WCKA Newsletter - Fall Term 2007

We started out October with a trip to Gauleyfest, the largest whitewater festival in the states. With dozens of booths and festivities Gauleyfest is always packed with things to do. This year World Class put up their own booth to promote the Paddle-a-thon and our fundraising for Soft Power Health.

We completed yet another successful Paddle-a-thon. Paddling the Upper and Lower Gauley in a day, a staggering 52 miles, it's always surprising the extent the students will go to to help out the less fortunate. Half of the pledges raised will go to Soft Power Health and the remainder to the WCKA Scholarship Fund. Liquid Logic kayaks along with North American River Runners (NARR) came together to provide WCKA with enough long boats for us to complete the double marathon. Getting used to the long boats was quite the change for students used to paddling playboats full time. The group was trucking along so quickly in the morning on the first run that they ended up passing the water bubble released from the dam.

After a few more days at the Gauley and some brutal double days of school. We headed up to the National Championships of Freestyle Kayaking held at ASCI or the Adventure Sports Center International in Maryland. The whitewater park is nestled atop the WISP ski area. The course is roughly a half mile long and boasts 4 adjustable play features and a solid class III river run.

The competition started out with a downriver Boater X race with a five person head to head start. Racers had to weave in and out of gates between rocks and even back upstream in places. Everyone had a good time with the race, being that it was the first Boater X for most of the students.

The Freestyle Competition was held on two features with alternating rides on each feature. The first feature was more of a wave and the second more of a hole. World Class came out strong at nationals this year with 2 out of the top five places. Colorado Sophomore Mike Palmer came in a close second behind Dane Jackson with full rides of consistent tricks. Senior Max Lentz came in fourth with the two biggest moves of the junior mens. Max's completely aerial front loops could have easily rivaled even the largest moves from the pro men's class. After learning McNastys only half an hour before finals, Max also threw the biggest one in competition.


WCKA Newsletter - August & September 2007


In Physics, we held a Newton's Laws lesson at a pool table, and have also been studying centripetal force via an online lab and discussions about satellites. In Kristi's Biology class, they are studying biofuels and their positive and negative effects on the environment. The Chemistry class is also studying biofuels from an atomic perspective while also learning about the history of the discovery of the atom. Chemists like J.J. Thompson, Ernest Rutherford, and Niels Bohr are the subjects of their lessons. Kristi is also teaching videography, where the students are finishing their "What is ______" projects, which helped the students figure out the cameras and Final Cut editing software. They are also beginning their group projects for the semester video. Josh's math classes include Geometry, Pre-Calc, and Calculus, where they are studying trigonometry, polynomial functions, and the definitions of limits and derivatives, respectively. Algebra 2 is learning about linear functions and inequalities over which they have just finished testing.

In U.S. History, Dave's class is studying the American Revolution. They are comparing the war experiences during that time to what we learned on our tour of Gettysburg. In Government, the students are studying the foundations of American Government, through economic systems. American Literature has finished reading Kurt Vonnegut's, Slaughterhouse Five, and have begun to read Ralph Ellison's, Invisible Man. They have written stories both forwards and backwards. British Lit has finished going through Old and Middle English works like Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal and excerpts from Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales. They are well on their way through George Orwell's, 1984.

Spanish 1 is finally learning enough to put together short conversations. WIth verb conjugations down, their next step is learning more vocabulary. Spanish 2 is reading a short story called Pobre Ana, along with learning new vocabulary and verb tenses.


Our paddling started off in Montana on the Alberton Gorge of the Clark Fork River. Although the water was low, there were several features like Split Rock, McLovin Hole and Fang. However, we realized what we'd been missing after we arrived at the Ottawa River the first week of September. For a week and a half, we played at McCoy's and Garberator, two rapids which have several big play features each. At McCoy's rapid, we were spread out between three features: Corner Wave, Left Side, and Baby Face. Garberator, with the world-famous constriction wave that bears its name was fast and bouncy. Below Garb, there was a smaller, more consistent wave called Push Button that was perfect for practicing our surfing technique. With Wilderness Tours being so close to the river, some of our morning workouts were spent kayaking, giving us many hours a day on the river.

After the Ottawa, we paddled the Rouge River in between Ottawa and Montreal for a day. The Rouge, which is known for its easy, class IV waterfalls, was running high, so we had to portage several drops. However, the rest of the river was juicy and the river run gave us a break from the park-and-play routine we had gotten into at the Ottawa.

In Montreal, we paddled the epic surf waves at Lachine for five days. There were two main waves: Big Joe and Pyramid, all on the same rapid. Big Joe is known for yielding big moves, so it was awesome for practicing aerial tricks. On the last day, we had a WCKA surf-off, where Davis Gove took first place, Skyler Mavor and Michael Palmer tied for second and third, and Max Lentz and Sam Freihofer tied for fourth and fifth.

Community and Culture

Our surroundings are constantly changing at World Class, but each place has its unique characteristics. Tarkio and Wilderness Tours provided comfortable facilities for us, while the KOA in Montreal gave us a chance to practice our outdoor living and cooking skills. We were able to spend a morning in the Old Town sector of Montreal, which greatly resembles a city in Europe. All the French-speaking Canadians made the experience even more authentic.

We spent our first night back in the Sates in Hanover, New Hampshire at Sam's mother's house where she greeted us with a steak and lobster dinner. It was amazing. From Hanover, we drove to Pennsylvania were we spent a whole day attending field trips. In the morning, we visited the Keystone Biofuels plant, which has the largest distribution of biodiesel in Pennsylvania. We were shown through the whole process of making the fuel, from the raw soybean oil and pig fat that comes in, to the titrations, mixing and washing tanks, to the final product of B100 biodiesel. The owner of the plant, Race Minor, not only gave us a personal tour, but also let us stay at his beautiful home in Harrisburg.

In the afternoon, we travelled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where we toured the famous Civil War battlefield. Our tour guide gave us interesting details of the battle--like Picket's Charge and Little Round Top--that were crucial in determining the outcome. Surveying the battlefield gave us powerful insight into how scary and intimidating it must have been to fight in the battle that many consider to have been the climax of the War.

We're looking forward to more river running on the Yough, Gauley, and Green rivers for the next few weeks. It feels good to be back in the states and we're expecting to see several WCKA alumni at the upcoming events of Gauley Fest and US Nationals in Maryland. A special thanks again to Dr. Dave Guth, the Garcia Family, Penny Breed, and Race Minor for their generous hospitality.


Because of the top-notch steep creeks, waterfalls and Class IV-V rivers littered throughout California’s Sierra and the Pacific Northwest, April and May paddling workouts were focused on developing river-running and safe creekboating technique. We held a throw rope and pin-kit clinic in order to familiarize everyone with their safety gear, and multiple “boof” clinics were organized as well.

