Students and teachers connect on the river |

Students and teachers connect on the river

Cindy Ramunno

GLENWOOD CANYON – Eagle Valley Middle School has a tradition. Each year, seventh graders go rafting with their teachers to kick off the school year and get comfortable with their classmates and instructors. The annual adventure was first organized by teacher Ted James in 1997 with the purpose of kicking off the seventh graders’ study of John Wesley Powell and rivers. Powell conducted scientific research during his 1869 river expedition through the Grand Canyon. “Ted coordinates our trip every year,” said teacher Nicole Dewell.Lakota Guides leads the trips. Last week, students put their rafts in the water at Grizzly Creek in Glenwood Canyon. They rafted to South Canyon, beyond Glenwood Springs. Laughter filled the cool, brisk air as teachers and students embarked on their journey. It was the third trip for language arts teacher Margie Altman, who said the excursion strengthened relationships between teachers and their students. “It’s great for our students to see us as human beings,” Altman.said with a laugh. During the first few days of school, kids learn about structure, expectations and rules, Altman said. But the trip provides some relief from that structure in a different learning environment.”It’s a great start to our school year,” Altman said – and the students agreed. “It was so much fun,” said student Guy Garth. “During the end, we hit a bunch of rapids. We also jumped in the natural hot springs to warm up.”Although the seventh-graders study social studies and geography, the trip has evolved into something much bigger. If you talk to a senior in high school, he or she still remembers the trip and specific things that happened, Principal Jerry Santoro said.”Most students have not previously participated in this activity, even though it’s in our back yard,” Santoro said. “It’s a tradition, and traditions are important in our lives.”

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