Thrill-seeking seniors embrace a new hobby: skydiving


Erik Lavandeira '22

Erik Lavandeira ’22 soars above the clouds.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a senior! 

This spring, a handful of students from the Class of 2022 migrated two hours north to Crewiston, Florida, where they boarded a small plane in pursuit of a new pastime: skydiving. 

The first group of jumpers included Dylan Kauffmann ’22, Erik Lavandeira ’22, Aidan Rothstein ’22, Levi Gans ’22, and Alessia Mantilla ’22. But many more are hoping to join the next jump, inspired by the experiences of RE’s skydiving pioneers. 

Dylan Kauffmann ’22, one of the first senior skydivers, explained why he loves the activity so much. “I’ve always been a daring guy. I’ve gone cliff jumping, rappelling, and more. So naturally, skydiving was the next item on the bucket list,” he said. “[But] there is something so exhilarating about hurtling through the air. There is no feeling like it.” 

Lavandeira echoed Kauffmann’s sentiment, describing his first skydiving experience as jaw-dropping. After a quick ten-minute plane ride strapped to his guide, a side door opened, and the winds came rushing in. “Looking down was terrifying but incredible. I have never seen the world so small with unobstructed eyes,” he said.  

Although Kauffmann was the ringleader, Lavandeira quickly became just as enamored with the experience, in part because it allowed him to detach from the stress of academics and college decisions. “Skydiving really gives you a sense of perspective to see everything so small below you,” he said. 

The two seniors have vowed to become certified to skydive solo, without any guide to maneuver in the air. The certification requires an extensive eight-hour training course as well as 25 solo jumps to prove their skill.  

At the same time, falling through the clouds has become a goal for over a dozen members of the Class of 2022 as Lavandeira and Kauffman continue to rally others to their activity.  

“Tons of other seniors plan to skydive with us. We already have about four or five kids that have done it with us, and I know about ten more that plan to,” Lavandeira explained. 

The group is not just made up of thrill-seekers like Kauffman. In fact, many unexpected jumpers have hopped on board. Zach Marcus ’22 explained his unique situation. “I am absolutely terrified of going in the ocean. Sharks… no thank you. But nothing will stop me from skydiving with everyone pretty soon,” he said. 

For skydiver Lucia Font ’22, the prospect of making the jump with so many friends just highlights the unique spirit of the Class of 2022. “I plan to skydive with everyone pretty soon. I’m super excited. It’s very rare to have a community with such outgoing and adventurous people.”