We also split the group in order to maximize safety and skill development. Those with more experience were able to tackle some of the West Coast’s more difficult runs, while others worked up to paddling harder drops throughout the entire quarter. While based out of Gold Rush on the American River in Lotus, California, we mixed things up with fun play runs down the classic Chili Bar section and creek runs down Golden Gate, Kyburz, South Silver, and the Yuba.

On our way north to Oregon, we stopped for a few days of fun on the Burnt Ranch Gorge section of the Trinity, camped in the Redwoods, boogied down the Upper South Smith, and surfed nice waves in Crescent City, California. Here the group split also allowed a small crew of students and staff the unique opportunity to do a self-support overnight trip on Southern Oregon’s famed Illinois River, while another van went for a big wave surf safari on the Oregon Coast.

The rivers of the Willamette Valley in Oregon, the Columbia River Gorge, and those of southern Washington provided an excellent variety of steep rapids for the students to apply their training and to safely push themselves on challenging whitewater at the end of the year. Near Eugene, the Miracle Mile of the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River turned out to be a great after-school creek run full of continuous whitewater. Canyon Creek, the Lower Wind, the White Salmon and the Little White Salmon gave students lots of fun waterfall action. Billy Boylan placed first in the junior division of the Canyon Creek Race.

Everyone enjoyed the time spent paddling together on the big play holes and waves of the Clark Fork during finals week at Tarkio. Evan Garcia took home another big win at the Best of the West Rodeo in the Alberton Gorge.

Students and faculty pushed hard to make the fourth quarter of 2007 a quality academic experience. The outdoor classrooms at riverside campgrounds created a notable contrast to all of the laptop computers on picnic tables and stacks of textbooks and novels piled outside tents. For instance, it was remarkable to take in the scene of groups of three or four students interacting with their teachers, in the shade of giant Redwoods on the banks of the crystalline Smith River. Travel days meant catching up with reading assignments in the vans, and big tests or due dates brought people together for pre-dawn study sessions. The students even sacrificed an afternoon of boating for a field trip to the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, one of the nation’s highest producers of hydropower. All of the hard work paid off when we finally rolled into Montana for finals week and graduation at pastoral Tarkio, owned by Dr. Dave Guth.

The Class of 2007 was WCKA’s largest graduating class to date: Alex Dalgleish, Glenn Dalgleish, Mikael Ekstrom, Evan Garcia, Philip Gordon, Gharett Meng, Sam Mershon, Justin Patt, Elsa Schroeter and Andrea Triplitt. Each of these students was an incredible addition to the World Class community, and their generation will surely step into the greater kayaking community and academic communities with the same high standards of character and motivation they exhibited while traveling with World Class.

Dr. Philip West, father of WCKA alumnus and Mansfield Professor of Modern Asian Affairs at the University of Montana, gave the commencement address. He spoke to the students of the significance of their individual experiences in rural China, and he brought that expedition into the broader context of the emerging power of the East and the necessity to be open to different cultures and global communication. He reminded all of us of the special opportunity that we have been presented with to be educated beyond the limits of a classroom. After Dr. West’s address, faculty (mentors) presented their “mentees” with individual speeches, and the students shared some of their experiences at World Class as well.

Director Scott Doherty presented junior Billy Boylan and Spanish teacher Whitney Lonsdale with awards for Student of the Year and Teacher of the Year, respectively. These awards are given annually to the student and teacher who represent the best of the World Class Kayak Academy’s mission to uphold the highest standards of academics, athletics, and character.

We look forward to another great year in ’07 and ’08 studying, kayaking and traveling in Canada, Africa, Chile and the East and West Coasts of the United States. Kristi Murrin and David Zinn will be returning to teach all year. Professional kayaker Josh Bechtel and alumnus Dan West will be joining Kristi and Dave in the fall to teach with World Class as new faculty.

PHOTOS (click on each to enlarge):
1) Matt Eddy practices his boof in California.
2) Evan Garcia and Billy Boylan are pumped for another run down the Burnt Ranch Gorge.
3) Tyler Ferris is excited about the Bonneville Dam tour.


WCKA Newsletter - Spring 2007

Welcome to California
By Justin Patt and Evan Garcia

Our return from China and the end of break marked the beginning of the fourth quarter. We loaded the trailers and filled up the vans for the first leg of our long road trip, up and down the West Coast of the USA. The Montana kids and all teachers met early the morning of the 13th and picked up the remaining students in Portland that same afternoon. Ten hours later our two vans pulled into Portland International Airport to the sight of many familiar faces. Once loaded with the kids and all their gear, we continued our way south to California, land of the granite slides.

Spending the night in a creekside campground just south of LJ and Dave’s home town of Eugene, Oregon, we woke up and headed south once again. We passed through Mount Shasta to pick up gear, then turned south toward the San Joaquin Valley. Trailer troubles and a long dinner stop delayed us a few hours making it to Sacramento, where Justin Patt met us to further the push to the Kaweah. Another night on the ground passed, and we finally found ourselves driving east toward the town of Three Rivers, home of the Kaweah River and gateway to Sequoia National Park.

We woke to bright blue skies and the powerful California sun. We paddled the Hospital Rock section of the Kaweah. After a solid week of kayaking and new patches of poison oak for some, we visited Sequoia National Park for beautiful vistas and the General Sherman, arguably the world’s largest tree.

After a great week in Three Rivers, we headed to Kernville for some low- water creeking on Brush Creek. Two nights and one very snowy morning passed, and we started the long haul to Yosemite. We passed up the dry Tule River and arrived in Yosemite National Park during a full moon, put our food in bear boxes, and rested for the long day ahead of us. The next day we had a beautiful hike to Vernal Falls and prepared to paddle the Merced and Tuolomne Rivers the following day.

We paddled the next day, and while one group ate burritos, and the rest ate California’s specialty: In-N-Out Burger. We rolled into Coloma with tired eyes and full bellies.


By Andrea Triplitt, Philip Gordon, Alex Dalgleish

Jeff Moore of Livingston, Montana, replaced Whitney Lonsdale as the Spanish teacher for the fourth quarter. His Spanish I class has only one student and they have covered more than he expected. They have been learning vocabulary of the kitchen as well as basic verb tenses. The largest Spanish class, Spanish III, has six students. They are reviewing verb tenses (present, imperfect and preterite) and reading a novel in Spanish, Viva El Toro. Jeff’s third class, Spanish IV, has been reviewing river anatomy and vocabulary associated with kayaking gear. They are also reading excerpts from a novel about a young girl living in the Dominican Republic. Jeff says, “Overall, Spanish classes are going great and I love being here at World Class.”

Polk’s video class is hard at work on this year’s semester video. They finished learning the tricks of Final Cut Pro, and have moved on to editing their own footage. They are currently learning how to make songs on Garage Band, as well as how to post videos on the web through servers and blogs. “The semester video will be a true picture of World Class,” says Mikael “Sweden” Ekstrom.

The U.S. Government class is finishing up its study of United States’ foreign policy of the last 50 years. Teacher Dave Zinn also covered issues related to defense and Homeland Security. The class read and discussed an article on multilateralism.

