Friday Journal


Coordinated by:










Trip Leaders:

Lee Schmitt: Thanks to Mrs. Schoeneck, all adult leaders and especially the students of Parkers Prairie for an engaging and fun week of studying geology.  Every student worked hard, gathered data and asked lots of questions about how the landscape we saw came to be.  If we are to be good stewards of our planet, we need to understand it, and there is no better way to learn than outside in earths laboratory.  Great field work!

Marlene Schoeneck:

The 8th grade trip is all about stories.  These are stories of formation, quiet seas, turbulent waters, and volcanic uplifts.  Every landscape has a story.  What happened here?  How do we know?  How can we piece together the evidence to tell us more?  I hope now that you have experienced this adventure that you continually look for the stories that are everywhere around you.  Remember what they tell you about the past and what they may predict for the future.

Your life, as well, is a story.  How do you want others to read your story?  What kinds of evidence do you leave that tell people who you are and what you are about?  Unlike the landscape, etched by forces out of its control, you have some choices as to how your life will be sculpted.  Surely, there will be those things that happen that you do not foresee, and cannot control, but you are in charge of how you are molded and melded by the things that happen in your life.  I hope that you found independence in yourself on the trip; to be your own person and to stand strong for the great person you are, regardless of the forces whirling around you.

Your learning also has a story.  Some of you are hesitant learners, some eager learners, while some of you go to great lengths not to learn at all!  Yet, I would be hard-pressed to find one of you who did not learn volumes during the trip.  Why?  I wish I could bottle whatever it is that happens during those 5 days in South Dakota.  I do think part of the “magic” is that you suddenly become the authors of your own learning story.  Most certainly there are requirements and expectations, but you are the ones in charge of writing your learning story.  You did it – every one of you.  Don’t stop now.  Ultimately, you are always in charge of writing you own learning story.

New stories were carved during the trip.  These stories came from long days of writing in journals, traipsing over hills in hot weather, talking with college students, making endless sandwiches with parents, camping under the pines, and encountering rattle  snakes (even if under 20 cm long).  Through these experiences, you gain not only stories of your own, but your stories become interwoven with those of others.  I hope you learned to cherish these new stories.  They will become the rock that holds together your class for many years into the future.  The trip has gone on for ten years, but the stories of your class are unique, just as the many landscapes that we traveled through have a distinctiveness all of their own.

Even though the trip itself comes to an end, the journey never really does.  It has been an honor and a privilege to share that road with you for a small part of your journey.  You are a great group of young people.  I look forward to watching you continue both your journey and the unfolding of your future stories.

8th Grade Students:


Brandt Smith: Wow! This was the coolest trip I have ever been on. Thanks Mrs. Schoeneck!

Madelin Pince: Thanks Mrs.Schoeneck. You’re amazing! :)

Shai Bauman: Thank you so much Mrs. Schoeneck it was the best week of my life :) and I love Madi Pince.

Javy Gallagher: This trip has been one of the GREATEST experiences I have ever been on. When Mrs. Schoeneck said it was a once in a lifetime trip, I would have to agree. I don't think I would ever feel this close to Schoeneck if we hadn't gone on this trip. I also liked meeting the new people, like Ryan Viola and Lee Schmitt. Both of them taught us so much, as well as Mrs. Schoeneck. Thank you so much for letting us come on this trip, and I hope that next year's class will have just as much fun or even more. (P.S. Ryan...I’m not a vampire!)

Liz Wippler: I've never been out of Minnesota before, so this was my first time and it was really cool. I loved all the sites and had lots of fun. I hope to come come back again.

Chris Moske: The trip was fun and it went fast. We learn how the Badland and the Black Hills were formed. I also liked all the places that we went to. Thanks to all the people who helped us so that we can go on the trip.

Robert Hill: I think that the trip was very fun and I wish that I could go with the sevies next year. And myself, I had a good time except for the almost concussion that I had at Devil's Gulch. And I can't wait to get  back to school so I can tell everybody how EVERYONE had so much fun. And I hope that all the sevies have as much fun as we did!!!!!!  Also would like to thank everyone who gave their money to make this trip happen. And I’d especially like to thank Mrs. Schoeneck. I also Thank Uncle Dave (our awesome bus driver) for driving the bus for us and everyone else that has already been on this trip or is still waiting to go on the trip. Thanks everybody!

Shelby Sowers: The South Dakota trip was a lot of fun. I learned so many things that i would not normally learn in the classroom. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this trip. I had a great time.

Josh Wilde: I had an awesome time I learned how the Badlands were formed and I also learned about the Black Hills, Devils Gulch, Pipestone, Mt. Rushmore, Wind Cave, Devils Tower and much more. Thanks to Mrs. Schoeneck and Lee Schmitt and everybody who donated and helped. Thanks!

