Grade 11 and 12 students stopped at Manning Park on their way to and from Vancouver. (Submitted)

Seven Summits students learn on trips to U.S. and Vancouver

Students at the Seven Summits Centre for Learning in Rossland have been learning while traveling.

The end of the school year is fast approaching, but students at the Seven Summits Centre for Learning are still cramming in as much education as they can. But not all education takes place inside the classroom.

Grade 8 and 9 students at Seven Summits recently returned from a rock climbing trip in Washington state, and Grade 11 and 12 students were in Vancouver — kayaking and visiting the Museum of Anthropology (MoA).

From May 14 to 17, nine students and three teachers joined Kootenay rock climbing leaders Keith Robine and Sparky Steeves at Frenchman Coulee, near George, Wash.

Jack Grant was one of the Grade 8 students on the trip.

“Climbing was like meditation and I felt so free,” he said. “The climbing leaders were very nice and didn’t over-complicate things. I felt safe.”

“The environment was fascinating — to see how the rocks were formed and how they had natural handholds and holes. I stood for 20 minutes taking in the beauty,” he added.

The trip was also an opportunity for the students to learn about ecology.

“It was an excursion in both PE, because they were doing rock climbing, but also in desert ecology and water conservation, because they have to take all of their water with them,” explained Ann Quarterman, operations manager at Seven Summits.

The students also faced the fear many experienced from climbing and adverse conditions, like rain and high winds.

Now that their back in Rossland, the students are creating brochures about the area as a social studies project.

Rain was the common factor in both Seven Summits trips this month.

Before the younger students went out rock climbing, the Grade 11 and 12 were in Vancouver from May 10 to 12, and spent a morning at MoA.

“[We] looked at Native American art and different cultures around the world,” explained Quarterman. “And the kids really enjoyed it actually and talked about appropriation, cultural appropriation and new patriation of objects.”

“I personally really liked the Bill Reid exhibit, because it showed these different pieces or art and it was interesting to read about his take on everything,” said Sophie Wardy, a Grade 11 student.

Students also saw a canoe from the Sinixt Nation among the artifacts.

In the afternoon, the students went sea kayaking, and while it rained the whole time, the students still enjoyed themselves.

As part of the learning experience, the students discussed watershed issues, coastal life and the tankers in the bay during the kayak trip.

“It was really cold when we were first starting out and everybody was on the beach and we were like, ‘Oh let’s just get in the water, let’s hurry.’ And we got in the water and it was worth it and we were all having a good time,” said Autumn Terwoort, another one of the Grade 11 students.

That night students ate at the Eatery, a funky sushi restaurant in Vancouver.

“We thought we might have some complaints about that, but the menu was very varied and everybody loved it,” said Quarterman.

The 15 students and three teachers on the trip finished their visit to Vancouver with a tour of a salmon hatchery.