In the U.S. History class, students are concluding the chapter on World War II and their discussion of the factors that triggered the war. The class is also reading Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody. This book introduces life in the South in the 1950s and leads up to the study of the Civil Rights Movement.

In Cultural Studies of China, students are reading Red China Blues by Jan Wang. The book covers significant events of Communist China’s history, such as the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989. Jan Wang was a reporter during the incident and gives a firsthand account of what she saw. The class is still discussing ancient history as well as current politics. Recently, the class read an article about a religious group with a million followers that was banned by the Chinese government.

The literature classes are both engaged in classic books. The American literature class is reading Dharma Bums, by Jack Kerouac. The book follows a “rucksack wanderer” around the nation, and it relates well to our tour of California. As the World Class crew moves into Oregon, we will begin Ken Kesey’s novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

British Literature is reading The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford. The class had some initial doubts about the book, but they soon came to understand why it is acclaimed as a great British novel. In their future are A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

Math classes began the fourth quarter with many exciting topics. LJ Groth’s Algebra II class finished up their study of logarithms and then began periodic functions and trigonometry. They are using their new knowledge to interpret surf reports mathematically. Dave Zinn has a new class because of the addition of our new student Tyler Ferris, and they are learning about probability ratios and similar figures in Geometry. Calculus worked on finding the volume of shapes between two functions, using discs and cylinders. The Pre-Calculus class worked on constructing wave graphs in sin and cosine.

Environmental Science had an exciting month learning about the water cycle. They are also working on presentations from the book Stuff, which covers every resource used in the production of everyday items. Gharett Meng recently completed his presentation on hamburgers, explaining the grain, water, gas, and hormones needed to make one hamburger. Chemistry is studying the five chemical reactions and learning how to recognize them in everyday life. Physics class is “lighting up” with their study of electricity.

By Sam Mershon, Glenn Dalgleish, Billy Boylan

Our first stop on the West Coast tour was the Kaweah River in Three Rivers, California. We utilized the group-split technique to cater to various skill levels. Hospital Rock is a harder Class IV-V section located in Sequoia National Park. Those who weren't ready for such difficult rapids paddled the lower section of technical Class III-IV boulder drops below the park entrance. Despite low water, everyone enjoyed both sections of the Kaweah.

From there we headed south to the arid landscape of the Kern River drainage in hopes of finding water from snowmelt. We did an extremely low descent of Brush Creek, which had waterfalls of up to 10 feet. We were guided down this steep granite ditch by local brewery owner and Olympian Eric Giddens. The Brush Creek waterfalls were the first free-fall drops for some students, and they thrilled the whole group. We also paddled a Class IV section of the Kern with Eric's wife, Rebecca, current Olympic Silver Medalist. Next, we drove to the Tule, only to find an inadequate amount of water, making it too low to kayak.

After our tourist trek through Yosemite, we did another group split — half paddled the Class V drops of the Cherry Creek section of the Tuolumne and the other half took advantage of the classic stretch of the Merced, downstream from the Yosemite Park gates. We ended March in Coloma at the South Fork of the American. The American drainage is full of a variety of fun California whitewater.

For morning workouts we took advantage of the USA's wide-open spaces to play Ultimate Frisbee. We also played "Sanctioned Ultimate," where the team that loses a point must do push-ups, sit-ups, or a quick cardio-workout. We'll finish the quarter traveling through Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and Montana.

1) Philip Gordon and Alex Dalgleish enjoy the view from the top of Morrow Rock in Sequoia National Park.
2) Evan Garcia digs hard on Cherry Creek of the Tuolomne.
3) Andrea Triplitt leads the way on the Merced River, below Yosemite National Park.

WCKA Newsletter - Fall Term 2006

Waiting for the Green in Flat Rock, NC

by LJ Groth

Our new history and government teacher and good friend, David Zinn, greeted us at the door of Whitney and Shane’s place. It was a nice welcome after a long drive down from the Gauley. Before long, the WCKA crew unleashed its oppressive wrath of “stuff” on the basement of the house, transforming a quiet home into an unruly hostel full of young travelers.

Unfortunately, the Tuxedo hydro station was under repair for most of the week. Because water levels on the Green are contingent on releases from the lake in Tuxedo, this meant that the Green River Narrows did not run as often as we and most of the Asheville kayaking community would have hoped. However, we took advantage of the extra time to do school work, and we fit in an extra whole day of classes. We also took advantage of the opportunity to cook in a well-stocked kitchen. Hot breakfasts and gourmet dinners were the norm for the week.

All of our hard work in the classroom paid off when we woke up to the good news of a release on the Green for our final day together before the fall break. We celebrated coach Karl Moser’s birthday the night before with a giant feast from the grill, and we all went to bed with our fingers crossed and high hopes for a birthday release. Guided by Shane Benedict, a small crew of faculty and students made a safe and fun descent of the mighty Narrows. The group’s confidence and precision in the midst of such challenging rapids was impressive. Whitney guided the rest of the students and teacher, Shannon Ongaro, down the Upper Green.

This marked Shannon’s last day with the WCKA for the 2006-07 school year. She will be finishing up the year with The Traveling School in Africa. Shannon is an amazing teacher and travel companion. We all hope she makes her way back to the World Class scene sometime soon.

Final Thoughts
by LJ Groth

As I write this, the storm-scarred New Orleans landscape flashes by in the periphery. Naked trees, stripped houses, fallen signs, and broken windows are part of the patchwork that also includes neighborhoods untouched by disaster and those in the process of rebuilding amongst the rubble. The students flew home from Atlanta, GA, for a short break between quarters. We, the faculty, are heading south for the border. For most of us, this marks our first trip through the Deep South and mainland Mexico. We will regroup with the whole team in one week, prepared for an exciting quarter abroad.

On long road trips like this one, and like the one the students just completed, I can’t help but think about the things we notice “on the way.” We drive by, walk through, float past, stand next to, smell, and hear: the endless cow pastures of the Ottawa Valley, the French graffiti of Montreal, chemical factories in Delaware, the extraordinarily diverse international community in our nation’s capital, the rolling hills and lush forests of the Appalachians, West Virginia coal towns, taxidermy shops of western North Carolina, and low riders on the streets of the ATL. These sensory experiences give definition to the journey. They add up to create our ultimate perception of where we are going and of where we have been. Basically, our drive to school is a pretty unique form of daily commute. Often times, the voyage to reach our final destination is equally as impressive as the experience at the destination itself.

Mexico, here we come! The trailers are loaded and the vans awkwardly empty. We, the teachers, look forward to exploring travertine waterfalls and testing out the food and accommodations in preparation for the students’ arrival. We will meet up with the students in Veracruz, and we will begin our first week of classes in the river town of Jalcomulco. I can’t wait to see what we find on the way there.

