We will always feel incredibly grateful for what our boys took away from the Teton Trip experience…

“Duane and I are both so grateful that 2 of our 3 boys who attended
Principia Upper School decided to go on the Teton Trip. It was truly a
once-in-a-lifetime experience. Each of the boys came back with
tremendous enthusiasm and joy after their time there. As parents we are grateful for several things about the trip.

With 4 boys, we have not had the funds to do a lot of travelling, so we
are thrilled that the two who went on the Teton Trip got to see a
beautiful part of the country that they might not have had the
opportunity to experience otherwise. Even better, they got to learn
experientially—about clouds, animal adaptations in the snow,
how they fit into communities, and ways to record their discoveries through art and journaling. They also had the chance to learn to cross country ski, which they both enjoyed thoroughly. They
got to experience wildlife up close (bison, elk, moose, coyotes, pine
martins), deeper snow than they ever imagined, and make friends with
kids they would not have gotten to know otherwise. Both Teton Trip
groups contained very diverse groups of students, and our boys came back with new friendships that continue to this day. For one of our sons who has never enjoyed traditional school, learning in this way was, in his
words, ‘one of the best experiences of my life.’

Both of our sons are members of sports teams and had to miss some
practices and even a game or two to attend the trip. Both felt that the
sacrifice was definitely worth it. Duane was the assistant coach of the
girls’ varsity basketball team this year and noted that the team member
who went on the Teton Trip this year played her best basketball after
returning from Jackson Hole. We will always feel incredibly grateful
for what our boys took away from the Teton Trip experience and highly
recommend it!”

Susan Thomas, parent
St. Louis, MO

(Samuel Thomas, 2007 Teton Trip
Christian Thomas, 2009 Teton Trip)

The Teton Trip absolutely changed my life.


The Teton Trip absolutely changed my life. It was during that trip when writing came alive to me. I had always struggled as a writer, but it was more of the fear of it, rather than the inability to express myself through the written word. During that trip, poetry opened new windows for me to reflect on the natural world, which I thrived in.

So much happen during that trip that remains apart of my life today. Principia has the unique opportunity to bring programs like this to students who can benefit from them. I hope that they build upon a program that has benefited so many over the years.”

David Bailey
Educational Director
The Link School
1987 Teton Trip

I came face to face with a huge bull moose for a full five minutes…


The Teton Trip was an extraordinary experience that put me in an environment where I matured and grew in ways that might have otherwise taken me years to accomplish. Instead of being “taught” valuable lessons, I got to self-see and experience incredibly important concepts first hand. Imagine what it’s like to be a kid from the suburbs and come face to face with that mountain range? To say that it redefined my concept of “OMNIPOTENCE” is putting it lightly. The Tetons also helped me see what it is to truly be quiet and still, and to understand my relationship with God and that environment.

The highly transferable life skills that I learned on that trip have stuck with me and served me very well over the years. For example, I got some much needed experience in being calm in a crisis when I came face to face with a huge bull moose for a full five minutes during a solo writing exercise. Skiing was initially very difficult for me, so I learned that being patient with myself and remaining undiscouraged despite many failures is a key ingredient to successfully learning something new. I also had a remarkable physical healing that has proven to be a cornerstone of my study of Christian Science to this day. There’s no question in my mind that these formative life lessons were a natural outcome of participating in that remarkable program and I’ve always been grateful to Principia and its faculty for providing such an opportunity.

I’m a huge fan of experiential education and have planned many, many educational trips for young people over the years — especially in my work with The St. Louis Children’s Choirs. I just got back from taking Upper Schoolers to NYC for the drama trip in early February.”

Phebe Telschow
1987 Teton Trip

…my most memorable week of high school ever!


“That week in the Tetons was my most memorable week of high school ever! Highlights include the rosemary chicken on the first night, snowball fights, funny quotes, revelations in art and writing, beautiful moon pictures, and late night journaling and sharing inspirational ideas. I still carry lessons with me from that week. I appreciated Greg Houda’s constant “No worries” attitude, finding fresh perspectives on life using unique journal activities, learning to use watercolors to splash a little more color into life, and valuing everyone’s ideas.

