Local students will take classroom lessons back to the Straits

Dave Lein, Editor

Photo by Dave Lein

Cherryland Middle School students Sophia Christian (left) and Paige Peters are shown with their science teacher Kwin Morris (right), who is also co-founder of Stand Up For Great Lakes, a local nonprofit that is dedicated to preserve and protect the lakes.


Courtesy photo

To prepare for this Saturday’s trip across the Straits of Mackinac, the students have practiced on Torch Lake, Grand Traverse Bay and along the Elk River, among other places to experience different water and wind conditions.


REGION – Much like their male counterparts two years ago, two eighth-grade girls at Cherryland Middle School in Elk Rapids have been inspired to look beyond themselves, embrace a challenge and stand up for a cause that they believe is vital to everyone around them.

This Saturday, weather permitting, Sophia Christian and Paige Peters will attempt to cross the Straits of Mackinac on stand-up paddleboards. Their goal is to raise awareness and funds for Stand Up For Great Lakes, a local nonprofit that is dedicated to preserve and protect the lakes.

“We are working to bring change to the Great Lakes,” said Peters, 14, of Kewadin. “Our goal is to spread awareness about the rising level of PFAS (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid) in the Great Lakes, as well the need for an amendment of The Great Lakes Compact,” regarding use and diversion guidelines.

The students’ journey will be supervised by their science teacher, Kwin Morris – who is also a co-founder of Stand Up for Great Lakes – along with other partners and representatives of the organization.

It all began with CMS’s International Baccalaureate Eighth Grade Community Project program.

“As part of our International Baccalaureate (IB) program,” Morris said, “eighth-graders are required to do a community project – usually in groups of two or three people. As part of that project, they keep a process journal and in that journal they have to relate or link what they’re doing to their ATLs (or Approaches to Learning).

According to the IBO website, ATLs are the unifying thread throughout all subject groups and curriculum.

“(They) provide the foundation for independent learning and encourage the application of their knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Developing and applying these social, thinking, research, communication and self management skills helps students learn how to learn,” the site states.

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