The D.C. Experience and Good Times at the Yough
by Alex Dalgleish

Our drive to Washington DC from upstate New York was not too bad. We spent three days in our nation’s capital. The duration of the first day was spent at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, where the students learned about Hitler and his rise to power, as well as the struggle of Jewish people. The travel to the museum was an interesting and new experience for most students. We cruised around town on the underground metro and got to sleep in beds for three nights — a rarity at World Class.

On the second day in the District of Columbia the school embarked on a massive journey traveling to museums, memorials, and numerous other historical destinations. The first stop was the Botanical Garden, where there were multiple rooms for all kinds of climates. After that short stop, the crew walked across the street to the Capitol. The first stop in the Capitol was the dome. At the top was a massive painting of George Washington surrounded by thirteen virgin women, which represented the thirteen original colonies. In the same room there were paintings such as the signing of the Declaration of the Independence and Washington winning the Revolutionary War. In the next room we saw where the original Congress was located. In it were statues of remarkable people throughout history. Downstairs, there was a white star on the floor. George Washington’s remains were asked to be moved there, but his family had refused. It is said that all streets in Washington start from the white star because the Capitol is in the center of the city.

After the Capitol, World Class walked half an hour to the Smithsonian Museum. The group saw numerous spiders, insects, and bugs, as well as rooms dedicated to Africa and the Arctic area. They were lucky enough to view a tarantula feeding, but it didn’t eat and has not eaten for about five months.

Next, the crew headed another half hour down the street for the Lincoln Memorial. On the journey we saw the Washington Memorial. At the Lincoln Memorial the group gazed at the enormous sculpture of Lincoln. The vans picked us up from there.

The next day the school had a full day of classes. We had to pack up from our shelter and beds, unfortunately. At the end of the day, the group helped amputee veterans learn how to roll. Elsa and Ben assisted one of the more advanced paddlers to perfect her roll. The veterans were part of a group called Team River Runner. After the pool practice, it was time to leave DC. The vans headed to Baltimore, Maryland, to pick up Joel and LJ. Joel had an eye appointment at the illustrious Johns Hopkins Medical Center. Once united, the crew headed to Pennsylvania to paddle the Youghiogheny River.

The first day we slammed out a five-hour day of classes, then the group tested out their creek boats on the Loop section of the Lower Yough. We were all excited to be sleeping in the comfortable beds of Robin and Dan’s riverfront Paddler’s Lane B&B in Confluence, PA. That night, thanks to Erica and Andy at Lucky Dog Café, we were presented with free pizza for dinner. For a lot of the students, the following day was a very cool experience — their first day of creek boating. The Upper Yough is a classic Class IV-IV+ section of East Coast whitewater. The group had an awesome day on the water guided by local paddlers: The Big Bird (Kevin), Isaac, Erica, and LJ. There were some scary moments for some, but everyone came off the river with a smile.

West Virginia and the Gauley: Wavesport Open, Paddle-A-Thon, and LJ Swims!!
by Evan Garcia

To The Gauley we went. The short drive after the Upper Yough cruised by with incredible speed after the delectable Mexican food dinner we ate in Morgantown, WV. We rolled in to Battle Run Camp late, but not late enough. The WCKA junk show was in full effect with 20 tents, 19 Rubbermaid boxes, 19 dry bags and 36 kayaks.

The following day we postponed classes in order to paddle the Upper Gauley. This was no normal day on the good old U.G., but rather the Wave Sport Open. This is one of the most exciting competitions in modern-day kayaking. It is free to anyone, and is judged by video. There are five parts to this glorious Open: Best run through Pillow Rock rapid (a juicy Class IV rapid); Best single move in P.R.; Best (or worst) carnage in P.R.; a mass-start race through P.R.; and a big air competition on Bat Wave, a mile downstream. Evan Garcia took third in the “Best Move” category with an explosive kickflip at the top of the rapid. Coach LJ and Glenn Dalgleish competed in the mass-start race. The race was total chaos, and LJ and Glenn battled their way to the finish with 30+ boaters barreling down the pushy rapid at once. After this full day of fun we ate dinner, picked up our long, old-school kayaks, and went to bed early in anticipation for the Paddle-A-Thon only a few hours away.

We woke up at 6:30 a.m. and ate a filling breakfast prepared by our faithful Math teacher Kristi. Our plan for the day was basic: paddle 52 miles on the Gauley River in order to raise money for our service project in China. However, the logistics of our day were menacing. We had to get on the water no later than 8:00 a.m., bringing us back to the put-in for the second lap before 3:00 p.m., when they shut the water off, making the river a small, haggard stream. Liquid Logic’s own Willie Kern, Shane Benedict, and Polk Deters joined the team for the grueling day of non-stop paddling. The event went according to plan, with everyone (minus two students) paddling both laps, completing the 52 miles of whitewater/flatwater. The entertainment came when LJ, the Assistant Coach, realized he could not roll his 14-foot sea kayak consistently. Coach LJ kept everyone smiling with seven swims in 52 miles of Gauley Class IV in the Liquid Logic Pisgah.

The rest of our short stay at the Gauley included a six-hour session of school, lunch at Tudor's Biscuit World, incessant rain thoroughly soaking our tents, and a last good day of playing down the classic Upper Gauley River. We were all sad to leave the cool waters and beautiful canyons of West Virginia, but everyone had the butterflies for our arrival in North Carolina, because for many this would signify their first trip down the legendary Green River Narrows.



WCKA Newsletter - 2006 Paddle-A-Thon Special Event

Dear World Class Community,

We hope you are well and enjoying some early fall days in whatever part of the world this finds you. Already in the third week of school, the Fall 2006 WCKA crew are enjoying their final days on the big water of Canada before heading south toward the Gauley. Like paddlers all over the country, we look forward to the great whitewater the Gauley has to offer, and Gauley season has also come to have a new meaning for us. It's the time of year when we put our boats in motion for an epic day of whitewater and fundraising.

2006 will be the third year of the Annual WCKA Paddle-A-Thon. This year we will paddle 52 miles on the Gauley with two fundraising goals: the China Culture and Environment Project and the WCKA Scholarship Fund.

China Culture and Environment Project. Home to 14 different ethnic minorities, nine primary ecosystems, and the upper reaches of three of Asia's biggest rivers, the Yunnan province is one of the most biologically and culturally diverse places on Earth. The environment there is threatened by industries such as mining and clear-cutting, and the people are very poor. The money raised in the Paddle-A-Thon will be used to send two Chinese students from poor villages in southwestern Yunnan to a regional university. These students will study natural resource management and/or ecotourism with the aim of working in the region in the future to protect the environment and to develop sustainable and responsible tourism. WCKA students and faculty also plan to do hands-on volunteering with The Nature Conservancy in local communities, working to promote sustainable energy and green-building practices.

WCKA Scholarship Fund. The WCKA Scholarship Fund will help qualified students attend World Class regardless of their financial status. Students who apply for scholarship at WCKA are considered equally on the basis of academics, athletics, character, and financial need.

50% of the money pledged will go to the China Culture and Environment Project and 50% to the WCKA Scholarship Fund. All donations are tax deductible. Donors can give checks directly to the paddler or ask to be billed by WCKA. We cannot accept credit card donations.

