A group of outdoor enthusiasts from Phillips make up our Class of the Week. Students work outside two days a week, lining a 4.4 mile ski trail and a 3.4 mile hiking and snowshoe trail. It's all part of a curriculum called the PATH Program.
PATH Instructor Nancy Anderson says "The PATH program is for those who learn more by doing things and establishing things for future employment and post-secondary education. Rather than sitting in a classroom, they do most of their learning through programs."
The program is largely comprised of students in 8th grade and early high school. Many have been working on this project for several years. According to Anderson, "The project started about three years ago when the school district wanted to start using the school forest more as a community based facility and the ski trails moved out here, so they helped a group of retired men extend the ski trail, so the men would come out and use chainsaws, cut down the trees, these guys would do all the grunt work of moving everything, and when that was done, we realized we needed a place for snow-shoeing, hiking, and mountain biking. "These students don't just dig aimlessly. They are taught the International Mountain Biking Association guidelines for sustainable trails, so these paths will hold up for many years.
The students who have been a part of this feel a great sense of pride in what they've accomplished. Sophomore Jimmy Salsbury says "I'm emotionally attached to this place, because I've put my blood and sweat into this place."
Learning that makes the community a better place to live makes the Phillips PATH Program WakeUp Wisconsin's Class of the Week.