The Cedaredge Middle School gifted and talented program fundraised, publicized, and finally constructed a climbing wall in the gymnasium. The school opened this wall to the entire community and created a climbing club for anyone who wishes to take advantage of the athletic and academic benefits.
Mrs. Cerise, a teacher at Cedaredge Middle School, stresses the wide audience of people who use the climbing wall during community night. "Friday nights are often very busy. We have sports teams come in and use it as a team-building activity. A lot of people come for the exercise and to learn to persevere." Community nights are on Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m. and require a $3 fee for maintenance of the wall. "Anyone is welcome, from ages 2 to 92!"
The climbing wall also provides benefits to middle school students. "It teaches them to watch out for each other. It allows them to bond with kids they normally wouldn't hang out with, and it really stresses the concept of 'safety first.'" Many students attend community night as well as using the climbing wall during physical education classes.
Mr. Long, a teacher involved in the construction of the climbing wall, emphasizes the long-term benefits of the climbing wall. "Climbing is a lifelong skill, especially here in Colorado where it's such a prominent activity." Students learn to both climb and "belay," which involves controlling the rope of another student on the wall to ensure their safety.
The entire community of Cedaredge (and even the rest of Delta County) values the climbing wall and the health and mental benefits it provides. Students for generations to come will obtain life lessons and experiences critical to their development. Although the process to fundraise and establish the climbing wall was long, the hard work resulted in an asset to all of Delta County's residents.