RANCHESTER — School may not be in session on Fridays for Sheridan County School District 1 schools, but a program at Tongue River Elementary ensures that students are still learning that day.
The Tongue River Elementary School’s Adventure Club meets on most Fridays for various learning experiences and even occasional overnight trips.
“It is a club that we run for our third- through fifth-graders and it is set up to be one part learning and one part fun,” said Deb Hofmeier, TRE principal. “It has always got work involved. That way the kids have to be really committed to come along and do it.”
Hofmeier said before students can participate in an outing, they must thoroughly research the topic. For example, one year the students traveled to the Rapid City area. Prior to going, they researched reptiles in preparation for their visit to Reptile Gardens and researched Mount Rushmore before they visited the site in person.
Students can choose to attend, on a first-come, first-served basis, several learning trips throughout the year. Past trips have included trips to Devil’s Tower, the Hot Springs, S.D. mammoth site and an annual trip to Cody for fourth-graders to visit the Buffalo Bill Museum and participate in a river-rafting trip.
The program was initiated by the state several years ago, but is now funded by local donors and the SCSD 1 Recreation District. A maximum of 50 kids can participate in each trip. Hofmeier said just as students can choose which trips they want to go on, so do the teachers who volunteer to chaperone and teach during trips.
“This brings our learning to life,” Hofmeier said. “You can read all you want about Mount Rushmore but until you see it with your own little eyes, that is when you know how big it is.
We are really bringing these things to life. It really is a neat thing,” she continued. “Our kids are lucky.”
The group recently went cross-country skiing at Cutler Hill on Jan. 24 and have another ski trip scheduled for Feb. 7. In addition, the group is planning an overnight trip later in February for “Winter Olympics” at Camp Bethel.