The 18th of May was a pleasant spring day in Aurora, Colorado. The morning was cool and the air crisp. Deans of Students, Ms. Addison and Mr. Simpson awoke early, and rendezvoused with their respective groups, the SHARP Sistas’ and Brothas’, in the A’ West parking lot. Students stepped into the school van, and the drive to Golden, Colorado, home of the Colorado School of Mines, as well as gateway to some of the bigger canyons and rock crags in the Front Range commenced.

Meanwhile, Ms. Jodi Doyle, Truancy Advocate, Mr. Kardaleff, eighth grade social studies teacher, and Mr. Lipson, school counselor were already at North Table Mountain setting up top-rope rocks climbs for the sistas’ and brothas’.

At 8:00, Mr. Lipson met the crew of students and Deans in the lower North Table Mountain parking area. Students tightened their shoelaces, and back pack straps, and drank from their water bottles before hiking to the base of the cliff; a twenty minute uphill work out.

Students helped one another out on the approach hike. Those who felt strong carried others’ items. People stayed together, and looked out for one another’s safety and well-being.

At the base of the cliff, students took turns climbing various routes on the volcanic rock walls. Climbs were of various degrees of difficulty. The SHARP Sistas’ took the lead, and demonstrated how to get things done - climbing, resting when needed, and then pushing on towards the top.

For some participants, success was measured having hiked from parking lot to cliff base. For others, the experience was not complete until all available climbs had been attempted. Back in the parking lot, students and staff created metaphors inspired by the day’s climbs. Word and phrases like perseverance, compassion, healthy fun, good company, and finishing what one starts were discussed. It appears that lessons from rock climbing can be used in everyday life; including success in school.

Perhaps when AWCPA takes another climbing trip, you will want to join us?