Hieatt, Van Norden to lead Alaska trip

By Erin Moy

Middle and upper school students will be able to go white water rafting and camping on the first-ever school trip to Alaska this summer. The group will start in Anchorage, Alaska and will end in Denali National Park.

Throughout the trip, the group will see sites such as the Spencer Glacier and Mt. McKinley. The trip is limited to 10 students and will cost $3,050 per student. The sign up deadline is April 15, and requires a $500 deposit.Upper school science teacher Wendy Van Norden and middle school Head of Physical Education Kim Hieatt will be leading the trip from June 15 to June 25.

Van Norden has previously led backpacking trips in Alaska for the Sierra Club, a grassroots environmental organization. After traveling to Katmai National Park in Alaska last year, Van Norden and Hieatt decided to lead a school trip.

As an Honors Geology and Geology teacher, Van Norden has led school trips to Death Valley in recent years. Even so, she feels that Alaska will be a new experience for students.

“My students think that Death Valley is a wilderness because it doesn’t have cell phone service,” Van Norden said. “I want students to experience true wilderness.”

Though Van Norden feels that students who have taken AP Environmental Science or Geology may be able to get more out of the trip, it is not a prerequisite.

“I want students with an adventurous spirit,” she said.

Van Norden hopes that there will be trips in years to come.

Her goal is for students “to have fun while seeing amazing things.”

“I want them to have an adventure,” she said.