Written by: Samantha Acker
Small Learning Community (SLC), a Gunn program that provides a more intimate learning environment with similar curriculum for 25 freshmen, went on its annual learning trip to Yosemite from Jan. 13 through 17. The purpose of the trip was to give students the chance to learn in a different environment and combine certain parts of what they have learned inside the classroom with new outdoor challenges. Twenty-five students and two World Language teachers, Carole Stroud and Liz Matchett, as well as Assistant Principal Tom Jacoubowsky, attended. This is the third time that SLC has gone to Yosemite.
At Yosemite, students took part in a variety of activities such as learning about the park’s environment and history. During trips that occured in past years, the students kept a journal where they drew sketches and wrote assignments throughout their journey. The students this year went on several hikes to sites like Yosemite Falls and a valley trail, ice skated and played group games.
“Students learn that they have to support and listen to each other in order to achieve group goals,” SLC English teacher Julie Munger, who has attended the trip before, said. “When we are out on the trail, we learn that the group can only be as fast as its slowest member. We learn to follow a different rhythm than the busy rhythm of classes and after-school activities.”
Nature Bridge, an organization that is recognized for its ability to maximize the quality of the guests’ experience, hosted the SLC. The students stayed in Yosemite Lodge and the Wawona Hotel.
Social Studies teacher Dawna Linsdell and English teacher Tarn Wilson started the retreat. “The students have said that this has been a highlight to their year and love the opportunity to explore outdoors,” Jacoubowsky said.
Freshman Allison Simoni enjoyed her experience at Yosemite, which she feels has made her closer with the other freshmen on the trip. “It was really fun,” Simoni said. “The team building activities really helped me bond with everyone. My favorite part was the spider caves because you couldn’t see anything so you had to rely on the people around you.”