Maggi Horton: (Purple Pickles!!) I learned so much this week!! I would like to start off with my thanks to Mrs. Schoeneck. She has taught me so much! I appreciate her patience with me:) and Mr. Lee when we did those geo review on the bus I was writing it all down; and our AWESOME bus driver Uncle Dave! It was funny when I saw him sitting in his chair in the shade. I had a good laugh! Thank to Kevin and Mark for the AWESOME food we had!! This trip was worth every minute. It was awesome meeting new people: Ryan and Lee! I talked to people I barely talk to in school. I had an awesome time, I hope that the 7th graders will have as much fun as I did! Thanks for all the donations! And Thanks to my parents to for keeping me in line:) haha.

Jenny Hanson:( Purple Pickles) This week I learned so much stuff! Thanks to Mrs.Schoeneck for taking us out to South Dakota! That was the BEST TRIP EVER!!!:) Thanks to everyone who made this trip possible!!

Sam Koegel: (Peace People Group)

Hello! I just want to thank everyone that contributed to the trip such as donations, teaching (Schoeneck ;)), and just generally helping out! A very special thank you to Mrs. Schoeneck, Mr. Lee Schmitt, all of the chaperones, the college students, and our wonderful bus driver... UNCLE DAVE!!! :) Thank you everyone for the epic trip. One I will never forget thanks to the 400 pictures I took!!! :)

Leah Olson: (Peace “Hippies” Group =D)

Thank you to everyone that’s helped us to go on this trip!!  It was so much fun, and I have lots of memories of learning more about geology and hanging out with my friends.  I’ll never forget this amazing trip or the people that helped get us here.  Every place we went to was great and I learned lots of things at each place.  Thank you again!!

Jake Thoennes: I went to SD before in 5th grade for Miltona. On this trip I did lots of different stuff. My favorite part of the trip was the cave!!!!!! When I was in Miltona we went to Mount rushmore cave and not Wind Cave. (Stay away from snakes!)

Sierra Nori:

Wow, this trip was amazing.  I am so glad we got the chance to go on this trip and i hope grades below us get the same experience!  The trip brings people closer together which is awesome!  My favorite part was the Wind Cave.  Ohh and THANKS KEVIN! (;

Erica Reigstad: All right, let’s go again! The trip was soooo much fun! If I had the option to do it again I would definitely say yes! Sevies get ready for a blast! ;) Thanks to all the chaperones for everything they did, like making us food and keeping us all under control. Besides seeing the huge, ugly snake, the trip was amazing! (:

Kirsten Johnson: (Peace Group)

It was really fun!!! I learned so much thanks to my teachers and the people who helped me along the way. I think our class was a lot closer to each other during the week.THANK YOU to EVERYONE who helped with this trip!! I hope more eighth graders get to experience this AMAZING week with GREAT chaperones like we had, and a good teacher like Mrs. Schoeneck. THANKS SO MUCH TO EVERYONE!!!!!  =]

Michael Thomas:  Thank you to everyone who helped us with going on this trip.  It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot about geology.  My favorite part of the trip was going to the Badlands.  It was a lot easier to learn when I could actually see what we are talking about.

Riley Springer: Thanks to everyone that helped make this trip possible. Thanks to the parents and college students that went with us. A big thanks to Lee, Mrs. Schoeneck, and to Uncle Dave!

We learned a lot and had lots of fun!

Casey Rehm: Thank you for everything. I have learned a lot and it was fun this whole week. We went to a lot of places like Wind cave, Mt. Rushmore, Badlands, and Black Hills.Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreg is the best dinosaur ever!!!!!!!!!! 

Mitchell Kalpin: Thanks to everyone who made this trip fun and educational. I want to thank the parents and the college students for putting up with us. I want to thank Chris for not hurting us. I want to thank Uncle Dave for driving us around. I want to thank Lee for helping us learn geology. I want to thank Casey for letting me borrow Craig. One more time and you’re done!

Nathen Debilzen: The trip was a lot of fun. It went by a lot faster than I thought it would. I learned more and had more fun than I thought it would’ve been. Thanks to Uncle Dave for driving us everywhere and thanks to everyone who helped make this trip happen. I will never forget this trip.

Casey Aldrich: Thanks to everyone who helped us go on the trip, it was a lot of fun we went to lots of places most of my favorites are the Badlands, Wind Cave, and Cascade falls.Thanks to all the teachers, college students, and parents for letting us be able to go on the trip and LEARN so much.


