Lucas Etchason enjoys playing in the snow as fellow seniors Thor Wirth and Evan McNeilus watch
By Kim Swanson
This winter has been one of record-breaking cold temperatures, but despite leaving school at 10 a.m. the day before the trip due to adverse winter weather, the Triton Wolf Ridge weekend provided a heat wave of sorts, and students and staff enjoyed perfect conditions, including 30 inches of snow and temperatures up to 20 degrees. Seventy-five members of the Triton community became part of a 24-year tradition and dove into new experiences in Finland, Minnesota.
Our four-day adventure included many firsts for our kids. For some, it was the first time they put aside their cell phones for a few days and were truly in the moment with their peers. For others, it was the first time they put on cross country skis, or walked on a frozen lake, or caught a fish. Every member of the team stepped out of their comfort zone and realized that they are capable of much more than they thought possible. My hope is that those lessons extend back to the classroom at THS, and students keep pushing themselves and others through tough moments to reach their goals.
This year's trip continued many long-standing traditions. These included sleeping outside in the snow under the stars (13 took on this challenge!) and eating delicious cookies nightly provided by the Taher Food Service crew. The seniors that joined us provided leadership, encouragement, and entertained us with a fabulous skit on Sunday night. The group came home with a conservation challenge plaque, which recognized their efforts to conserve energy and leave the Ridge better than they found it by picking up litter. All in all, the 2014 Wolf Ridge crew exceeded expectations and kept the Triton reputation high.
The Wolf Ridge experience is one of the most memorable and unique educational experiences that we offer our students, and it couldn't happen without the support of our community and the commitment of those involved with the trip. To date, over 1,600 Triton freshmen have experienced this adventure (along with 250 seniors!). This year, financial support helped keep the cost reasonable for all students, while also providing scholarships to those that otherwise could not afford to be a part of the experience. We would like to thank the Triton Booster Club, the Dodge Center Lions, McNeilus Steel, KM Telecom, R&M Steel, the Claremont Service Center, and the Somers family for their generous contributions to the scholarship fund.
I would like to thank Alli Horejsi and Brian Felten (THS science teachers), Rod Marquardt and Rich Scherger (bus drivers), and Ed Pitzenberger and Denny Midthun (retired THS science teachers that started the tradition 24 years ago). Thanks are also extended to our parent chaperons that joined the fun and helped support and encourage our kids throughout the weekend (Mandy Chicos, Sheryl Dohrmann, Terri Finne, Shelly Bungum, Dale Jensen, Jon Streiff, and Chuck Rhodes).
The 2014 trip has come to a close, but the memories will be with all that participated for a lifetime. We're already looking forward to the 25th annual trip, which will begin on January 16, 2015!