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8th Grade World Challenge - American Southwest Experience

8th Grade World Challenge

American Southwest 2018 Experience

By Lynn Novak

The Eric S. Smith Middle School trip to the American Southwest was a success!  A group of ten students, along with staff member Fran Kahn and myself, piloted the first World Challenge trip for graduated 8th graders.  For ten days, the group hiked and camped in National Parks in southern Utah and northern Arizona. Challengers held leadership roles and were responsible for implementing the plan for the day. They rotated responsibilities daily and conferred with incoming leaders at evening reflection. Roles such as Leader of the Day, Treasurer and Head Chef could be particularly intense while those such as Accommodations, Navigator, Entertainment and Safety were less so. 

The trip also contained a learning component. Challengers visited the Discovery Center where they planted Milkweed seeds and viewed the night sky through a powerful telescope.  Additionally, they had the opportunity to interact with members of the Navajo Nation. While in Monument Valley, they worked to restore a Hogan, ate a Navajo Taco, attended a program involving Navajo dance and music and appreciated the natural beauty of the land while awaiting the rising sun. 

Regardless of role, all Challengers needed to communicate, collaborate, think critically and be creative in fulfilling their duties. Collectively, these are the 4Cs on the Profile of a Ramsey Graduate Pyramid.  Setting up and breaking down tents daily could be exhausting; however, by working collaboratively it became less so. Healthy eating on a budget and cooking outdoors with a limited number of tools required creativity.  Let’s face it, there were mistakes made by all and the group had to use critical thinking skills to resolve the issues. Finally, making sure their peers were awake, fed and loaded into the van to begin the next day’s adventure meant choosing their words wisely!

There is another trip planned for 2019!


Students who participated in the 8th Grade World Challenge presenting to the BOE on Tuesday, October 30, 2018.


World Challenge students presenting to BOE

World Challenge Students