Half of this year’s junior class of International Baccalaureate students – Ty Kowalski, Ryan Drake, Anthony Jacobs, Jarod Amparo, Andrew Raphtis, Tommy Bechtell, Joey Opolski and Justin Ambris – along with assistant principal Brad Cusumano, and teachers Stephanie Howay, Brent Castine, and Andrew Grauzer went on a CAS trip to Montana this month
As part of their requirements for the CAS portion of the IB program, students spent two and a half days serving at De La Salle Blackfeet School on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation along the Montana/Alberta border. The immersion program provided IB students with an intercultural experience that invited them to affirm a common bond among all people as children of God and challenged perceived boundaries between the students and others.
Faith, community, service learning, social justice, service, simplicity, and safety were all learning outcomes of the week-long experience. Blackfeet School is a San Miguel School serves grades 4-8. The school was founded by the Christian Brothers in 2001. The Brothers’ motto – Building Faith in Education – encourages students to build their faith through education while simultaneously building in students the faith that education will improve their lives.
Browning is one of the poorest communities in the U.S. with approximately 80 percent of the 18,000 residents on welfare. While at Blackfeet School, De La Salle’s IB students worked with individual teachers and their students on math, reading, writing and enrichment. More than half of the Blackfeet faculty are either Brothers, lay volunteers, or Lasallian volunteers. Students met with a Blackfeet alumnus who spoke to them about life on the reservation, as well as with Patricia Devereaux, the grandmother of current De La Salle sophomore Tanot Devereaux, who spoke to them about the differences and similarities between Blackfeet and Christian spirituality.
The second half of the week was spent exploring and learning at Glacier National Park. The park is located roughly 10 miles west of Browning and covers over one million acres of land. Students hiked more than 30 miles with spectacular views of Highline Trail to the Grinnell Glacier Overlook, the Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail, and the Swiftcurrent-Lake Josephine Trail.