river rafting

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.


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!

Seventh grade rafts, hikes, and reflects by The Clackamas River

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The seventh grade students camped near Estacada, Oregon by The Clackamas River. Students rafted a low Class II rapid, hiked eight miles, and rafted a higher Class II rapid following the river adjacent to our hike the previous day. Students went over rapids with names such as Box full of Fluffy Kittens, Hole in the Wall, and the Toilet Bowl, among many others! The group camped at the Milo McIver Campground where they were met by the Oregon Rafting Experience guides. They helped out with meal preparations as well as guiding the students on their hikes and on the river.

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Each evening students met by the campfire to review and reflect upon their day through journals created by the staff. They learned basic rafting commands and how to best prepare themselves when rafting more active rapids. Many students and a few teachers freely fell into the 45 degree river, while others got soaked from the splashing waters!