A Glimpse into the 10th Grade Project Week 2012-13
Location: Taos Pueblo Community
Description: The 10th grade spent project week in New Mexico at the Taos Pueblo doing community service in the tribal community. The class volunteered at the senior center, Headstart preschool, and at a family health fair. The 10th graders also performed water testing of Red Willow Creek with tribal biologists, toured the ancient pueblo buildings, built forms for a concrete sidewalk, and met with the Lt. Governor of the pueblo, who gave a presentation on his people’s history and present society.

The three goals for the class trip were:

  • work hard and give our best attention to the Taos community
  • be socially inclusive in our group
  • be mindful of the following quote about modern Indian life: “It is hard being an Indian. You have to live three lives—the traditional one, the survival one, and the modern world that keeps coming at you all the time.” Rose Albert, Taos Pueblo, 1986

The 10th grade class feels that they were successful in achieving these goals.

Below are a few comments from some of the 10th graders about their experience:

“I enjoyed doing the water testing of the creek and collecting insects in the creek. Some of the biologists were young, college age, so they were easy to relate to.” Ashley Taylor

“I really enjoy working at the Headstart pre-school, but the children wore me out, especially when the 4 and 5 year olds made me the playground monster.” Garrett Johnston

 “At the Health Fair, the doctor giving shots told me to step out of the room, but the 5 year old who I was in charge of ask me to stay and hold him.” Sydney Suter

The 10th grade would like to thank the Taos Waldorf School for allowing them to camp at their school. The class was fortunate to experience the Pueblo Community and to meet so many wonderful people.

Additional Details:
Class Sponsors: Catherine Cunningham and Dan Diehl
Trip: 6 days
Number of Students: 26
Mode of Transportation: One school bus and 3 private vehicles
Time spent on Community Service: 5 hours per day

What the class did for “fun”: played games at camp, went to rec center one evening to swim, had class meeting/councils every night to process the day and to look forward to the next.

What was learned: Information about this culture and how they exist in and side by side within “American ” culture. They met a lot of wonderful people, and also toured the pueblo and learned about the history of this culture. The class had the opportunity to cook together under guidance of the teachers.

Why was this project week important?: To get students out of their comfort zone and extend oneself to others. It also allows for class bonding.

What is the pedagogical impulse for the trip?: It ties into the 10th grades emphasis on cultural studies and ancient civilization.