Janna Oechsle is an Anderson University senior elementary and special education major who traveled to Alaska with Tri-S this past May. Oechsle always wanted to go on a Tri-S trip and had passion for teaching. “I found out that the Alaska trip was specifically for education majors, which sparked my interest,” said Oechsle. “I ended up talking to fellow peers that have gone on previous trips, which increased my enthusiasm for the trip even more.” She decided this would be a great opportunity to gain more experience in the classroom, especially classrooms with great diversity.
After loading up their luggage and flying into Fairbanks, Ala., the Tri-S team took another small plane to Kodiak, Alaska, a small island off the coast. One unique aspect of the trip was staying with families who lived in Kodiak. The majority of the trip, Oechsle spent the day in a first grade classroom helping her cooperating teacher with the children. Since the trip took place in May, “we were able to see how the schools in Kodiak wrap up a school year, which was beneficial for me since I am aspiring to be a teacher” said Oechsle.
The remainder of their stay, the team explored the beautiful island. They hiked up Pillar Mountain and visited Fort Abercrombie, which had a museum full of artifacts and several trails with bunkers from WWII. Other activities included visiting the Wildlife Refuge Museum, touring a fishing boat, attending a school board meeting, visiting various Harbors and eating a lot of seafood.
“One of my favorite parts of the trip was staying with the family, we grew really close to all of the family members,” said Oechsle. “They told us at the end of the trip that if we ever make it back to Kodiak, we always have a place to stay. They also told us they felt like we were apart of the family, which was an awesome feeling.”
—Lydia Smith is a senior from Indianapolis, Ind., majoring in communication arts and minoring in peace and conflict transformation. Smith is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.