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Rachel Munson, a senior at TrekNorth Junior & Senior High School, recently returned from a class trip to Chicago. Throughout her four years at TrekNorth, Munson has taken several trips across the country and overseas through school. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Trips define TrekNorth senior's high school experience

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News Bemidji,Minnesota 56619 http://www.bemidjipioneer.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/1/0806/201005260526-edu-munson-trek-n-graduate.jpg?itok=T-T4AKdh
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Trips define TrekNorth senior's high school experience
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Rachel Munson, 18, has enjoyed attending TrekNorth Junior & Senior High School and here's why:

Over the course of four years, Munson has hiked on the Appalachian Trail four times. She has been to the United Kingdom, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy and Ireland. She has hiked through Minnesota's boundary waters and, most recently, spent a week in Chicago - all trips she's taken through school.

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It's safe to say, taking so many school trips have made a big impact on Munson's experience at TrekNorth.

Munson, daughter of Kari and Mike Munson, who both work at TrekNorth, recently returned from a senior high trip to Chicago, which focused on learning about homelessness, hunger and oppression.

Munson was one of 14 students in grades 9-12 who were chosen to go on the trip.

From May 17-21, the students stayed at the Brother David Darst Center, a retreat center located in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago. Each day the students took day trips to places around the city.

Among those places was a visit to Chicago Youth Centers' Fellowship House in Bridgeport, where students learned about CYC's after school program. They visited the REST shelter, a comprehensive homeless services provider in the city, and Sarah's Circle, a nonprofit agency that serves women who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Munson talked of her impressions of visiting a men's shelter on the first night of her trip.

"I was standing there and saying hello to people," she said. "This one guy I met looked at me and wasn't having any part in a conversation. I asked, 'How are you doing?' He just sat down and he told me his story."

She said she learned the man was once wealthy. He wore a leather jacket and even showed her keys that belonged to a Mercedes Benz vehicle.

"It put things into perspective for me," Munson said. "I think he was keeping things hidden from me, but it really had an effect on me."

One of Munson's favorite visits on the trip was to WomanCraft, a factory which uses recycled office paper and reclaimed flowers to create unique, sustainable, handmade paper products, such as wildflower seed note cards and custom wedding invitations. WomanCraft provides transitional jobs to women facing barriers to employment, so that they may earn income, improve job skills and build a work history.

"Dan (McKeon, director of TrekNorth) told me the greatest trips you go on are the ones you come back from and that really resonate in you," Munson said.

To Munson, participating in the annual nine-day Appalachian Trail trip had always made the biggest impression on her - until the Chicago trip.

"I love that trip because you're out there in the middle of the woods and you think about things you typically wouldn't," she said. "I don't know what I was expecting from this (Chicago) trip. It changed my way of thinking about things."

TrekNorth students need to complete a total of three service learning credits in order to graduate. The Chicago trip counted as 1.5 credits, which Munson said gave her enough credits to graduate.

"I had great experiences at TrekNorth," Munson said. "I'll miss it."

Y awilliams@bemidjipioneer.com

Rachel Munson, 18, has enjoyed attending TrekNorth Junior & Senior High School and here's why:

Over the course of four years, Munson has hiked on the Appalachian Trail four times. She has been to the United Kingdom, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy and Ireland. She has hiked through Minnesota's boundary waters and, most recently, spent a week in Chicago - all trips she's taken through school.

It's safe to say, taking so many school trips have made a big impact on Munson's experience at TrekNorth.

Munson, daughter of Kari and Mike Munson, who both work at TrekNorth, recently returned from a senior high trip to Chicago, which focused on learning about homelessness, hunger and oppression.

Munson was one of 14 students in grades 9-12 who were chosen to go on the trip.

From May 17-21, the students stayed at the Brother David Darst Center, a retreat center located in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago. Each day the students took day trips to places around the city.

Among those places was a visit to Chicago Youth Centers' Fellowship House in Bridgeport, where students learned about CYC's after school program. They visited the REST shelter, a comprehensive homeless services provider in the city, and Sarah's Circle, a nonprofit agency that serves women who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Munson talked of her impressions of visiting a men's shelter on the first night of her trip.

"I was standing there and saying hello to people," she said. "This one guy I met looked at me and wasn't having any part in a conversation. I asked, 'How are you doing?' He just sat down and he told me his story."

She said she learned the man was once wealthy. He wore a leather jacket and even showed her keys that belonged to a Mercedes Benz vehicle.

"It put things into perspective for me," Munson said. "I think he was keeping things hidden from me, but it really had an effect on me."

One of Munson's favorite visits on the trip was to WomanCraft, a factory which uses recycled office paper and reclaimed flowers to create unique, sustainable, handmade paper products, such as wildflower seed note cards and custom wedding invitations. WomanCraft provides transitional jobs to women facing barriers to employment, so that they may earn income, improve job skills and build a work history.

"Dan (McKeon, director of TrekNorth) told me the greatest trips you go on are the ones you come back from and that really resonate in you," Munson said.

To Munson, participating in the annual nine-day Appalachian Trail trip had always made the biggest impression on her - until the Chicago trip.

"I love that trip because you're out there in the middle of the woods and you think about things you typically wouldn't," she said. "I don't know what I was expecting from this (Chicago) trip. It changed my way of thinking about things."

TrekNorth students need to complete a total of three service learning credits in order to graduate. The Chicago trip counted as 1.5 credits, which Munson said gave her enough credits to graduate.

"I had great experiences at TrekNorth," Munson said. "I'll miss it."

awilliams@bemidjipioneer.com

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