Bath, ME (March 3, 2020) – It’s been a relatively mild winter for the coast of Maine, so Dike Newell Elementary School is chasing the snow all the way to Mt. Abram. For the fifth year in a row the school has received support for the Mt. Abram Ski Club to send second graders to the popular ski resort in Greenwood for a day of snow sports education.
“We wanted a way to get kids outside in the winter,” said second grade teacher Sue Michaud. “It’s such a great experience for them. We bring ski equipment into the classroom ahead of time so they can see what it looks like and show them videos from previous years.”
Students arrive at the mountain in the morning and receive their passes and equipment; students with adaptive needs are paired with their own instructors. Not yet coordinated enough on their skis for the chair lift, students ride the “magic carpet” to the practice slope. They are given an hour and a half of instruction, followed by lunch and free time to practice their skills.
“They start off where they can’t even stand on the skis,” said Michaud. “They work so hard and get looks of excitement on their faces as they start to get it. They really encourage each other.”
Students raise money for the trip with a walkathon in the fall, but a large portion of the cost is covered by a grant from the Mt. Abram Ski Club. This year, Dike Newell found a way to give back to the club by donating a special item to their annual auction fundraiser: a ski quilt.
“I have a volunteer – Wendy Ulmer – in my classroom who is a quilter,” explained Michaud. “She brought in materials and the kids helped cut and sew some pieces together, then they all signed the quilt. Deb Boucher of Tea Rose Quilting quilted snowflakes onto it. It was so beautiful.”
Students presented the quilt to ski club president Laurie Fitch and board member/ski instructor Shauna Schussler during their lesson; Schussler herself purchased the quilt at the auction.
Dike Newell Principal Jennifer McKay says that the ski trip is one of the many successful ways her staff are encouraging health and exercise in students, and hopes the tradition continues.