Pledge Gifts. All donors who give $50 or more will receive a Paddle-A-Thon T-shirt. Donors who give $150 or more will receive either a pair of Method or Bauhaus Smith sunglasses or a Lotus Designs PFD. (First preferences for gift choice go to the highest donors.)

Thank you for your continued support. We are so grateful for the wonderful community that surrounds us.

WCKA Newsletter - April 2006

Although the year may be winding down, it sure doesn’t mean that our teachers are. In fact, it is the exact opposite. Teachers and students alike are working extra hard to get everything done and turned in before finals start next month. Since finals are closing in, all the teachers have been working extra hard to get the students ready for the tests. No worries, parents, students are working just as hard as ever and keeping their grades up. In Chemistry they have been learning about solutions and — brace yourselves — Ions in Aqueous solutions and Colligative properties. In Environmental Science students have been working on separate projects about different subjects, such as human impact on the environment, using a book called The Consumers Guide To Effective Environmental Choices. World Literature was assigned a final paper on the book Crime and Punishment, to write your own crime story, which everyone involved enjoyed very much and were creative about. Now, at the end of the month, with finals being only a week away, people are starting to hunker down and get all their studying in before the tests next month since we have only three days of classes left. Wish us luck and hope for the best!

After our Rendezvous at the airport we drove down to sunny Visalia, which did not stay sunny for long. We experienced two weeks of nearly straight rain. Campsites flooded and people had to move their tents. The KOA staff was kind enough to grant us use of a kitchen and common room for classes and hanging out. On an off day, we drove up to Sequoia National Park and looked at the flooding Hospital Rock section of the Middle Kaweah. We then drove up past the snow line to take a look at the giant sequoia trees where the snow was five feet deep and we were all in shorts and sandals. We all enjoyed a WCKA snowball fight. We visited General Sherman, the biggest (in volume) tree in the world. At the Sequoia Museum we learned about other large trees and the specific climate needed for the Giant Sequoia to grow.

After completing our time in Visalia we moved home base to Coloma where we stayed at the Gold Rush Rafting Company. After about four days we moved to the Patts’ residence in Nevada City. They were brave enough to invite us into their house. They were very hospitable, cooking us dinner one night and allowing us to sleep on their couches, use their shower, wash our clothes and do class inside. In the middle of the night our sorely missed friend Keith “Chiseki” arrived. After spending three days celebrating Chiseki’s long-awaited return, we packed our bags and headed off to Mt. Shasta in Northern California where we got to stay at Shon’s house for two nights. While we were there Shon led everyone down one of his favorite sections of the Sacramento River Box Canyon, which everyone enjoyed very much. During our stay, some of us were lucky enough to go for ice cream with Shon and some of his friends. After a nice relaxing couple of days we packed up and did a world class (no pun intended) spit shine to get Shon’s house back to its normal state of cleanliness.

Down in Visalia
The rivers were pumping,
The high water can
Sure get your heart pumping.

The Middle Kaweah at flood,
The river is stained,
The color of mud,
Big waves and holes,
Are a lot of fun,
The boof is almost,
Your only stroke,
Miss one and your swimming,
Try not to choke.

The North Kaweah,
Our first real creek,
Those slides and boofs,
Are pretty darn sweet.
Down we went through Class IV,
But when we came to the portage,
Evan wanted some more.
We saved the falls for another day,
Continuing down the river,
On our own way.
Fun boofs, slides and rapids
Finished the run,
But not before Adrienne had
Some more fun.
Into the hole she went end over end,
Then she swam out,
Not wanting to go in there again.

On the weekend we went on a hike,
We brought our boats,
Thought it would be tight,
Polk said, “Follow me!”
The creek is up here.
We followed him,
Our fearless leader.
Up, UP we went,
But never down,
Is this the right way?
No one could say.
When we found snow,
We knew we were wrong,
We held back our tears,
Trying to stay strong.
We were six miles up the trail,
We had hiked for so long,
Down, down we went,
Begging our legs not to fail,
12 miles in all with our boats on our head.
I’ll tell you right now,
We were happy to be fed.

North Kaweah was flooding,
Yes, we were there,
Big rapids and slides,
That can raise you hair.
The portage was run
By Polk O’ee and Evan.
They said it was fun,
Man, those guys sure have big guns.

The rains chased us away,
And off we went,
On sun, hell bent.

The Gold Rush, our new home,
Is no longer hushed,
The crows are no longer alone.

All the creeks are too high,
So out come the short boats.
Man, these things hardly float.
We surfed a wave,
No need to be brave,
Not scared to swim.
You’ll never have to be saved.

A short hike in,
To thirty-foot falls,
But you need the balls.

Slab Creek was some
Bigwater Class IV,
Punching big holes,
A challenge,
But fun.

Weber Creek was pretty sweet,
Good slides and falls,
And a double drop
Everyone got down.
Pretty hot.

Off we went to Justin’s house,
It was no longer as quiet as a mouse.
We did the Yuba, Fork South,
Again a river crazy high,
In our playboats the bank raced by,
Some sweet surf and rapids too,
Fun, but nothing new.

Back to Gold Rush after we made our mark,
The Patts finally have a place to park.
Sun on the river is something fine,
We got it again after a long time.
The South American was our river,
Golden Gate, Chili Bar, and Cyberz Run,
So different but fun for everyone.

Golden Gate was quite a day,
The gauge online said 1250,
So we said OK.
We put on believing the gauge,
We had no idea the river was a rage.
The first rapid someone swam,
And our guide got beat,
Later he decided to exit on his feet.
The big rapids were not runnable,
Not even close.
We bumped down the side,
Trying to not get hosed,
We were glad we finished,
Before the day closed.

Cyberz and Artic Mine,
Are runs considered fine,
Fun waves and awesome lines.

Cascade Locks, our next stop,
That is a place
With runs I like a lot,
Green Truss, farmlands, and the Little White,
Something for everyone to experience a little fright.

The Green Truss is great,
High volume and steep,
Definitely not a creek.
Bob’s, Double Drop and ZigZag,
All rapids that are sweet,
BZ poses a threat,
Orion fired it up,
Then he got wet.

Farmland and Husum,
Also on the White,
Gave some students,
Their dose of fright,
Farmlands is super swirly,
But the rapids were not burly.
Husum was a blast,
Plugging deep and
Popping up with a splash.

The Little White is epic,
But in a good way,
The waterfalls and rapids,
Make for a good day,
Spirit provides butterflies,
Flows into Chaos,
A place I want to be not.
We ran it twice,
And some people fired it up,
Jake, Adrienne, Evan, and Shon
Ran it and said,
“That was the bomb!”
Adrienne at seventeen,
Youngest woman to run the Little White,
Awesome to me,
But not exactly every little girl’s dream.

How could I forget?
We did Morning Workout too,
Running and jumping,
In our fancy shoes,
Ultimate is always fun,
And everyone got really strong.

