Thursday was our day to go to Glacier National Park. Our day started at the school as usual with basketball (and music for Ms. Byron, Daley, and a self-taught guitar prodigy Benny). Then it was off to class.
At ten we met with the head of the Language Immersion School. In the mid-80s, the Blackfeet elders decided to fight to preserve their language, about 10 years later they opened a school to teach the language, it began with 1st grade, and now is a 1-8 school. They now have about 200 Blackfeet speakers, compared to less than 50 thirty years ago.
After our speaker it was time for weekly mass. The homily reiterated the message against drugs and alcohol, followed by the students answering questions about the Ten Commandments. What caught our students off guard, was the "generous" sprinkling rite. The DLSBS students would gleefully scream and laugh has the were hit with the holy water coming off a very large palm frond.
Once mass was over we loaded the bus to Glacier, it is about a 30-40 minute drive to the park near St Mary's, and we actually saw a moose on the road. Our Immersion leader Jon said it was the first moose he had seen. We met with two volunteer Rangers, Ross and Erik, who lead us on a 3-mile hike, it snowed off and on, but was warm enough (45 degrees) to not stick. Along the way we stopped and looked at shrubs nibbled on by deer, a tree with loads of woodpecker evidence, a beaver dam and beaver lodge, and a tree that had been scratched by a grizzly bear. The main point of the ranger's talks focused on the interconnectiveness of the Eco-system, our students marveled at how much they learned. The hike ended at St Mary's Lake and stunning views of the mountains. Most of us dipped a finger or toe in the lake, it was the equivalent to taking a dip at Rye Beach or Winnipesaukee in May. Once again we loaded into the van and drove to a different part of the park, East Glacier or Two Medicine, to eat dinner. Most of us had bison burgers. The day and the hike wore a lot of our students out, and a few fell asleep on the bus.
Now it is Friday, the last day we will be here at the school. The 8th grade is leaving for a class trip to Chicago. They will spend about 30 hours on a train to get there. While in Chicago they will meet up with other De La Salle schools. We will begin our own long journey home tomorrow. Our students have greatly enjoyed their time here, but will be glad to get home and get some sleep. They have been really amazing to give up a school vacation to volunteer in a school. If you are reading this make sure you let them know how proud you are of what they have done this week, I know I am proud of them.