WDC seventh-graders take part in retreat
WADENA — Wadena-Deer Creek seventh-graders participated in a day-long retreat Sept. 11 that focused on teamwork, friendship and other challenging and motivational activities.
WDC Middle/High School Counselor Toni Kraska said the retreat, which is held at Inspiration Point Retreat Center near Fergus Falls, helps seventh-graders feel comfortable in a high school setting.
“By participating in this unique experience, it is the hope that, as a seventh-grade class, they will feel a sense of cohesiveness, belongingness to the school community, and have the opportunity to display positive leadership with one another,” said Kraska, who coordinated the trip.
Kraska is looking forward to having the entire high school, and now grades 5 and 6, together under one roof. She said because the June 2010 tornado displaced the students at Deer Creek, it’s been a challenge to attain that cohesiveness.
“Our plan is do more activities with the younger students throughout the school year with the senior and junior students who serve as peer mentors. We’d like to build upon some of those values learned at this retreat,” said Kraska.
WDC seventh-grader Alex Burckhard, 12, thought the outdoor retreat was a fun experience where he learned valuable lessons about his classmates.
“I learned a lot about friendships, about strengths and weaknesses of my classmates, how to be a good person and to look out for others,” said Burckhard.
Junior and senior students who serve as “peer mentors” go to the retreat with the seventh-grade students as a way to connect with the students. Senior peer mentors include: Sayde Anderson, Lacey Barthel, Sarah Craig, Macy Hartman, Ryan Jahnke, Molly Kraemer, Drew Larson, Halley Maas, Melissa Moenkedick, Mike Paavola, Joey Price, Brooke Umland and Evan Van Erp. Junior peer mentors are: Brittany Andrews, Jacob Goeden, Paige Hartman, Austin Hendershot, Isaac Laughlin, Michaela Lehmkuhl, Caleb Monson, Ricky Price, Heather Theisen, Hope Theisen, AJ Tollefson and Wyatt Weber.
Teachers and staff who accompanied the students, as well as participated were: Norm Gallant, activities director; Jay Patterson, English teacher; Dawn Paurus, science teacher; Doug Haas, physical education teacher; and Nathan Carlstrom, education assistant.