Rain Shortens Point Reyes Retreat


Gracie Woidat, Staff Writer

The Acalanes Gifted and Talented Education program (AGATE) faced challenges brought on by heavy rainfall during its Point Reyes retreat, including flooding that forced the group to leave early. 12 Campolindo students were among the 36 juniors from across the district that attended the trip, which took place February 24-26.

AGATE, a selective district-wide program for juniors, includes students nominated by teachers during their sophomore or early junior year, then picked by lottery.

According to coordinator Paul Verbanszky, the program provides students with a more “hands-on” learning experience, and the opportunity to “learn research techniques and skills that might not be as emphasized in the typical classroom environment.”

The 1st day of the trip was rain-free, according to students in attendance, which allowed them to study tide pools and learn about marine life in the Point Reyes area. The next day brought a heavy downpour, but the group still managed to visit a dairy farm, an oyster farm, the Point Reyes Lighthouse, and a recreation of a Miwok village.

The weather caused some issues at the Miwok village, as the rain had damaged some of the buildings and the wind was challenging for ill-prepared students. “A lot of the stuff we did was in the rain, which was cold, but it was still worth it to be able to participate in the various activities and learn about parts of California that we don’t normally get to see,” said junior Ellie Guthrie.

1 of the trip’s main presenters, a Native American herbalist, was unable to drive out on the roads and was forced to cancel her demonstration. The herbalist was scheduled to teach students about the medicinal uses that Native Americans had for various plants and was going to walk students through the process of making a healing salve. “She was supposed to be the highlight of the trip, so we were very disappointed she couldn’t come,” said Verbanszky.

The group instead visited the Rosie the Riveter museum in Richmond. “They were very good at making up plans on the spot for us to do, and the museum we got to go see was still educational and cool,” said junior Alicia Hober.

As heavy rainfall persisted, the trip had to be cut a few hours short. “I am so glad we left when we did because 2 hours later the main road we would’ve had to leave on was so flooded that a car was washed into a ditch,” said Verbanszky.

Although the trip had some bumps, it was still a “nice experience,” according to Hober. “It was a lot of fun to get to meet new people from other schools and learn about cool stuff like sustainable dairy farming,” she added.

“I’m really grateful to have had this opportunity to see this new place and find some new interests, and would highly recommend it,” said Guthrie.