Pioneer High School students visit RockSport in Reno

Pioneer High School students Kayla B. and Skyler C at RockSport in Reno.

Pioneer High School students Kayla B. and Skyler C at RockSport in Reno.

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Students from Pioneer High School traveled to RockSport, an indoor rock climbing gym in Reno to practice skills beyond the classroom.

It was a partnership established five years ago to assist PHS students with physical education options and provide motivational events to increase attendance and academic achievement. Students work on rock climbing skills on a bimonthly basis, but they leave these sessions with so much more.

Advisers Paul Lorion, PHS art teacher, and Elijah Rotter, teach students the basics of climbing along with lessons they can apply toward reaching graduation and ultimately how to succeed in life. Students have to show passing grades and acceptable attendance to participate in the events. When they get there, they problem solve 40 feet off the ground with staff and others holding the safety ropes below and cheering them on. They also work on coping with anxiety and they learn the importance of perseverance and peer support.

Skylar C., a junior said, “it helps me trust my peers.”

Kayla B. said, “I conquered the wall after several attempts, I loved how other students encouraged me.”

PHS student Korah M. said, “having to pass classes and keep good attendance is a good thing for students and motivated me.”

Along with the staff advisers, other Pioneer staff attend the trips on a rotating basis to help build stronger bonds with students. Students and staff get to see each other in a different light outside the classroom. This type of intervention has helped students see teachers and staff as lines of support and as mentors. As a staff member, it’s a powerful intervention and provides an opportunity to learn more about your students. Even the drive to and from provides time for the small groups to discuss things that affect the students on the daily basis. When students trust and learn to respect teachers, great things happen in the classroom.


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