Senior learns to survive in the wild

While the majority of McNicholas students were enjoying their Christmas breaks relaxing at home, senior Beth Simmons was in Boundary Waters, Wisconsin, cross country skiing, dog sledding, and learning to survive in freezing weather. Simmons was one of seven high schoolers from around the world learning how to survive through the Outward Bound program.

Outward Bound, a program Simmons learned about through art teacher, Ms. Mel Gaskins, is dedicated to teaching people of all ages to push themselves through new experiences and to survive in the wild. Their mission is to change lives through challenge and discovery and to make a more resilient and compassionate world. “They really are a school of character,” Simmons said. “They teach you important values.” Outward Bound offers a variety of programs, from sailing in Florida to rock climbing and yoga in Oregon. During Simmons’ program, she traveled around 20 miles over a period of 8 days and had to quickly learn how to make dinner, camp, and do everyday things outside in the winter.

Outside of school, Simmons fosters dogs and she is also a member of Ski Club at McNick. Her Outward Bound program helped her combine her passion for skiing and dogs while letting her try new challenges in the wild. Simmons’ favorite memory from her trip was staying up to watch the Northern Lights. “On New Year’s Eve, I saw the Northern Lights and right at midnight the dogs all started howling, which was a really cool,” said Simmons.

Next holiday, instead of staying at home and watching Netflix, students could go camping or hiking or try an outdoors program like Outward Bound. “People should do more things like it,” Simmons said. “It was a great experience for me and you get to learn a lot.”

beth simmons and radar

Senior Beth Simmons with her favorite sled dog, Radar, during her recent Outward Bound experience. Simmons spent eight days learning to dog sled and survive in the wild in frigid temperatures.

About Mary-Kate Dowling

Mary-Kate Dowling is a Journalism student and staff reporter for the Milestone. She is involved with Academic Team, Thespian Society, and is a student ambassador at McNicholas. In her free time she likes to read and spend time with her friends.


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Supported by her small group, Freshman Aimee Gauger addresses her class during Freshman Day of Renewal on Oct. 16. The event was the first time the Class of 2021 came together for a school retreat. Nearly 50 seniors lead the freshman by serving as peer ministers.

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