Thursday, September 10, 2015

GD Students Giving Back & More

With week two nearly complete both students and staff are beginning to acclimate to the hectic start of the school year. With the early distractions behind us, this week we focused on settling into a more traditional school routine. Acclimating proved a malleable and fickle substance as the weather did not care to cooperate this week. There is nothing that screams comfortable learning environment quite like 20 plus students in a confined space nearing 90 degrees. Undaunted, the teaching and learning continued. Please read below to learn about some impressive GD students along with a plea for non-perishable items.

Non-Perishable Items Needed

On the 17th of September our second advisory will feature a competition that requires students to build something with the non-perishable items donated. Feel free to send in all of your non-perishable items between now and September 17th. All proceeds will benefit the Loaves and Fishes organization.

Shaw's Market
Thanks to Shaw's for the generous donation to GDRHS.
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National Student Exchange Program
400 colleges in the USA and Canada participate in the National Student Exchange Program. This program allows students to take courses at other colleges across the nation while paying the same tuition as your college. The only difference in price would be the cost of room & board which may be higher in another location. Colleges work with students to assure the courses they are taking fit into their major and will transfer back to their "home" college.  

Here is the link: 

Ciara Selders Ciara Selders is an accomplished student with an interest in photography. She is currently pursuing the Girl Scout Gold Award, which represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. She is hoping to build a raised, mobile, sustainable vegetable garden on school grounds. I have included a short bio, a picture, and a link to her photography website.  

Hello all, my name is Ciara Selders and I’m currently a senior at the high school. My past (almost) four years at the high school have opened my eyes to new areas of interests both in and out of the classroom. One area in particular that I have recently grown to love is digital photography. Not too long ago I envisioned professional DSLR cameras as confusing and even intimidating, but after taking Mr. O’Connor’s photography class I have grown to appreciate a camera’s capabilities and even bought a DSLR of my own! I would encourage anyone reading this to consider giving photography a try, even if you’re artistically challenged (like myself). 

Aside from photography, I am interested in attending college next fall to start my journey toward obtaining my Bachelor of Science degree. I plan on majoring in neuroscience/neurobiology, with a concentration in neurodegenerative diseases. My interest in this area stems from a recent death in the family due to a related cause. I am excited to see what the rest of my senior year holds, and can’t wait to embark on the journey more familiarly known as “adulthood”.

Ciara's Photography Website

Students Serve the Southwest

This summer several GD students donated their time and effort to a worthy cause in the Southwest. Below you will find pictures along with information about their journey.

Teec Nos Pos, AZ -- Five GDRHS youth traveled to the southwest this past summer, for an experience like no other. Students Samantha Ferraro(‘16), Lauren Duhamel(‘16), Justin Duhamel(‘18), Philip Kendall(‘15), and Geoff Kidger(‘15) labored tirelessly to repair homes for the elderly and low-income Navajo people. Through the organization Group Mission Trips, under the guise of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, these youth gathered with three hundred others from across the country to partner with the State of Utah Weatherization Program. In just under five days, this group of volunteers successfully repaired over thirty five homes on the Navajo Nation Indian Reservation.
Throughout the journey from Salt Lake City to Four Corners, the seventeen participants encountered bizarre landscapes, an alarming lack of trees and spectacular red rock formations. They traversed the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, mammoth mesas in Monument Valley, and sweeping arches at Arches National Park. Many of these kids have participated in these service trips since the age of twelve, amounting to six trips over the years, yet this year the remote desert environment and cultural immersion of the Navajo people posed an added challenge. “Miles down a dirt road, with only a wood-stove for heat and no transportation, my resident lived as a single mother with four children ages zero to thirteen,” a leader recalled.


Working hard in 106 degree heat. From top left to bottom right: Geoff Kidger,
Lauren Duhamel, Justin Duhamel, Philip Kendall.


Not only did these volunteers transform parts the Navajo community by applying coats of paint, constructing porches, building wheelchair ramps, and installing weather-proofed metal roofs, but the community transformed the youth’s own views on the world. Long-time participant Lauren Duhamel described:

“This trip opened my eyes to a new culture in our country. The experience is something that I will take with me for the rest of my life. It taught me how to be respectful of other cultures by observing how the Navajo need to use an item to its full potential. Unlike in the northeast, we had to conserve every scrap of extra construction material. Neighbors immediately painted their homes with our excess paint, and residents saved all scrap wood for winter kindling.”

The students served with volunteers from as far away as Alaska, California and Arkansas. The volunteers were dispersed into groups of six, each member from a different location across the country. Incoming senior Samantha Ferraro explained:

“The kids in my home were my age, about seventeen and eighteen. Listening to us talk about college, they casually mentioned that it wasn’t an option for them and they were better off learning the artistic trades of their parents to profit off of tourists as a livelihood. It was sad to know they never even have access to the opportunities we take for granted.”

The eyes of everyone involved were opened a little wider, as the youth embraced the natural beauty yet experienced the harsh living conditions on the Navajo reservation.