Igniting passions and fostering community spirit


Students pose for a photo during DC Sports Appreciation Minimester

Experiential and service learning combine in a dynamic, two-day adventure for Middle School boys.  

During Mini-Mester, students delve into unique faculty-designed programs that explore a wide variety of interests and subjects while taking advantage of the tremendous resources in the greater Washington, D.C., area. Options for the boys ranged from making their own ice cream and repairing bicycles, to visiting the United States Naval Academy and cleaning the shoreline of Terrapin State Park. 

Students pose for a photo during 2024 Minimester

“Community service is helpful, and it benefits other people, and I like helping people honestly. It’s also fun to do,” said Tripp ’29. 

Head of Middle School Erin Duffy explained these trips give students an opportunity to learn more about the world around them, address real-world challenges in our area, and see themselves as having a positive impact.   

Duffy joined forces with Lower and Middle School Counselor Adam Diaz for the “Children, Families, Careers and the Law” Mini-Mester, one of 12 offerings for the boys

Students and faculty pose for a photo during Children, Families, Careers, and the Law Minimester

Students who are interested in learning about the legal system and social justice met with the Honorable Judge Karla Smith P ’26 ’23 ’21, observed juvenile court proceedings, and spoke with Public Defenders and family advocates. They then volunteered with the National Center for Children and Families, which supports local children and families as they face challenges born of systemic discrimination and inequity.   

Students participate in the Children, Families, Careers, and the Law Minimester

“Children are powerful, they are able to affect change, they are able to positively affect the world around them,” said Duffy. 

On the first day of the “Communal Kitchen” Mini-Mester, students traveled to Baltimore for a behind-the-scenes tour of the National Aquarium and an in-depth look at how the staff procures, processes, and delivers the thousands of pounds of food that the aquarium creatures consume each day.  

Students get a behind the scenes tour of the aquarium

On the second day, they spent the morning in Washington, D.C., volunteering with Food and Friends.  

“We hope that our boys understood the value of an experiential learning opportunity where they were not only getting to see kitchens and restaurants behind the scenes, but also to experience the power of giving back to our local community so that others may have food security.” said Middle School Math Teacher Oliver Macklin. 

"We had this amazing experience at the aquarium, then we got to give back to the community, and it just makes you feel good that you’re helping people who can’t really help themselves,” said Aidan ’28. “I’ve done a little bit of community service before. This made me want to volunteer more.” 

Students pose for a photo during the Communal Kitchen Minimester

In the “D.C. Sports Appreciation” Mini-Mester, students engaged in discussions about the state of sports in the region, from professional teams to grassroots initiatives. The highlight of the first day was a visit to Capital One Arena. Students had an exclusive tour of the Wizards' side of the facilities thanks to Charles Branche ’16, who works for Monumental Sports.  

Students get a behind the scenes tour of Capital One Arena

On their second day, the group volunteered at Leveling the Playing Field, a local non-profit that collects and distributes gently used sporting equipment.  

“A day of giving back to the community was a great way to follow up our first day of privilege and access,” said Sean Nolan, Middle School Visual Arts and STEM Teacher. 

Students volunteer during DC Sports Appreciation Minimester

Opening week in the Middle School also had a community service component. Duffy said it’s about living Landon’s Mission. 

“We challenge and inspire them to think deeply, individually, and broadly; to live with respect and honor; and to grow into healthy, well-rounded men of integrity and character who seek to make a positive difference in the world around them,” said Duffy.  

The Middle School partnered with the following organizations during Mini-Mester: National Center for Children and Families, Leveling the Playing Field, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Bikes for the World, Gettysburg National Battlefield Rehabilitation, Food and Friends, John S. Mullholland Family Foundation, Unity Healthcare, and various Montgomery Parks for park cleanups. 

Students pose for a photo during the Big City / Small Trees minimester

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