Hilltop Scholars Expedition 2011

2011 marks the third anniversary of the Hilltop Scholars Expedition. The expedition allows 32 incoming Hilltop Scholars (in two groups of 16) the opportunity to backpack together for eight days the summer before their first year at SMU. During the eight days, the students not only bond over the trip’s physical challenges, but they also study and implement leadership lessons so that when they arrive on campus, they are ready to take it by storm. Below are excerpts from journals the students kept during the trips.

Building trust and friendship out West

An update from Johnny:

From Dallas to Taos, through the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, and finally up to the summit of Milwaukee Peak, I began my college career alongside 15 other HSP expeditioners in what would become a fantastic experience in which bonds of trust and friendship were born over whistling outdoor stoves, tested through never-ending mountain switchbacks and enjoyed in the shadow of an idyllic American landscape.

Everyone faced trials, but as a team, and with awesome SMU spirit, we overcame and conquered, quite literally, a mountain of a task. Credit must be given to the leaders, who worked and adapted to ensure each and every one of us had a great time, even if it meant detouring hundreds of miles and blazing a brand-new trail. They set a strong precedent of how a proper student, citizen and outdoorsman should handle oneself and taught us lessons that I will hold fast to throughout my collegiate career.

Personally, the trip enabled me to go ahead and make new friends, spark interests I never even knew existed and really have the chance to begin the next four years of my life on a good foot. As a whole, the HSP Expedition was, for lack of more poetic terms, wonderful.

Read about the Hilltop Scholars Expedition in the Weatherford Democrat.

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