ACADEMICS by Keith “Chiseki” McConnaughay
ACTIVITIES by Jake Sakson and Keith “Chiseki” McConnaughay
ATHLETICS by Jake Sakson


WCKA Newsletter - March 2006

Welcome to our newest newsletter! We would like to take this opportunity to extend our best wishes and a “get well soon” to our dear teammate Keith "Chiseki" McConnaughay, who is recovering from an illness picked up in Chile. We all miss you!


In March, Environmental Science learned about food distribution and international aide while examining and weighing the benefits and consequences of each. Government class continued to study the Chilean political system and on March 11 watched the inauguration of the western hemisphere's first female President, Michele Bachelet. World Literature has been discussing the literary theme of super humanism through reading Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment. Future famous philosophers, Jesse Hall and Jake Sakson, have been preparing their first treatises for World History class. Spanish students studiously soaked up Chilean culture and language for the last two weeks of our journey. But to our surprise, we have had ample opportunities to hear and speak Espanol in southern California.


Our first March morning Ultimate game was shortly followed by group cow milking. The calves spent the night in the barn mooing to their mothers, who were kept outside. Humans inhabiting the barn endured a sleepless night because of this and were forced to have a midnight battle of wills against the cows. The following morning we pondered having veal for breakfast but settled for fresh milk in a cream of onion soup instead. The locals instructed us in the art of pulling utters and cow handling. A few days later we purchased two live sheep for an asado, a Chilean feast. However, we were faced with the dilemma of being incapable of eating live sheep. It was very educational to watch the sheep be killed, skinned, and gutted. For most of the students, this was their first experience with death. The asado was incredible and the meat delicious. Most students went after the cooked sheep with nothing but a large knife and their bare hands. Eating meat from a beast we had once seen alive was quite an experience and opened our eyes to the fact that meat is more than just food.
After another week of paddling on the Futaleufu, we packed up our camp and began the journey up the dusty road to the town of Futa. Though it was impossible to be dissatisfied with the Futa, studying, eating, sleeping, working out, and kayaking in the incessant rain eventually took its toll on everybody. To our dismay, we were unable to pass over the Chilean border because of our van paper work, or lack thereof. We barely escaped the border police with our van and holed up in a safe house in the town of Futa. We headed out in the opposite direction to the port town of Chaiten the following day. The students, disheartened because of the change of plans, were thrilled to hear that there was a traveling all-girls school with thirty-one seventeen-year-olds who were interested in meeting us. We rendezvoused with the girls at a small restaurant after dinner, and to put the icing on the cake, we learned we were going to be confined on the ferry with these girls for 12 hours. The ferry ride was enjoyable to say the least, and it was a sad parting when we hit the shore of Puerto Montt.

Immediately after settling into our hip hotel in Puerto Montt, we set out for a late night dinner, during which we ate half of all the sea life in the Pacific Ocean. The other half we saved for lunch the following day. We spent the day shopping, pausing periodically to pillage Chilean chocolate and chowdown seafood. We boarded the nicest bus in Chile (literally) for the eleven-hour ride to San Fernando, where we transferred to a somewhat less classy one for the four-hour ride to Pichelemu. The week at the beach provided a nice winding-down period before the long hall north. We were grateful to move into rooms, not tents, where we could watch football (soccer) 24/7. By that time we were all sporting the jerseys of our favorite local team, and you could cut the tension with a knife.

After surfing the monumental waves for a week, we headed to Santiago for yet another asado at Israel, our trusty cook's mother's house. His extended family welcomed us into their home for cooked meat and sandwiches. After lunch we tried our hand at foosball, breaking and setting records constantly before we left for the airport and our flight stateside. Most agree that it feels strange to conduct daily life without Spanish as a major ingredient.



Athletics in Futaleufu consisted of rough running under the mystical moon and sparkling stars by headlamp every morning. After stretching and strength training, the sun would silhouette the surrounding summits. Students' big water reading and kayaking abilities improved greatly during our time in Futa. We finished our final Chilean workouts playing Ultimate on the beach accompanied by bloodthirsty and unnaturally large German Shepherds. Ocean surfing was thoroughly thrilling, with some students riding twenty-foot waves. Everyone got a chance to go big before the long journey home. Head Coach Tom McKee said, "I am very impressed with the enthusiasm and work ethic that I've seen put forth this month. All students are reaching a new level of athleticism, the benefits of which we have been seeing on and off the river."

California Creeking. We tried out all of our brand-spanking new creek boats on the Main Kaweah. For many students, it was either their first or one of their first times in creek boats. We were all a little out of control and not quite adjusted to the speed that is possible in creek boats. The crazy Kaweah was flowing fantastically and almost flooding at more than twice its normal flow. By the end of the run it was obvious everyone was a lot more comfortable in their boats, and enjoying them. The next day the river was back down to its standard flow, but that did not stop Glen and Shon from taking their first WCKA swims. At the very end of the month some students did the North Fork of the Kaweah—a more challenging, lower-volume run with some fun slides and boofs.

Written by Ben Guttridge and Jake Sakson, using the lovely literary technique of alliteration.

WCKA Newsletter - October 2005

The month of October was another exciting and fulfilling month at WCKA. We explored rivers in the states of Tennessee and Alabama as well as the distant land of New Zealand. After a number of days at Whitney's house at the Green River in North Carolina, our caravan headed to Maria's house in Tennessee. Maria and her family were very hospitable and provided us with luxurious lodging with convenient access to the Cheoah River. The Cheoah is an excellent dam-released river that we paddled during the second scheduled dam release in the river's history. Disappointingly for me, I was out of commission on this run due to an injury. However, the group had a wonderful, unique experience paddling through trees on a Class 4 river. Highlights of the run were impressive beat-downs for Cheese and Jesse. The run also included a 10-foot waterfall with a fabulous boof lip.

After our adventure on the Cheoah, we repositioned at the Ocoee River. Due to river flows during this final week of the first quarter, we were limited in our river-run options. The Ocoee is a classic Class 3 river where we enjoyed fun boofs and surfing at Hell Hole. After a few days of studying in our cabin and paddling the Ocoee, we packed up and drove to the scenic state of Alabama for Nationals. A tremendous rainstorm greeted us in Alabama. The next day we discovered that the rain had made access to the river difficult — the road to the river had turned into a mud hole, and someone attempting the drive became stuck in the mud up to the axles. Before our half-mile trek through ankle deep mud, Whitney and Cheese engaged in a mud-wrestling match. Although they enjoyed themselves, Cheese accidentally elbowed a mud-covered Whitney in the face, which resulted in a doctor's visit and two stitches in her lip. The play spot for the competition was smaller than any other destination play spot we visited that quarter. However, our very own Billy Boylan won the competition and was crowned American National Champion.

