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Producing winter kids
PERU- In the midst of beautiful winter weather with bright sunshine to warm your face and the serene landscape of freshly fallen snow, students at Dirigo Elementary School have bundled up and taken to the trails by way of snowshoes and skis.
Principal Kathy Richard, in her final year before her retirement this summer, isn't taking one minute for granted with the students at her school. “It's a great way to learn,” noted Richard of the after school program of skating on Mondays and snowshoeing and skiing on Thursdays.
During a recent outing with the students, Katelyn Ellis chose x-country skiing and was joined by her mom for the afternoon of fresh air and exercise. “I really like it,” laughed Ellis, as she struggled to get her skis turned around without crossing them. “The teacher told us how to go down hills and we learned how to snowplow.”
The students started lining up to begin their first lap of skiing when fifth-grader Carleen Hutchinson noted, “We always let the little kids get out here before us and let them pack the trail. It's hard if the trail isn't packed down.”
As we all ventured our way up over the first knoll to the playing fields, we were joined by the younger kids on snowshoes. They were excited and toppling over one another while still trying to get hats and gloves secure.
On this day, the kindergarten class joined us for a snowshoe through the woods, being lead by teacher Mrs. York. They kept a steady pace with Mrs. York's mother, Diane Mitchell in the middle of the pack on her first snowshoe.
“It's my first time, but I'm enjoying it,” noted Mitchell, as she helped a student steady himself from a fall.
Parents and friends are welcome to join the group. “The more the merrier,” noted Richard. “If you have skis or snowshoes, we would love to have you join us.”
Children at the school are allowed and urged to take home the ski and snowshoe gear when signed out by a parent. “We like to think we're producing winter kids. It's really a great way to learn,” stated Richard. She is even looking forward to getting the kids out during recess to ski and snowshoe as the winter goes on.
She noted that the snowshoeing group needed to come up with a name for themselves, as the skiers call themselves the Super Cruisers and the skaters are the Sizzling Skaters.
As we traveled along the trail coming to the end of the days activities, Cameron Gray noted, “This is the sweet life.”
Seen here trying to maneuver the first snow-covered hill on snowshoes is Jack Conran (front), Isabella Lindus (left), Mason Noyes (right) and Emma Macfarlane in the back. (Times photo by Cherri Crockett)
High school student volunteer Summer McCullough is seen here with Emma MacFarlane during a recent snowshoe with students at Dirigo Elementary School. (Times photo by Cherri Crockett)
Dan Robinson is seen here joining his daughter Anna and her friend Grace Robbins for the after school snowshoe. New to snowshoeing is teacher Heather Gray and fifth grade parent Laurieann Milligan following behind. (Times photo by Cherri Crockett)
Diane Mitchell, mother of kindergarten teacher, Miss Andrea is seen here leading Grace Robbins and Parker Berry through the wooded trail. It was Mitchell's first time snowshoeing. (Times photo by Cherri Crockett)