Levi Callaway The trip was one of the best things that happened this year. We learned a lot about the geology at South Dakota. At first I thought that there was nothing to see in that area but with Lee Schmitt and Mrs.Schoeneck’s help I learned a lot about that area. We were so involved in the work we were doing that the days felt like hours and they were packed full of cool and interesting facts.

Abigail Koep: Thanks to everyone who helped make this trip possible, without you we wouldn’t have these amazing memories that we have now. A special thanks to Mrs.Schoeneck and Lee Schmitt who taught me a lot this week. My favorite place was probably the Badlands.

Karley C: Thanks to everyone who made this trip a success! It was lots of fun and I learned a lot. I saw a lot of things that I thought were AMAZING. My favorite part was swimming in the Hot Springs or going through the Wind Cave! I had a ton of fun with my group (Peace!) I want to give special thanks to Mrs.Schoeneck, Lee Schmitt, Ryan Viola, Uncle Dave, Ramona Wippler, and Shannon Bjerketvedt for helping me on the way. Thanks!

Taylor Mae Shaw: I had a great time on the trip! You really get to know your classmates and other people on the trip too. Thank you Mrs. Schoeneck for taking us to South Dakota and thank you for everybody who donated! You get to see the amazing landscape of South Dakota and a lot of other stuff too!

Jordan Smith: I learned a lot about the landforms in South Dakota and Wyoming.  I would like to thank everyone who contribute to make this trip possible. This was an awesome trip.

Saren Smith: I had a amazing time on the South Dakota trip. Its a wonderful time to learn a lot about the landscape of South Dakota and about all my classmates too. Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible. Thanks to Mark Carlson and Kevin Smith for all the delicious food. And a huge thank you to Mrs. Schoneck because without her none of this would’ve happened!

Dylan Marquardt:  I learned a lot outside of the classroom. It was fun.

Abby Pooler:  I had a great time on the South Dakota Trip!  It was an amazing way to learn about the landscape of South Dakota!  I really enjoyed getting to meet some of my classmates I didn’t know very well before the trip. Thank you for all of it!

Caroline Carlson: Thank you for everyone who donated and made this trip possible. I had an amazing time during this trip. I learned so much throughout this trip and hope to use the information throughout my life.

Zakk Jahnke: I had a great in South Dakota. My favorite place was the Badlands. Best thing that happened in camp was that Michael T. and I found a 10 foot rattlesnake! (The best college student, Ryan Viola, almost got eaten!) (Note from Mrs. S.: No exaggeration here! ;)

Sadie LeBlanc: Thank you everybody for this amazing trip, I learned a lot!! my favorite part was going to Mount Rushmore and the Wind Cave, and Ii got to know who everybody really was and Igot to know who my real friends are!! Plus i got to go out to different states. That was fun!

Regan Onken: Thank you to everyone who was involved in us being able to go on this trip and to everyone from the cooks to the organizations and individual people who donated money for us to go on our trip. Thank you to the camps and to all of the places that let us come. I learned a lot

Aspen Klukken: had a awesome time on the trip. i wish i could go again next year i learned a lot and had a blast!!!


Hanna Ruckheim: Thanks to everyone who make this trip amazing for me. I had a great time and I know that everyone that goes on this trip will.

Cheyenne Riedel: I had an awesome time in South Dakota. I really learned a lot of things that I probably wouldn’t have learned as good in a classroom. I want to let everyone who helped to

fund the trip know that I’m extremely grateful and it was really cool that you did that for us.

Tanner Johanson: This was the most fun ive had in a very long time it was amazing i wish we could go on it again or it lasted longer. I thought south dakota was just flat but i was misled, it is a very amazing state i really loved the badlands. Thank you Mrs. Sho Sho i know we almost drove you crazy but you stuck to it and we had an amazing week! Also thank you for all of the helpers!! you guys made the trip even better! and a special thanks to RYAN VIOLA AND KEVIN SMITH...PCG FOR LIFE! PINK CAMO GUYS<3 lets all hang out again!

Tom Leeseberg: This was an awesome trip and had a lot of fun.

Darianne Saxton: I had a really fun time on this trip. I learned a lot when i was on this trip. I wish i could go again.

Courtney Brandsted: Wow, that trip was honestly the most fun I have ever had on a school related trip! Thank you!

Joe Kastner: Thank you everyone that donated! It was the best trip. My favorite part was the Badlands!



Ramona Wippler - Thank You for this wonderful learning adventure.  Many of these destinations I've never seen and have always heard about. The fact that we could and did learn so much about our world was amazing.  I will never look at our world the same way again. I also am much more eager to continue to learn and study about geology and related fields than I ever have been. FANTASTIC!

