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PAC kayak goes on tour

By Taylor Webster
Special to The SUN

Photo courtesy Stewart Bellina Students in the Pagosa Springs High School Pirate Achievement Center program gather after a hike to ancient Puebloan ruins near Butler Wash.  This was one of the educational stops the group made on their way to Lake Powell.

Photo courtesy Stewart Bellina
Students in the Pagosa Springs High School Pirate Achievement Center program gather after a hike to ancient Puebloan ruins near Butler Wash.  This was one of the educational stops the group made on their way to Lake Powell.

I am a student at Pagosa Springs High School, in the Pirate Achievement Center (PAC), a program where kids can work at their own pace.

In PAC, we do more than just school work; we get involved in lots of activities and community projects. We also take overnight trips twice a year.

Recently, we have been to Lake Powell, where we rebuilt part of the campground, studied the dam and swam a lot. Also, we went to the Sand Dunes and hiked in the rain to the highest dune and studied about how the dunes were formed.

An example of one of the activities we host every year is the Cooking Matters six-week course. Each spring, Todd and Kellie Stevens from the Alley House, along with Joan Ward and Erin Jolley, come to our building and teach us different ways to approach cooking and eat healthy. We take a trip to City Market, study food labels and compare prices in order to learn more about effective shopping. The Cooking Matters program sends us home with enough food to prepare the meal we learned in class for our families.

Another ongoing program is our partnership with Habitat for Humanity (HFH). For the past four years, Steve Koneman and Cindi Galabota have presented classroom lessons on affordable housing, home ownership, and construction and design. Then we move into the building part of the partnership. We have built window frames and door frames for houses, assisted in the wiring of houses, and are currently building a playhouse to auction off so we can donate the money to HFH. The playhouse is near completion now, and will be raffled off soon in order to give the proceeds to HFH for upcoming projects.

Lastly, the PAC recently completed a handmade wooden sea kayak. We had a boat launching party last spring at Lake Pagosa. The project took over a semester to complete and would not have been possible without the generous donations of time and materials from Ed Simpson.

We would like to invite the community to view the kayak at the Ross Aragon Community Center today and tomorrow, then at the Center for the Arts the week of Nov. 4-11. The following week, the kayak will be at the high school, middle school, and elementary schools as it ends it tour.

As you can see, the PAC program keeps us all very busy. We take on many amazing projects while continuing to maintain our education. Between the cooking class, our partnership with HFH, and all of our hard work on the recent sea kayak project, we’ve learned many new things while continuing to help the community. This program is very beneficial for the students of Pagosa Springs High School, and I only hope it continues to grow and flourish.

This story was posted on October 31, 2013.