked to the Argo livery. There, they boarded kayaks and paddled down the river. They ended their trip at the Gallop livery, where they ate pizza and played games.

For a lot of Anderson forum members, this trip was about more than just having fun and getting outside. After not being able to see each other in person for over a year, Forum Day provided a chance to create new connections. Leah van der Velde, a senior in the Anderson forum, expressed how important forming bonds on Forum Day is. “I've been feeling guilty about not reaching out to the younger kids in the forum,” van der Velde said. “I wanted this forum trip to be for them what it was for me my freshman year, which was a really nice bonding moment. So, I played BS with a couple of underclassmen and I think that it was a good experience for all of us. I hope it made them feel more welcomed into the forum.”

Brent Forum - Abbi Bachman

The Brent Forum began their Forum Day with the movie “It,” playing on the whiteboard in celebration of the first day of October. The movie was meant to be entertainment while they waited to leave for Washtenaw Dairy at 10 a.m., but once it was time to depart, thirty minutes of the movie remained. The class insisted on finishing the film.

Afterwards, they walked to Washtenaw Dairy, where they found a chalkboard set outside displaying a message: “Welcome Community High Brent Forum.” Taking turns going inside, the forum ordered donuts and ice cream to eat at the picnic tables.

Following many donuts, the forum made the short walk to Wurster Park for an intense game of capture the flag. Two leaders were picked, and teams were chosen. Using party streamers as accessories to show which team players were on — purple or red —the game began. Becky Brent was soon inundated with requests for jailbreaks. After stealing the purple bandana from the purple team, the red team was declared victorious.

“I was almost crushed by a tree branch,” said Eva Beals, a sophomore. “And then I quit and my team lost but I didn’t really care.”

Back at Community, the forum’s room was embellished with a red and black poker theme, and the forumettes played board and card games. This was sophomore Parker Haymart's favorite part:

“I liked how it let me get to know the people in my forum more, and how chill it was,” Haymart said.

When thinking about upcoming Forum Days, the Brent Forum is very excited.

“I think they are a great way to relieve stress; I really needed it,” Beals said. “Just taking a break from school and all the work, having a day off to hang out with friends and go outside is really nice.”

“I am excited for all the cool things Forum days will be able to do once COVID-19 is less of an issue,” Haymart said. “Events that happen overnight, like camping and school lock-ins, as well as events that you have to travel to, like cider mills, metro parks, shopping malls, and other things!”

Mankad Forum by Arista Luong

The Mankad forum started its CHS Forum Day at 10 a.m. on Oct. 1 by walking to the Diag for a unique scavenger hunt. Instead of finding or collecting objects or places, forumettes were challenged to take pictures doing odd things. Some of the tasks included taking pictures in a reflection that wasn't a mirror, showing off a unique talent and reenacting a movie scene.

“One of the challenges was to follow a random stranger, so Aramis chased this random guy who was going on a run with his dog,” Kevin Dutton, a forum member, said. “Then, Hannah asked random people to be in our photos, so that was pretty eventful.”

After running around the U.M. campus, students picked up lunch from a place of their choice and reconvened in the Diag to eat together. The Mankad forum then walked back to CHS’s front lawn to take forum pictures.

Maneesha Mankad, forum leader, surprised her forumettes with assorted desserts from Panera to enjoy while they watched the 1986 film, The Labyrinth. The day concluded with a group clean-up session to return Mankad’s classroom to its former state of cleanliness.

Hamstra Forum by Hannah Rubenstein, Luka Galle, Charlie Rosenfeld, Ruth Shikanov and Sebastian Oliva

On Friday, Oct. 1, at 10 a.m., the Hamstra Forum arrived in room 305 at CHS, ready for an eventful Forum Day. The day consisted of a short walk down to Argo Canoe Livery, a kayak excursion to Gallop Park, a city bus ride back to school, pizza on the front lawn and board games.

Elijah Lynn, a senior, fell into the Huron River three times. “I’m never going kayaking again,” Lynn said. It was his first time kayaking.

Elijah Lawler, a freshman, shared Lynn’s feelings on kayaking. He fell in along with forum leader Emma Hamstra.

“Every time I step, I have bubbles in my shoes,” Lawler said. He was soaking from head to toe.