During our week in Alabama and Tennessee, students took final tests in Math and Science and wrote papers for their English classes. World Literature class completed The Good Earth, American Literature completed The Crucible, and British Literature wrapped up Beowulf. In Chemistry, students turned in a paper of 2-plus pages on their selected element. Spanish II played Review Jeopardy. We were graced with the presence of Lunch Video Magazine's Daniel DeLavergne in Videography class. The Monday after Nationals, the majority of the students were dropped off at the airport in Nashville; the teachers, Keith Miller, Evan Garcia, and I began the long haul back home. On our way into Denver, I-70 was closed due to a massive snowstorm and we were forced to take a 5-hour detour. Nonetheless, everyone reached home safely the next day.

The students then enjoyed a week and a half recess from their studies while they prepared to fly to New Zealand. The teachers worked hard to arrange everything and pack the group supplies. On the final Wednesday of the break, we all arrived at LAX where we discovered that Adriene's luggage had been lost and was still in Michigan. Everyone else's luggage arrived and was checked into Air New Zealand. We all chilled in the airport, crocheting, checking email and eating deluxe airport food until 11:30 pm.

Although everyone was drowsy, there was a sense of excitement as we boarded the plane. Many students figuratively "hit the floor" for the majority of the flight. Other students crocheted or enjoyed movies such as Mrs. and Mr. Smith, Fantastic Four, Herbie: Fully Loaded, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The Longest Yard. The flight was lengthy, crossing the International Date Line. Sadly, we missed the day of October 20th. We filled out our custom forms as we touched down in New Zealand, and at customs all tents were taken and checked for alien species or soil. Luckily, no one's tent was seized. The teachers left for 5 hours in order to build racks on the van. The students were filled with apprehension during this time that felt like a lifetime. Finally we loaded up our snazzy microbus vans and headed out of Auckland. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery of lush New Zealand as we drove to a "Holiday Park," near Rotorua on the banks of Lake Rotoiti. Our lodging rooms contained a kitchen and beds for everyone. We did classes indoors in the mornings and paddled the Kaituna River in the afternoons.

The Kaituna is 1.1km long, has narrow banks in a deep canyon, and runs through a jungle. The two significant rapids, the Weir and Tutea Falls, contain waterfalls. The Weir begins with a 6-foot drop into another 3-foot boof. A little farther downstream we reached the Waterfall, a 5-meter (17-foot) drop that lands in massive pillows and boils. It is important to land with one's boat flat at the bottom because those who plug straight down run the risk of becoming temporarily stuck on the bottom of the river or scraping their elbows and hands. The river continues through many more chutes and boofs and ends in an epic play hole.

Our weekday routine begins with a 6:30 am workout in which we rotate core workouts, strength workouts, running, and ultimate frisbee. Following workout we eat breakfast and begin classes at 8:00. After our studies, around 1:30 or 2:00 the first group puts on Lake Rotoiti and paddles a short way to the river to begin the run. After enjoying all the rapids they have roughly a one-hour play session at the hole. The second group, leaves an hour later and enjoys the same experience.

Our first weekend excursion included paddling the Wairoa River, a steep, technical river. The most exciting rapids are the Toaster and Rollercoaster. The Toaster is a small slide into a 5-foot boof; the Rollercoaster is a double-drop with multiple lines on both drops. Everyone had good lines, but many people subbed out upon landing the second drop. This rapid was by far the most exhilarating on the run. Some people decided to run the river a second time to experience the excitement all over again. We bombed down the rapids, through the Toaster, rode the Rollercoaster, and some people freewheeled the final waterfall.

In our first two weeks in New Zealand everyone improved by leaps and bounds: Phil improved on cartwheeling, as did Keith who also did his first loop; Alex learned the early stages of looping and improved his cartwheeling technique; Reid learned how to huck massive loops; Cheese began perfecting his cartwheeling; Jesse learned to loop consistently; Chiseki began splitwheeling and cartwheeling better; Adrienne learned how to cartwheel both ways and started learning splitwheeling; Glen began to do more and better cartwheels than ever before; Billy mastered the Tricky Woo and the entry wingover; Polk Deters perfected both the window-shade, powerflip, and airloop. Everyone made tremendous improvements in all aspects of their paddling skills, playing, and river-running.

Everyone's classes continued smoothly. British Literature and American Literature began New Zealand’s Maori culture-related books, The Bone People and Once Were Warriors, respectively. World Literature continued Life of Pi.There were tests in Algebra II, World History, Environmental Science, Government, US History, and Chemistry on which everyone did marvelously.

By: Jake Sakson, Grade 10, Carbondale, Colorado.

WCKA Newsletter - September 2005

nother wonderful and exciting month with World Class. After all the adventures and experiences these kids are going through, they are, without a doubt, going to be able to take on any challenge in the future. Our schedule could easily be described as hectic, intense, and rewarding. We have already accomplished so much, and we are only in our second month. Imagine: first waterfall descents, endless surf sessions, a 52-mile paddle-a-thon, great creek runs, the Yough, the Gauley, full days of class, cooking, and a whole lot of fun.

Our month started with a couple of last surf days on the incredible Ottawa River in Canada. We were sad to leave, yet excited for what was to come. Our first stop on the way to Quebec was the Ottawa Museum of History and Civilization — a great place to explore the Native American People of Canada. We continued our drive to the well-known Riviere Rouge in Quebec. This river gave most of our students their first opportunity to run several clean and exciting waterfalls. That experience has been a highlight for many, thus far.

Our next location was the Lachine Rapids in Montreal. These mighty waves allowed for endless surf sessions, the attainment of new moves by all, and permanent smiles. We held our classes at a nearby college, surfed our hearts out, and even managed to practice our French. It was great to see some of the students speaking French with the local people of Montreal.

We then ventured through New York State to paddle the Yough River. We couldn't resist stopping at Zach Miller's house on our way, as his family offered to cook us an incredible feast. Thank you, Nelson and Joann, for the wonderful food and hospitality! The Yough has two sections, and we split up based on skill level, which allowed us to cover the river in one fun and exciting day.

This brought us to the Gauley River in West Virginia. What an incredible place for all of us to surf, work on river-running skills, cook meals in the great outdoors, sleep in our tents, and have a good time. Let us not forget the completion of the incredibly challenging Paddle-A-Thon. Our entire school — students and faculty — attained the goal of paddling 52 miles in one day. We were on the water by 7:00 A.M. and finished by 7:30 P.M. This paddle entailed completing the upper, middle, and lower sections of the Gauley, TWICE! Not an easy task for anyone, yet it proved to be rewarding for us all. A little pizza and Red Bull in between the two runs helped us along the way. And a big Thank You to Laurie, Adriene's mom, for helping with the shuttle! We were not surprised by the silence among our group as we attacked a Chinese buffet for dinner.

After a few more days on the Gauley, we headed further south to North Carolina to paddle the Green River. Whitney and Shane allowed all of us — that's right, all 19 of us! — to sleep inside their house, showing us how truly brave they are. This was another great place to hold class, cook great food, and paddle a phenomenal river. The Green also has two sections, upper and lower, and we again divided our group and had a couple of wonderful and exciting days on the river. Polk, Zach, and Cheese managed to style Gorilla, a Class V rapid, at 200% (double the normal flow). Way to go, guys!

