Fifth-grade gifted and talented take a step back in time at Pine Mountain

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By Teena Gamble
For the News-Herald
On March 21-24, 23 gifted and talented students and 13 chaperones made their annual trip to Pine Mountain Settlement School in Bledsoe.
The students were glad to turn in the winter vortex they have been experiencing for some much needed sunshine. They also traded in their televisions, video games and computers for four days of time spent learning, laughing, socializing and making fifth grade memories that they all will cherish.
Days at Pine Mountain start early. We started each day with a hearty breakfast. The rest of the day was spent participating in a comprehensive curriculum in environmental education.
The program’s goals are to present environmental education as an integral part of all subjects: to provide an accurate interpretation of the mountain culture and natural environment through the use of historic materials and hands-on experiences; and to offer opportunities to study and understand the special nature of the Appalachian region and promote responsible stewardship of natural lands and waterways.
A huge round of thanks goes to all the wonderful chaperones who took time out of their busy schedules to participate in their child’s education. The memories will last a lot longer than the aches and pains that we endured during the week.
I would like to thank our bus driver and our school system for allowing us to keep up such an awesome educational tradition.
It was bittersweet leaving Pine Mountain this year.
We said our final goodbye to Ben and Pat Begley.
Ben has been the principal, and Pat, his wife a lead teacher for 28 years.
The extraordinary gifts of knowledge they provided the school and the visiting students will be missed. They touched many students in the Owen County schools. We wish them a long, healthy retirement in Alamogordo, N. M.