After a slight detour on the wrong Ann Arbor Transit Authority bus, the forum made it back to CHS. They finished their afternoon by having pizza and enjoying time relaxing on the front lawn with their forumettes.

Margaret Alpern, a junior in the forum, wasn’t close with many forumettes before their day together. “I think today brought us a lot closer and I now know people a lot more,” Alpern said.

Landrum Forum by Scarlett London

Lauren MacNeil can’t remember what she ate for lunch but remembers it was delicious.

“I got hummus and something else,” MacNeil said. “I don’t know, but I highly recommend it.”

The Landrum Forum spent their forum day all around the town, exploring different stores, parks and lunching at Jerusalem Garden.

“First, we watched Knives Out,” MacNeil said. “But I only saw the last 20 minutes because I got there late.”

Once all the forumettes arrived, the forum walked together to Wheeler park and played some lawn games.

“We played a balloon popping game, which is like tag, but all of our balloons were just not staying inflated,” MacNeil said. “They kept popping every time they touched the wet grass. We also played ‘Steal the Bacon,’ which is kind of like capture the flag. It got really intense. People were falling everywhere.”

The forum then left Wheeler Park, but not before playing a very competitive game of poison dart frog.

“After lunch, we went to Rocket Fizz, the new candy store downtown,” MacNeil said. “It was kind of overwhelming because it isn’t super organized. There is just a bunch of candy and drinks everywhere. I only got milk duds. The employees were amazing though; they were so nice and welcoming and funny.”

Afterward, the Landrum Forum could be found walking around, sitting on the sidewalk or on benches in Kerrytown, their hands filled with sweets and their tongues dyed blue.

“I really enjoyed forum day,” MacNeil said. “It was super fun to bond with my forum and hang out with people I didn’t know very well before.”

Hechler Forum - Lila Fetter

The sweet aroma of maple syrup and pancake batter filled the air of room 213 on Oct. 1. The Hechler Forum was enjoying each other's company over brunch they had prepared themselves. It consisted of pancakes, eggs, bacon, fruit, banana bread, muffins and orange juice. Students also played board games, from The Princess Bride board game to Redneck Life.

After a leisurely meal, Sarah Hechler’s forumettes settled into their murder mystery game. Each student was assigned a character, and they dressed up in a costume to match. Each round revealed new information about the suspect, with the cupcake chef being the eventual culprit.

To finish off the day, they indulged in a fall treat of apple cider and donuts. Matthew Gallego-Strasma, a sophomore in the Hechler forum, had a lovely time.

“I got to know people a bit better that I had never really met before,” Gallego-Strasma said.

J. Johnson Forum by Maggie Wolf

The Janelle Johnson forum started its first forum day of the year at Community. Gathered in room 315 with snacks and cider, forum members organized a competitive game of cards.

Mao is a game very similar to Uno, in which players take turns putting down cards in the center of the table. However, there is a fun twist involving special rules known only to those familiar with the game. Gaby Adams, a senior in the J. Johnson forum, highlights Mao as her favorite part of the day.

“I didn't know how to play, and that made it fun,” Adams said.

After a few rounds of Mao, a competitive game of BS, and hide-and-seek throughout the building, the J. Johnson forum took a trip down to State Street. In the diag, juniors and seniors organized a whole-forum game of capture the flag. Racing to capture the other team’s hidden sweatshirt, forum members had a great time competing against each other and enjoying the outdoors.

​​”[My favorite part was] capture the flag,” said Michael Gronewald, a CHS sophomore. “It was really fun and competitive.”

Hunscher-Young Forum by Rita Ionides

For forum day, the Hunscher-Young forum stayed close to Community and spent the day exploring downtown Ann Arbor. The group began the day with brunch on the Diag, eating food from Panera and local favorite Amer’s Deli. From there, the forum made several stops around downtown, wandering together across campus. Students particularly enjoyed spinning ‘The Cube’ by the Michigan Union, getting boba from Quickly Tea, and thoroughly evaluating the candy section at the new downtown Target. Afterward, the forum capped off their day with a viewing of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings at the Michigan Theater.