This brings us to the end of a month filled with accomplishments, new skills, new experiences, new knowledge, great classes, and great times. Our students are proving themselves to be wonderful and outgoing people. We are all looking forward to the adventures that lay ahead.

WCKA Newsletter - May 2005

Well, the year has finally come to an end, amidst much excitement, fun, and family. Thank you to all those who have made this year possible; without your help the year could never have been as amazing and unforgettable as it was.


The culmination of our athletic year was the ‘Best in the West’ freestyle event “back home” at the Alberton Gorge section of the Clark Fork River. The event, as always, took place at the Triple Bridges playspot, which provides three unique and very fun play features. Each competitor was allowed a single through the rapid run followed by a minute-long rodeo ride in whichever feature they chose. After prelims, Men’s finalists were Jon Meyers (an ’04 World Class grad) in first place, Kevin Dombey in second, and Tom McKee in third. When all was said and done, Jon was able to maintain his first place position while Tom upset Kevin’s firm holding on second place with an amazing ride.

A special thanks goes out to the organizers of all the competitions in which we have competed, as well as to our coaches, Tom McKee and Orion Chapman.

Since the main feature of academics in May was finals week and graduation, we will take this opportunity to send out congratulations to our graduates: Adam Johnson, Ian Garcia, Katie Scott, Kevin Dombey, Logan Grayling, Mike Bandala, Philly Williams, and Tyler Bradt. Next year, Adam, Katie, Kevin, Mike and Philly will all be continuing their education at universities across the country. Adam plans to attend West Virginia Wesleyan; Katie will be in either Missoula or Bozemen at one of their respective U of M campuses; Kevin will be in Salem, Oregon at Willamette; Mike will be in Asheville, North Carolina at their UNC campus; and Philly will be attending the University of the South (Sewanee) in Sewanee, Tennessee. Congratulations!
And, to all our teachers, thank you for making this year possible. You have altered our lives irreparably, and we will forever be in your debt for it.

While May was, in fact, a slow month for activities (we spent most of our time studying), it did hold the most important one, which was, of course, Graduation. As evidenced by the packed Barn at Tarkio (thanks Dr. Dave!), this year’s was the biggest graduation for WCKA yet, with most students having at least three family members present, and total attendance approaching 140. The highlight of the ceremony was a speech by Doug Ammons, a true whitewater legend. The insights he provided in his speech will not likely be forgotten by the graduates.

Thanks again to Dr. Dave, Doug, and our families!

Finally, to the students: Thank you for a wonderful and unforgettable year, and don’t forget to KEEP IN TOUCH!!!
Much love to all, be careful and keep safe


From the bottom of my heart,
Philly Williams


WCKA Newsletter - Paddle-a-thon Press Release

Press Release: September 16th, 2005

ANNUAL PADDLE-A-THON FUNDRAISER for World Class Kayak Academy, American Whitewater & New Zealand Habitat for Humanity

World Class Kayak Academy is gearing up for its 2nd annual Paddle-a-thon on the Saturday of the Gauley River Festival, September 24, 2005. Due to last year’s success and in the spirit of giving & giving back, WCKA invites the paddling community to join in!

Students and faculty will paddle the entire river twice, covering 52 miles, with other participants joining the World Class crew for any or all sections of the event. All participants are asked to solicit pledges or donations for their paddle to help meet our goal of raising $6,000! Also, all participants and spectators have the opportunity to participate in World Class’ fundraising raffle held at the Gauley Festival. The beneficiaries of this year’s Paddle-a-thon funds will be Habitat for Humanity, American Whitewater and the WCKA Scholarship Fund.

Support the Paddle-a-thon through the following Wish List:

- Donations – pledge support of a specific paddler or contribute to the Paddle-a-thon in general
- Product – as prizes for the Paddle-a-thon participants who raise the most money
- Food – breakfast, lunch, snacks, or dinner for the Paddle-a-thon participants
- Shuttle Vehicles – provide shuttles for the Paddle-a-thon participants
- Shuttle Drivers – volunteer to drive various legs of the shuttle for the Paddle-a-thon

Your contribution will go far! With the help of your donations and participation in the Paddle-a-thon, World Class will help Habitat and AW continue their amazing work, while allowing highly motivated students in need of financial support the ability to attend World Class.

WCKA Newsletter - April 2005

It’s amazing to think that April was such a diverse month; it was our first month on the west coast tour, but also our last full month of the year. April also saw a vast amount of variety in our kayaking, traveling, and academic lives, making for a very interesting month.

April was quite tantalizing academically, as it held our final class days for this year. This did not, however, mean that April was a slow and meaningless academic month, for every class day was packed with as much material as was possible to cover. This meant that, even when the weather was beautiful, everyone could be found hard at work. Chemistry finished their study of stoichoimetry while Physics has been opening their minds through their study of quantum physics and Biology has been enlightened as to the states of Biomes around the world. Geometry was studying the expanses of trigonometry, while Algebra II and Pre-Calc worked with logarithms, and Calculus completed their course work with sequences and series. Finally, the English classes completed the novels they were reading and have been working on various creative writing projects, all in preparation for their final exams.

Our tour of the west coast began with a marathon drive to Nevada City, CA where we met up with the Patts, snow, and our first taste of California creek boating. We restarted morning workouts to find that we weren’t that out of shape and could still run for more than 10 minutes without stopping to walk every three minutes. After a few days of good boating in Nevada City, we moved farther south to Visalia so that we could move from big water to low volume slide-o-rama on the Kaweah and Thule rivers. Though it would have been pleasant to stay in Visalia where it was sunny and warm every day, we were compelled to move on to the American River Festival. Despite less than perfect levels and cold, wet weather, WCKA was able to dominate this event, with Tom and Philly taking up 4th and 5th places (respectfully) in the pro men class, Justin, Mike, and Logan taking all 3 medal positions in Jr. Men, and Andrea winning the Jr. Women’s class, while Katie and Adriene tied for 2nd place behind her. With such good creeking and playboating behind us, it will be interesting to see how May and our tour of Oregon rivers will compare with the amazing fun we’ve had in California.

The April activities highlight was our daylong tour of the historic Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River in Oregon. We were given the chance to learn the history of the dam, how the dam allows salmon to pass through unharmed, and also about how electricity is made at a hydro-electric power facility. Special thanks to our tour guide: Tom (not as in Teacher Tom).

Our dam tour was not the only activity we indulged in this month, as we were also able to facilitate a full-team and fully planned self-support overnighter on the Tuolumne. The overnighter gave us all a chance to really see the untouched beauty that exists within California, as well as catch up on missed sleep and tanning opportunities. The whole experience was one in which not many kayakers have the chance to partake, and so will not soon be forgotten by any.

We hope everyone is having a great spring and look forward to seeing you at Tarkio for Graduation!


Philly Williams







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