Our eighth grade students hit the trails this week on their class trip to Colorado. They learned more than how to climb a mountain and filter drinking water from a stream. They challenged their mental fortitude, strengthened friendships, and created unforgettable memories with their teachers and peers. For many, these memories will be some of the best during their time at Presbyterian School.
Students were confronted with the reality that sometimes quiet is the best noise and the calm of an empty trail can provide an opportunity to slow down and unplug. They learned that intentionally choosing healthy foods is the perfect fuel for their body to function properly during a hike. Throughout the trip, students were constantly making choices and learning that their decisions can help them encounter what lies ahead with strength and confidence.
Students weren't the only ones who were impacted by the trip. PS staff chaperones noted that they were able to develop relationships with peers that they would not have normally gotten the opportunity to work with. Moreover, faculty mentioned that seeing students in a different context allowed them to develop a better understanding of students' strengths and limitations which in turn will help them adapt their teaching to suit students' individual needs.
“This trip is so important to Presbyterian School and its eighth grade class because it solidifies all we have taught to these young people about relationships.” said Charles Gramatges, Head of Middle School. “This trip challenges students to stretch outside their comfort zone and depend on the relationships they have built throughout the years at Presbyterian School. They must depend on teacher leaders and each other. They must lead with compassion as they carry large loads and live both comfortably and uncomfortably. Students self-advocate in an environment unlike any other. Of course, these relationships thrive under the guidance of a spiritually driven program, developed from Christ’s unending love, modeled by God’s majestic creation. For one week we live in a place that reminds us how big God is, and how important each of us is to Him.”
The outdoor environment and its energizing influences creates an openness to new experiences for the entire class. Students want to do well in the face of their peers and are therefore persuaded to have a go at something difficult. The support from fellow students contributes to their success and overcoming their fears creates a sense of achievement. This helps to raise the aspirations of those who might be hesitant and gives them confidence to try as well.
The old mantra “If you can climb a mountain, you can do anything” might not technically be true, but reaching the top of a mountain is an impressive mental, physical, and emotional accomplishment. This realization reminds us that anything can be accomplished if we take on a challenge and put in the work.