camping

The Class of 2017 culminates Westside years with final Outdoor Ed trip

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The Class of 2017 had a fun and successful final Westside School Outdoor Education trip! Students did a great job of helping to make the trip happen – starting with the planning process at school, and culminating with cooking meals, setting up camp and engaging in activities and discussions throughout the week.

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The first destination was the Hummocks Loop Trail, where students saw firsthand the recovery of the Toutle River valley since the 1980 eruption, and enjoyed beautiful views of Mt. St. Helens. While it was raining throughout the hike, everyone still enjoyed beautiful scenery, and appreciated the group of students who taught the rest of the group about the origin of the Hummocks.

There was time for great reflection, games and community time, as well as traditional s’mores around the campfire!

Fifth grade explores the Olympic Peninsula

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Last week the fifth grade students braved the wilds of the Olympic Peninsula on a coastal adventure. Students set up base camp at a beautiful recreation area near Port Angeles and groups took turns backpacking for one night in Olympic National Park. They explored tide pools, the Elwha River, and several coastal ecosystems. Students saw deer, bald eagles, seals, and salamanders.

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They smelled skunk cabbage and tasted salal leaves, touched whale bones and witnessed the effects of dam removal. Students reflected nightly in their journals where they also completed mind and event maps, collaborative poems, and letters of gratitude and appreciation.

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Upon returning to the classroom, they were ready to share stories and discover how each person experienced the trip in their own distinct way.

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Everyone is so happy to be home, showered and dry, but it was a wonderful experience camping on the beautiful coast!

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35 Years of Westside Stories…a look back at river rafting, teacher relationships, and a community of friends

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In anticipation of our 35th Celebration, we’ve asked some of our eighth grade students to share their Westside Story. Westside School is what it is today because of 35 years of stories. We’d love to hear yours.

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My favorite part of Westside School since coming here in seventh grade are the trips. During the spring of our seventh grade year, we went river rafting. For me, that was my first time going rafting, and I was definitely nervous. During the first time in the river our raft group had lots of fun. On the raft there were people I hadn’t really hung out with during the school year. While on the raft, we went through some rapids that were pretty scary, but we worked together to get through them. At one point during our rafting we created a story where we had one person ride in the front of the boat and we re-created George Washington crossing the Delaware. Our story brought everyone on the raft closer. It wasn’t just the story that brought us together, though, at one point we started singing, and if I remember correctly it was the song, “Watch Me”, a popular dance during that time. We sang as we worked together to move our raft, and being the ones in the front while racing another raft made us work even harder. At the end of the day I think we all got closer to each other than we were before. Maybe we didn’t become close friends, but we did become closer classmates. That day I felt glad to have come to Westside and experience that bond.

Shared by a member of the Class of 2017

I began my time at Westside School when I was ten years old. At that time, it was a very different place and it has been interesting to see it change and evolve into the school it is today. I feel as though every camping trip has brought new experiences and skills to the class, and I have loved my time here. I found the community was very friendly and supportive when I arrived as a new student. It was more academically challenging compared to my old school and this pushed me into working harder. I am thankful to have been able to attend Westside School for almost five years.

Shared by Emma, Class of 2017

I have been at Westside School  for nine years. During that time, I have met so many people. One thing I like is how everyone knows each other. Some people I have known for almost ten years, so it will be hard to leave everyone when I graduate. I also like how well the teachers know us. It helps to know the teachers well because they can tell you specifically what you should do. I am happy with the community at Westside School, and I will be sad to leave it.

Shared by a member of the Class of 2017

Share your story with us. It just might be featured here!

Fifth grade enjoys stunning views, sunsets, and sand

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The fifth grade class traveled across the Olympic Peninsula, visiting and learning about ecology, history, and Native American Culture during the Middle School Outdoor Education spring trip.

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The group studied the Elwha River, the removal of its dams, and the impacts it had on the people and the environment.

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They also headed to Neah Bay to begin coastal ecology and Makah tribal history studies. The group also had the chance to experience a coastal wilderness and amazing tide pooling on the class’s first overnight backpacking trip!

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