Jim and Deone Horton: Wow for a wonderful week. The anticipation started early every day (we actually started early every day) and ended late in the evening with dinner starting as it was getting dark. This is our 2nd time chaperoning and we learned just as much on the trip as the students did. The kids really knew what they needed to know we learned by asking them questions. It is a great learning experience that normally each student would not learn about in such depth. Its great watching their faces as all their learning and hard work has come together defining what Quaquaversal means to the Black Hills landscape. This trip would not be possible without the PP School and the community's support. It's wonderful living in a community that supports our kids. Thank you to all and especially Mrs. Schoeneck and Mr. Lee Schmitt! Jim and Deone Horton (Purple Pickles Group)

Teira Shaw: What a great week!  This trip has been amazing.  I learned so much right along with the kids.  Even though I have been to most of these places before I never stopped to really think about why the land looks the way it does.  I will never look at it the same.  I am so glad I had the opportunity to go on this trip and am so grateful to the community of Parkers Prairie who made it possible.  It is a great experience for the kids, one they will never forget.  Thank you Mrs. Schoeneck and Lee Schmitt.  I had an awesome time!

Charlie Jahnke: This has been my third year doing this and as always it has been a GREAT trip and a GREAT bunch of kids.  My hope that they have learned a lot an come home with a lot more knowledge of their surroundings.A lot memories were made this week.  Memories to last a lifetime!  A big thank you goes out to Mrs. Schoeneck and Lee Schmitt and the rest of the crew for letting me be a part of this great year. Timmy had a great time except for his back injury.  (Note from Mrs. S.: Timmy is our plastic turtle class mascot. It’s ok - no kids had back injuries!) If given the opportunity, I would gladly offer my services again.  And again - THANK YOU!

College Students:


Shannon Bjerketvedt- University of Minnesota, Duluth

I want to say thank you for letting me join in this amazing trip. It has been an awesome experience. I really enjoyed exploring the landscape with the children and seeing their observational skills advance. This trip is very important because these kids are the future. They are a great group of kids who never failed to make me laugh. Memories were made this week that they get to enjoy for a lifetime. Thank you to the community, Lee, Dave, the parents, the cooks and Marlene for making this possible. I am very thankful to be a part of the 10th Aniversary marker of the South Dakota field investigation trip. A final shout out to my group, PEACE be with you!

Byron Herdman - University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

This trip has been amazing, once again.  2012 marked my third year on the trip as a teaching assistant and it seems to get better every year.  Being able to watch the wonder and curiosity in the eyes of these young individuals as they learn about the mysteries of the planet they call home is priceless.  Marlene has a great thing going with the implementation of inquiry-based learning and the push for students to ask questions and dig for the answers themselves.  As students can't seem to learn well by "osmosis" anymore, being able feel and smell and listen and observe the ever-changing environment around them is important.  This trip is a major asset to their development as intelligent consumers of Earth science information.  I would like to thank the students for being great learners, parents for being good support systems, my fellow university students for helping to broaden the thinking capabilities of these young people, Lee for his vast intellect, and last, but most importantly, Marlene for once again (the 10th time) coordinating this "once in a lifetime adventure.".  We are a very lucky community. Thank you!

Ryan Viola - Minnesota State University, Moorhead: it was my second year on this AWESOME trip!!! As a University Student and hopeful Science teacher, I can honestly say that this is the BEST learning experience for students. Being able to observe natural processes out in the field is the BEST form of inquiry based learning for students. EVERYONE has a great time on this trip and the new friendships and experiences will be something we will ALL cherish for the rest of our lives!!! (you rock Mrs. Schoeneck, Lee Schmitt.....and a special shout out to P.C.G...aka Pink Camo Group....and the cooks! :-).  )

Erica Parsons - University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

What a trip!  And what an amazing opportunity to be able to embark on this trip a second time around, this time as a college student.  I feel very fortunate to return as a PPHS alumnus on the 10th anniversary of the South Dakota Field Investigation Trip.  It was fun to revisit the sites and relearn about the rock formations from a different point of view.  Even more magical, was to watch the kids investigate and discover how the rocks were formed on their own.  This was such a great group of kids to work with and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them over the course of a mere week.  They are smart, inquisitive and very funny. I continue to tell people how lucky I was to grow up in a community that so phenomenally supports its youth through things like this very trip.  This trip serves as a constant reminder that education, science in particular, are so important...and should not be taken for granite. Ha! I had to sneak in a geology pun.  But seriously, this trip is only as significant as the people who help make it happen.  A Norwegian saying I use commonly as a CLV counselor is 'alt for barna' which means everything for the children.  Because that's what it's really all about...the kids.  They worked hard all week and practiced magnificent science, every day.  I am so thankful to be a part of it all.  A huge thank you to Mrs. Schoeneck for letting me tag along and to all the kids and adults who made this trip a truly incredible experience.