Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877


By Kara Davidson
Gazette Reporter 

LaCrosse students earn ski trip to Bluewood


January 31, 2019

LaCrosse students and chaperones take a break in lodge at Bluewood ski resort near Dayton Jan. 3.

Students in grades four through twelve at LaCrosse went on a ski trip Jan. 3 to Bluewood near Dayton.

This was the school's third year taking students skiing as part of their Student of Character program.

The Student of Character program awards students for meeting criteria, often personal qualities, selected in advance. The school's student body leaders set the criteria for the program in advance, and students who are recognized as having these qualities are awarded, earning a special trip.

Most students manage to make the list. For those students who miss out, they have the opportunity to try again later to make it.

Students of Character from kindergarten through third grade went to the trampoline park in Moscow instead. Students from fourth through twelfth who didn't wish to go skiing can join the group going to the Trampoline Park.

Fifth grade teacher, Leanne Bafus, put together the trips to Bluewood.

Bafus learned to ski as a child when she took the bus from St. John to 49 Degrees North at Chewelah on Saturdays.

She started taking students skiing four years ago after seeing several advertisements.

Lessons come as part of Bluewood's package deal. Bluewood is one of several ski resorts in Washington that offer free ski days for fifth graders.

Bafus hopes to be able to take her fifth grade class skiing four times next year as part of the special offered by Bluewood.

"The students who go love it, but are very sore," Bafus reported.

Students who go can be in any level as skiers.

More snow means more fun for students on the mountain as a reward for meeting the criteria to be a Student of Character.

"Some students are already excellent skiers, some have never seen a mountain!" said Bafus.

Seven adult chaperones attended this trip; four staff members skied as well as a parent while two adults remained at the lodge.

"This is one of my favorite trips because we bond with the kids in a new, fresh way," said Bafus. She's been teaching in LaCrosse for 35 of her 39 years as a teacher.

Last year the trip had been canceled do to a lack of snow at the end of the semester.

The Student of Character trips are funded by the school.

"Our community is very gracious in their support for our school," said Principal Jeff Pietila. Aside from these student trips the community support also allows for students to take up to seven college accredited classes before they graduate, though not all at the same time.


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