Students hike through lush forest on the Latourell Falls trail (photo: Nick Wiltgen)
Great Gorge Wahoo!The Great Gorge Wahoo! is an annual one-day field trip for 7th and 8th-grade students at the St Andrew Nativity School. Each year, Friends takes the 7th grade class into the eastern Gorge in the fall, and in the spring the 8th grade class gets a a field trip to the western Gorge.
This annual, one-day field trip provides seventh- and eighth-grade students at the St. Andrew Nativity School in Portland with the opportunity to explore the Columbia Gorge. St. Andrew, which enrolls a high percentage of students of color, works with low-income, underachieving kids to prepare them to attend college-prep high schools. Each school year, Friends takes the seventh-graders out to the eastern Gorge in the fall and the eighth-graders to the western Gorge in the spring.
In 2011, the Winthrop family established the Matthew Winthrop Memorial Fund to help fund this effort. In the fall of that year, 20 students attended the first Great Gorge Wahoo! The program has since grown and in 2014, a spring field trip was added for the eighth-grade class. This expansion was made possible through a fund established by current Friends Board member Carrie Nobles in memory of her husband Buddy, who was a longtime Friends volunteer.
Retired Oregon State Parks district manager Kevin Price, who headed up diversity and inclusion programs for Oregon State Parks, first learned about this program in its infancy. “You need to get me in front of these kids so they can see that someone of their color can do this job," Price said. He's been a mainstay of the trips ever since.
View photos from the spring, 2018 trip with the graduating 8th grade class.