Annual Pioneer High School canyoneering adventure a success |

Annual Pioneer High School canyoneering adventure a success

Elijah Rotter and Jason Zona
Pioneer High School students embarked on a four-day backpacking trip at Rock Creek, outside Quincy, Calif.
Courtesy |

There’s nothing like a four-day backpacking trip to get a student’s attention in the first few weeks of a new school year.

A group of Pioneer High School students started their 2016-2017 school year with a serious outdoor adventure — it’s the kind of experience that changes lives.

The Rock Creek trip is held in a picturesque boulder laden canyon with fast moving water just outside of Quincy, Calif. Students and staff were excited and anxious, but they soon learned they took on an experience like no other. They repelled, climbed waterfalls, held group reflection sessions, and jumped off cliffs which challenges were designed for those willing to face their fears. In the end they grew together as young adults and as a school community.

Pioneer staff Cary Jordan, and Sandy Granucci, coordinated with a leadership training company called Project Discovery to give their students an experience of a lifetime. It gave these young men and women the opportunity to find the hero hidden within.

Skylar Collins and Justin McKee, 11th grade PHS students, attended their second trip as experienced student leaders. They consistently offered a helping hand and a kind word to their fellow students while helping with the technical gear needed for a trip such as Rock Creek.

Overcoming obstacles, working together to meet life’s challenges, and expanding their vision of what was possible were a few of the many profound lessons gleamed from four days at Rock Creek.

It’s hard to measure the total effect our partnership with Project Discovery has helped our students at Pioneer with outdoor trips like Rock Creek. Several things are evident and quantifiable for PHS students; during the last 11 years of the partnership, more students are graduating every year, more students have earned dual college credits, more Standard, Honors, and AP diplomas have been earned, more scholarships have been awarded, a PHS student earned an Associate of Science Degree from WNC and a high school diploma in the same week, and the Nevada Department of Education has recognized and nominated the school twice as a “Highlighted School” for achievement. Special thanks go to our PHS staff and Dr. Mike Selby and his staff at Project Discovery.

Elijah Rotter is a staff member at PHS. Jason Zona is principal of PHS.