Peer leader’s ropes course brushes off its dust after ten years


Shelby Rosen

Sonny Liranzo ’26 and Colin Peterson ’26 reach the top of the high beam element while peer leaders belay, making the obstacle as safe as possible.

Caitlyn Sebastian, Staff Writer

Peer leadership has brought back the high ropes course after 10 years of inactivity. In past years, the peer leaders have only used the lower ropes course elements. Now, peer leadership is able to bring these high elements back due to the course being certified and RJ Bubnowski ’24, a peer leader who is certified to run the high ropes course. After two days of intense safety training with Bubnoski and peer leader advisors, Mrs. Samson and Mr. Kaufman, peer leadership is able to bring this amazing experience to the freshmen.

Mrs. Samson clarifies why the course has not been used for a decade. She explains, “The last time we were able to use it was about 10 years ago, since the old advisor had his certification.”

Thankfully for peer leadership, Bubnowski was certified and trained to run a high ropes course when he was a summer camp counselor, allowing the high elements to be used. With his mentorship, the peer leaders were trained in the proper way to put on a harness and belay. Belaying is the act of applying a force on a climbing rope to counterbalance the climber if or when they fall or get down from the high elements. It is incredibly important to have an experienced belayer when using the course to prevent injuries.

Safety was our top priority when planning this out with Mrs. Samson and Mr. Kaufman,” explains Bubnowski. “I first taught the Peer Leader Board members and advisors on our first night of high elements. While board members belayed, Mrs. Samson, Mr. Kaufman, and I carefully watched to make sure they were belaying correctly. Our second night I took a step back and the board members got to teach the rest of the peer leaders the proper way to belay. They also watched over them like the advisors and I did the week before. After two nights of working with the high elements, peer leaders were comfortable with belaying and familiar with the elements.”

Mrs. Samson is incredibly excited to use the high elements again. She explains, “It is amazing to see the team building skills that come from using the ropes course. It brings a whole new level to the program! We are excited to continue this tradition throughout the coming years.” She further praises Bubnowski, saying “RJ has really stepped up in helping us run the program, and it has changed the program for the better.”

Both peer leaders and freshmen greatly enjoy using the ropes course.

Elizabeth Adee ’23, peer leader of two years and board member, says, “It’s a once in a decade opportunity and I am very happy to be able to share this experience with the freshmen.” She claims that her “favorite ropes course is where you climb a small ladder to a high beam and the only thing holding you up is your partner and two iron wires.

Jack Ecklund ’26, who experienced the high ropes course for the first time, claims, “Doing the course is a lot of fun. It was exhilarating climbing the cargo net.”

Thanks to Bubnowski, peer leadership was able to safely bring back this unique experience.