The snow of Kelly brought me back to my days growing up in Vermont and inspired me to later pursue a trip to Yellowstone National Park in the dead of winter! I also just returned from a 3 month trip in northern Patagonia, Chile where I was writing the whole time.

Constant memories of unique journaling ideas filled my thoughts as I recorded my journey. Thank you Teton Science Schools, Karla, Eleanor, Court, Nick, Greg, Kristin, Lisa, Mike, and Principia for offering such an unforgettable experience for high schoolers.”

Forrest Bless
2002 Teton Trip

I’m writing this from my snow-covered village in the High Atlas Mountains…

The High Atlas Mountains, Central Morocco

“As we flew home from the Teton trip, we swapped journals around and wrote messages to each other. Several people asked, ‘Did you remember to pack the mountains?’

Fourteen years later, my answer is still, ‘Absolutely.’

I’m writing this from my snow-covered village in the High Atlas Mountains of central Morocco. The mountains out my window aren’t as dramatic as the glacier-carved Teton peaks, but my life here has so many echoes of that week… There are the obvious ones, like the fact that I’ve worn long underwear and wool socks every day for months, and that I’ve got the raccoon-eyed tan of someone who wears sunglasses in the face of sunny snowfields. And then there are the subtle ones: I never imagined that I could draw before Greg Houda opened that door, and yesterday I helped paint a 100 square foot mural on the wall of a school. I didn’t value my creative writing skills before that week, and now I keep a daily blog, sharing my words with the world. My tree-hugging started long before the Teton trip, but I continue to cherish the lessons of “Creative Expressions in Nature” as I work as an Environmental Educator with the Peace Corps. (And before this adventure, I got to use them in my inner-city classroom, where I taught science.) Both in the classroom and out, I love sharing my love of nature.

But most importantly, the same joy in beauty, the same love of the soul-deep peace of mountain mornings, and even the same rejoicing in every one of God’s gifts…the same lights that illuminated the Teton Trip keep shining in my life, and I’m so very, very grateful for it all.

How ’bout you? Did you remember to pack the mountains?”

Liz Fuller
Peace Corps Volunteer, Morocco
1995 Teton Trip

The High Atlas Mountains, Central Morocco • photos by Liz Fuller

I knew I would go back there…


One of the most memorable experiences in high school!
The Teton Trip tied together some of my favorite things: writing, being out in the cold, dabbling in art and being with people in a challenging environment. I remember writing in my diary that I knew I would go back there… and I did. I think I’ve been back 7 times since then, mostly as a climber, but also as a student, sometimes winter, sometimes summer. That trip helped plant some of the seeds which grew into my college major and then a career in the outdoors. I loved the camaraderie between students and teachers and the chance to learn and grow in an informal way while still garnering a valid academic and artistic product–all in the world’s largest intact (non-polar) ecosystem. This was a pretty special opportunity.”

Sune Tamm-Buckle
1999 Teton Trip

Above: Sune on the summit of Grand Teton in 2005

I have looked at my journal nearly everyday since we came back…


The Teton Trip was one of the most inspiring and learning-filled trips I’ve ever been on! I learned that animals and the environment really are a part of our life, even though we may not spend all day in nature when we are at school, or a job (just in everyday life). But nature surrounds us, and I learned we should revolve around nature and not disturb or destroy it.

The Tetons are intimidating and beautiful. They really put human size into perspective. I never considered myself a naturalist or environmentalist, but seeing this natural beauty showed me that we should be doing everything in our power to protect it.

I had such a great time drawing and doing creative/ artistic journaling while on this trip, and I have looked at my journal nearly everyday since we came back from the trip 🙂 it was truly amazing :)!

