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Who Put that Lake on Our Lawn?

Who Put that Lake on Our Lawn?
Posted on 07/25/2018
Sobesky Academy students race each other in kayaks on a temporary “lake” set up near the school’s main entry.

Sobesky Academy offers a lot of differentiated instruction, but kayaking usually is not on the class schedule.

“We have a kind of field/adventure day. We talk about this months before it happens,” explained student Seyennah Rae.

“This is probably one of the highlights of our year,” added Principal Terry Walderman. “It’s such a great time to see kids experiencing all activities that they don’t get to do typically. I mean, kayaking, C'mon!”

A 14,000-gallon man-made lake sat on Sobesky’s front lawn with students in life jackets taking turns, learning the basics and trying not to get dunked.

“Wet. Not too cold, but wet, wobbly and frantic when people tried to push you over,” said Rae.

The people at Avid 4 Adventure set up the temporary kayaking lake, as well as some other challenges for Sobesky students to experience.

“Primarily we’re a summer camp, but we have these really fun toys that are available here and there. All of our toys, the rock wall, the bike course, the paddling here are introductory,” explained Rob Green, Avid 4 Adventure Events Director. “A lot of these kids…haven’t had the opportunity to do these things. We’re lucky enough to come, and show them a good time.”

The day was paid for with grant money from the Colorado Department of Education, funded by taxes collected from marijuana sales in the state.

“Our site is one of five in Jefferson County that was able to take part in this grant from the Colorado Department of Education. Our specific goal through our program is to re-engage our kids, keep them engaged in school,” said Kelly Smith, Sobesky My Path Coordinator. “We serve kids of all backgrounds who face all kinds of barriers to getting to school and being successful in school.”

Events like this are one of the ways Sobesky helps kids realize the value of their work and stay engaged in school to get to graduation.

“It’s so fulfilling. We like to encourage the kids who are nervous at the rock wall to ease their way up. Baby steps. A little higher each time. They can all achieve the top,” said Green.

“To know that we have the opportunity to give these kids that boost of confidence, and just persevere and work through things that they’ve never tried before, you can’t just do that in a classroom,” added Walderman.

“I wish we had more honestly,” Rae said. “I’ve never done this. And now that I know I enjoy it, then I can go and do it more.”

See the JPS-TV version of this story here or below.

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