Lake Tahoe School kicked off the 2016-17 school year in grand style, with the entire LTS middle school attending the Tahoe Summit prior to embarking on their three day, two night Project Discovery team-building and goal-setting adventure on Mount Rose.

At the Tahoe Summit, Lake Tahoe School’s sixth through eighth graders had the opportunity to hear our nation’s President speak about something of a nonpartisan nature: working together to preserve the incomparable beauty of the Tahoe Basin.

“What a tremendous kickoff to what promises to be a truly memorable year in the life of our school,” said LTS Head of School Ruth Glass. “Not many of us ever have the opportunity to see a sitting president speak, much less such a historically important figure as Barrack Obama. Certainly, whether you are a Republican, Democrat, or Independent, if you live in the Tahoe Basin, you love to see the President speak about something so near and dear to our hearts here in Tahoe – keeping Tahoe protected for all of us to enjoy for generations to come.”

Seeing the President speak, said new Lake Tahoe School seventh grader Kade Martinez, was “a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“From seeing the president speak to sleeping in a tipi, there was no lack of exciting moments,” said Kenna Parker.

Housed in traditional Sioux tipis at Project Discovery’s Ropes Challenge Course in the scenic Mt. Rose Wilderness Area, Lake Tahoe School students worked together on the traditional year-opening middle school retreat objective: forming strong relationships and a sense of community on which teachers and students can build throughout the year. They prepared their meals in student-led cooking teams, hiked on Mount Rose, and enjoyed the 600-foot zip line and over 20 additional Ropes Challenge Course elements at Project Discovery.

“It was really a great way to kick off the school year on so many levels,” said Lake Tahoe School middle school math teacher Mr. Patrick Fleming, who arranged for the entire middle school to attend the Tahoe Summit by contacting Nevada Senator Harry Reid’s office. “One of our focal points here at Lake Tahoe School is helping students learn to be comfortable working together in both structured classroom and unstructured, adventure learning contexts. Another focal point is instilling in our students a real love of the outdoors, as well as an appreciation for the kind of collective effort it takes to preserve this incredible Tahoe ecosystem. On those and so many more levels, I felt like this year’s school year kickoff was such a tremendous success, and helped set the right tone for both new and returning students.

“And there is nothing quite like riding a zip line through the forests at night.”

Adventure learning, though, as we have all learned this summer here in Tahoe, is character building.

“One thing I didn’t like were the wasps that kept on trying to eat our food,” said Harrison Fung. “Another thing I would change is the heat at the President’s speech.”