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Challenge Day, Wy’east Outdoor School send thanks

Two school programs send thanks to community supporters who made possible a variety of student enrichment in the last school year.

Hood River Valley High School’s Challenge Day Club wrapped up its eighth year at the end of the 2013-14 school year.

The Challenge Day Club supports inclusion of all, and offers a forum for strategies to combat bullying, teasing and harassment, and improving the overall environment of the school as well as fostering self-empowerment. This is facilitated through monthly meetings in which students and faculty advisors break bread together and discuss real life issues in an open and supportive environment.

Advisors Evelyn Charity, Kevin Haspela, Judy Schumann, Amancay Maahs, Troy Tactay, Brandi Wharton, John Hergenrather, and Andy Curry led the club this year with the assistance of club president Heidi Villalobos and several committed seniors. Monthly meetings are made possible by the generous support of local dining vendors.

Haspela writes, “the club would like to extend sincere thanks to the following vendors for their support this year: Subway, Pietro’s Pizza, Good News Gardening, Ixtapa, Solstice, Rosauers, and Safeway. The club extends a special thank you to Ryan’s Juice who have been supporters since the start of the club in 2006 and Domino’s Pizza for going above and beyond to help. Thank you!”

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“No one can deny the satisfaction that comes when you see the faces of children in a different school environment that allows them the opportunity to learn, hands-on and outside as our 6th grade students did at Wy’east Middle School this spring,” write Teri Adams and Jackie Heck, Outdoor School Coordinators.

“This is Wy’east’s seventh year taking our 6th grade students to Brooks Memorial Environmental Learning Center (north of Goldendale,) for a two-and-a-half day experience, learning various ecology-related topics that focus on sustainability in an outdoor, hands-on environment that is stimulating, engaging and memorable. For some kids, this is their first time away from home overnight!

“This program couldn’t be possible without the huge contributions made by local businesses and community members. The Wy’east staff would like to acknowledge those contributions that make it such a successful program. A special shout-out of thanks goes out to Nelson Tires, Juanita’s Fine Foods, Papa Murphy’s Pizza, Rosauers, Safeway, Wal-Mart, Bill Bontems of Washington State University and 10-Speed Coffee. Their product contributions make a huge difference in the cost of running a program that continually faces being cut as our over-all budget gets shaved each year. Another huge thanks goes out to all the Hood River Valley High School students who volunteered from 48 to 94 hours, serving as cabin counselors to our kids. This awesome group of caretakers, herders and fantastic role models was the largest and best we’ve gathered and our Outdoor School Counselor Program continues to grow and prosper every year.

We invite the community to visit our Activities link on the Wy’east Middle School webpage (www.hoodriver.k12.or.us/wyms) to see the great things that happen at Outdoor School each year. Without the support of our businesses and community, we would truly cease to exist and kids who would otherwise never get the opportunity to learn outdoors, spend nights away from home in a cabin, and experience what it is to be a community of responsible environmental consumers, simply wouldn’t happen.”

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