M. Johnson Forum by Felicity Rosa-Davies

On Oct.1, the M. Johnson Forum kicked off their fall-themed Forum Day by carving pumpkins and jamming out to 70’s music. They enjoyed fall treats including apple cider, donuts and Halloween Oreos. Those who got creative with their pumpkins went way out of the box. From broken popsicle sticks for sharpened teeth to using a Halloween Oreo as a pumpkin’s nose the possibilities were limitless.

After showing off their pumpkins to one another, the M. Johnson Forum began their walk to Wurster Park for lunch. Students ate Cottage Inn pizza and chatted before playing games on the playground and soccer in the sun.

The M. Johnson Forum wrapped up the first part of their day by taking a quick walk to Washtenaw Dairy, a few blocks away from Wurster Park. They bonded over mutual loves of lemon custard, root beer floats and cold bottles of Snapple.

But the day wasn’t over yet; later that night, most members of the forum met at Dexter’s Blast Corn Maze to try their hand at the werewolf-shaped corn maze. Some were more successful in solving the maze than others, but everyone came together for a myriad of treats and goodies: donuts, caramel apples, popcorn, gourds and pictures to commemorate the night.

Miles McDonald, a sophomore in the M. Johnson forum, had a great time at his first in-person Forum Day.

“I thought it was fun getting closer with the kids in our forum,” McDonald said. “It feels weird being able to do stuff with other people in a large group in person. But it's really nice, and I’ve missed doing stuff like this.”

Kilgore Forum by Sana Schaden

Kilgore Forum kicked off the day with a showing of Supermarket Sweep. After forumettes had arrived they started walking to the Nickel’s Arboretum for a few rounds of Mafia followed by some Capture the Flag. Community freshman, Violet Knyal was able to work well with her team and get to know new people. She also participated in the Kilgore forum pumpkin carving competition.

“The fish [pumkin] won,” Knyal said. “It was like the most creative one there, which is funny.”

Knyal was not close friends with many people in the forum before this day. She used the forum pizza party as an opportunity to meet new people.

“I got to them [other forum members] better,” Knyal said. “Now I can actually say high to them in the halls.”

Knyal even made her own contribution to the forum by baking cupcakes for everyone.

“I made them the night before, it took me three hours,” Knyal said.

Root Forum by McKenna Duman

On Oct. 1st, 2021, the Root Forum gathered at Wiard’s Apple Orchard in Ypsilanti, Mich. Once everyone had met up and gone in, they started the day with a hayride, going through the woods and seeing all of the Halloween decorations Wiard’s had put up.

Their next activity of the day after the hayride was freshman initiation through a game of Psychiatrist. All of the freshmen sat on a blanket in the middle of a circle, and everyone else stood in a circle around them. Then, the freshmen had to figure out and “diagnose” what everyone in the outside circle.

After Psychiatrist, the group split up and went and did some of the other activities Wiard’s had to offer; many started by going and conquering the Corn Maze and then testing out the Alpine Slides. There was also a mini-golf golf course, a country store, and pumpkin painting.

Sofia Stern-Koreck, a sophomore in the Root forum, really enjoyed the bonding time with the forum. “I really like just being able to kind of hang out with the people that I'll be kind of with for the next couple years, exclusively,” Stern-Koreck said. “I just kind of liked hanging out with my forumettes and like being able to go to Wiard's. That was fun.”

Yager Forum by Morgan McClease and Izzy Jacob

On Friday, Oct 1st, the Yager forum started their day in Michelle’s room. Around 15 minutes later, the forum started to make its way to the first stop of the day.

“We explored the hands-on museum for nostalgia purposes,” said Anya Knoepp, a sophomore in the Yager forum.

After exploring the new exhibits and reminiscing about the old ones, Yager forum walked to West Park. At the park, the forum had a competition on the mini carousel seeing who could stay on the longest resulting in some very nauseous forumettes. Some also played a game of football. Soon after, they feasted on Costco pizza and bonded while swinging on swings and sitting on the playground structure.

Finally, they headed back to room 311 and shared what their favorite parts of the day had been.

“My favorite part was bonding with my forum,” said Amani Simwenyi, a freshman in the forum.

The Whiteside Forum came together for a tea party at West Park. Students brought donuts, madeleines, cupcakes and plenty of tea.

Whiteside forumettes spent their time sword-fighting, watching fish in the pond and rolling down hills.