Fifth and sixth graders from Spring Street International School floated their way to the end of the school year.
No, they weren’t slacking off; they were paddling in two hand-crafted Coast Salish-style canoes and another for traditional Polynesian outrigger paddling as part of their class’s annual, end-of-the-year trip. Spring Street students even previously helped to build the Coast Salish-style models.
“I learned about the water and activities outside,” said 12-year-old Whiley McCutchen on June 6.
Whiley and his 13 other classmates participated in canoe day trips and campouts and were led by local Matt Wickey, founder of Kaigani Canoe Voyaging Society, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching youth and adults canoe culture.
The kids visited a monastery on Shaw Island, a marimba-playing midwife on Orcas and students from a similar canoe program in the Gulf Islands, though they did not paddle to every location. Previously, fifth and sixth graders used longboats on their class trips.
The best part for Whiley was simply jumping in the muck around Westcott Bay. Why?
“Because you got muddy,” he explained.
Each Spring Street class takes trips before the end of school years. This year, the seventh graders went to Ashland, Oregon; eighth graders to Washington D.C. and New York City; and high schoolers to either Hawaii, China, Ecuador, the Southwest U.S., or India and Nepal.
Louis Prussack, who heads the school, spent almost three weeks traveling around Nepal, including trekking with students to a lake 17,000 feet in elevation.
“Our goal is, by the time they graduate, students can travel anywhere in the world and take care of themselves and other people,” said Prussack.
Students will share presentations on their trips during their last week of school, which starts on June 11. To learn more about Spring Street, visit www.springstreet.org.