Anneke Reed
2009 Teton Trip

(Some pages from my journal:)




A Parent’s Perspective: An Amazing Experience…

“All three of my children went on the Principia Upper School Teton Trip; Dan in 1998, Lizzie in 2000, and Jason in 2003. For each of them, it was an amazing experience, unlike anything they had ever done before. The unique perspective you get in wilderness, the combination of times alone and then time together where you can share with your friends. Jason especially enjoyed doing this with a group of people he already liked and trusted, that pre-trip bond strengthened the experience.

They learned a lot about what to do in snow, how to be out in cold, how to be okay with whatever came out on the journal page. It’s hard to know if this particular skill set will come up in their lives again, but the trip is an amazing tool for creating a broader mind, a deeper perception of things, a way to appreciate life that can’t come out of classroom work. All three of my children took trips to various places that I feel made them better students, better people, better friends.

From a parent’s perspective, I think that even before the trip, just making the commitment to participate in the Teton Trip was a growing experience. We sat down together and looked at the cost of going, and the equipment list, and said, ‘Now, something creative is going to have to happen to make this possible, because we’re already doing all we can to pay for private school tuition.’

In Dan’s case, he asked many relatives to give him money to make the trip, borrowed gear from many friends, and then did some work to earn the rest of the money. In Jason’s case, he got a job at a fast food place, and arranged his life so he could keep up with school and get the job in. He was highly successful at balancing work, school, and the rest of life, and continued to have jobs when he got back. Even though I would never have encouraged him to get a job while in school, it turned out to be something he was good at.

For Lizzie, this was her first (aside from Middle School week away) school expedition. After this one, she signed up and earned money for a trip to Europe during the summer with an educational group outside of school, where she saw much of the art that she afterwards studied in Mr Beim’s course. Then she did her senior project with a friend and her dad in Ireland, and she brought home a love of Irish music which she afterwards sang all thru college with her friend Laura. Then she did a college PE course in the Bahamas, another in Colorado, and finally went to China in her college senior year. Oh, and now she’s working on a sailboat in the Caribbean.

So in a sense, the Teton Trip launched Lizzie’s love of travel as adventure, and buried forever the idea that a trip is expensive and most people can’t afford to go. It also launched an enduring love of journals, and especially journals that are beautiful.”

Sue Loomis, parent
St. Louis, MO

(Dan Loomis, 1998 Teton Trip
Lizzie Loomis, 2000 Teton Trip
Jason Loomis, 2003 Teton Trip)

…the single most influential time in my life…

2007-samuel-thomas-moon.jpg“The Teton Trip was one of the best experiences of my life. Now I know that a lot of people say that about things that they think are cool but for me, the January trip to the Teton Science School was the single most influential time in my life in forming an opinion about myself: who I was and who I wanted to become. The whole trip was gratifying but there was one day in particular where a lot of light bulbs went off in my head. This was the day when we went on our night hike. We left after dark and snowshoed for quite a while. When we stopped, we were told to lie down in the three feet of snow and be quiet. For a long period of time, no one moved. We all lay in the soft snow, eyes searching in the star-scattered, moon-lit sky for inspiration. That night was the first time in my life that I truly heard silence and it was that silence that completely cleared my head, allowing me to reflect on ME. I am extremely grateful for the whole trip, that night especially, and if the opportunity presented itself for me to go back, I would in a heartbeat.”

Samuel Thomas
St. Louis, MO
2007 Teton Trip

Getting Ready for the 2009 Trip… Here it comes!

You know that silly feeling you get when it’s almost time to go back to camp? or when it’s almost Christmas? The Teton Trip is a kind of Christmas/camp combination. And it’s almost that time again…

The 2009 Teton Trip leaves STL for the Teton Science School in Kelly, WY on Sunday 25 January 2009. As we get our gear together over Christmas break, I wanted to share these pictures from the 2008 trip with you. 🙂 (The snow is already falling in Kelly as I am writing this post. Heh heh…)


Above: Writing and Art Instructors Michael Booth and Kristin Serafini with matching weasel hats.


Some discoveries happen in the classroom (above)… but most of them happen outside! (below)