For decades Mount St. Joseph Academy has been a reliable path to success in higher education. The rock climbing team has taken this all too literally.
MSJ Junior Ezra Robichaud has found the rock climbing team to be a great addition to his high school and educational experience. Ezra is also a member of the MSJ ski team.
“It’s a really great sport for anyone to do because it is relaxing, but also competitive. You get a lot of time to explore and process things in your brain,” Ezra said.
Despite being one of MSJ’s newest teams, the climbers quickly became competitive in their first season last school year. Rock climbing is a team sport that is scored on the honor system. Members from competing schools each have a “climbing buddy” that they pair with during competition. Ezra said the honor-system scoring helps to build character.
Ezra competes in a variety of sports at MSJ, including skiing, soccer, and tennis. He said the rock climbing team stands out to him for the closeness of his teammates.
During the 18-19 school year, the team is a small group featuring four members - Ezra, Huy Chu, Roahan McGee, and William Li. The team is tight-knit, often enjoying pizza in the parking lot after practicing together.
“It’s small so you really get to know people on a personal level more than bigger teams,” Ezra said. “ You have to trust them a lot because they are holding the rope to make sure you don’t fall.”
The team competes at Green Mountain Rock Climbing Center on Woodstock Avenue in Rutland. Ezra said they regularly build new climbs to keep things interesting.
“It’s a really a confidence builder because it feels good to complete a climb. When you get to the top, it’s a big accomplishment. When you work hard at something it’s very rewarding,” Ezra said.
The team spawned from student interest in the sport. They proposed that MSJ make a team and administrators were supportive of the addition.
“I was searching for a good high school and MSJ stuck out. I shadowed here and really liked the traditional grading system and how MSJ prepares students for college,” Ezra said.
Ezra is in the early stages of his college search. He is considering studying nursing and has been learning more about programs at Castleton University and the University of Vermont.