John Muir once noted, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” For a group of Pioneer High School students, this sentiment rings true.
In September, eight PHS students and three staff members participated in a canyoneering expedition at Rock Creek that taught some priceless life lessons. Pioneer High School collaborated with Project Discovery to create an amazing and meaningful outdoor experience for Nevaeh Mason, T.D. Rogers, Kaysie Beauford, Nick Allen, David Kimball, Steven Del Donno, Chase Cramer, and Charish Creon. The students were joined by PHS staff members, Elijah Rotter, Cary Jordan, and Jeff Hendricks as well as Project Discovery’s Dr. Mike Selby and his crew.
Students spent four days and three nights out in the wilderness participating in challenging activities and relating those activities to actual life challenges. Students rappelled, scrambled, climbed, and zip lined. They did a lot of reflecting as well. Each challenge they encountered had a lesson to be learned, and these lessons were discussed during a debriefing at the end of every day. Students considered the challenges they faced, what got them through the challenge, and how they might apply those concepts to school and life in general. Teamwork, leadership, overcoming adversity, and relationship building were just a few of the topics covered.
Mike Selby said this event was “one of the best canyoneering expeditions ever,” and PHS students were “pushing their limits and learning what they are capable of if they find the grit to continue in the face of great obstacles.”
When reflecting upon how the experience has helped them this school year, students offered a number of observations. Nick Allen, a senior, said his time at Rock Creek has helped him to “view some things in a different way.” Nick said the experience has also helped him to be better at communicating with others. Nevaeh Mason, a junior, noticed at first she didn’t feel ready or prepared for the experience, but after a while, she began to be a little more comfortable when she took things one step at a time. Now, when encountering challenging material at school, Mason no longer panics, but tries to remember to take things one step at a time. Mason also said the Rock Creek experience has helped her build relationships and cope better when she feels anxious.
Chase Cramer, a sophomore, learned to “overcome obstacles in order to reach bigger goals.” T.D. Rogers, a sophomore, felt his time at Rock Creek made him even more determined to graduate from high school. Charish Creon, a junior, noticed she feels more confident and she’s stronger both physically and mentally. Though the experience was challenging, students said they wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. The lessons learned at Rock Creek will definitely be applied throughout this school year and beyond.