Engaging the World in High School Discovery Week

At Denver Christian, we believe that students experiencing and engaging the world around them is an essential part of student life. This is why our high school takes a week out of every year for “discovery week.” This week is dedicated to trips and local experiences which dive deeper into topics, locations, as they explore and embrace curiosity. Each class or destination provides a way for students to discover every square inch of God’s world in a unique and fun way. Every year we take a week (typically in between our terms) to offer trips, along with both full and half day options here on campus.

Surf and Serve: high school trip to Santa Barbara

Local Discovery in Colorado

Some of our students stay in Colorado, choosing either whole-day or two half-day options. Our Discover Denver group enjoyed the amazing things our state has to offer. They visited the Denver Museum of Natural Science, the Denver Art Museum, and more. Our hiking groups enjoyed beautiful weather as they explored Waterton Canyon, Red Rocks, and other hikes on the front range.

A group of our students spent the week learning how to make pizza from DC teachers Mr. McClain and Mr. Bosshard, homemade pizza fanatics, and also took over Dr. Kortenhoeven’s kitchen! From grocery selections to baking method, they covered it all.

Other Denver-based groups included Game Crafting Camp, an Art Intensive, Drivers Education, and Basic Construction.

Discovering God’s Work Across the United States

Six groups left campus for variety locations across the country. Some trips focus on studies, like our Marine Biology trip. Our trips often include a service element in the community where we travel. Simply Venture led two of our exciting trips — “Surf & Serve” in Santa Barbara and “Arizona Dreams” Grand Canyon (and more) exploration.

God’s Work in Creation: The Emerald Coast Zoo

One group continued a years-long tradition of traveling to the Emerald Coast Zoo in Crestview, Florida. Denver Christian graduates Rick and Sarah DeRidder purchased the zoo when it was in danger of closing. Our students were able to help with some projects at the zoo, including building a shelter for goats and llamas and clearing room for a new fence.

Enjoying hard work on their trip to the Emerald Coast Zoo!

As the students helped the DeRidders, they were blessed by hearing about the amazing story of the zoo’s opening. Students also learned about God’s diverse creation, and appreciated strengthening the relationships on their team through their projects:

“My biggest takeaway from this trip was the feeling of pride once I saw all the work we had completed. I have never really thought of myself as a hard worker but I really changed my opinion of myself.”

Discovering our History, Engaging our Future: Washington DC

DCS history teacher James Timmer and librarian Nancy Waanders led the trip to Washington, D.C.  Mr. Timmer says, “I get to watch students see all of these amazing places, historical artifacts, and monuments for the first time. I get to see them suddenly realize that all of this ‘distant’ history actually happened and is still impactful to people. My hope is that it will inspire them to be an active part in our nation in the years to come. The world needs good leaders, and maybe Washington D.C. will inspire them to be just that.”

Similarly, Nancy Waanders notes how an international student’s participation was invaluable in helping us learn from each other: “He inspired us all to ask questions, admit our country’s weaknesses since he was forthright in declaring his own country’s struggles, and never underestimate the cost of fighting for democratic ideals and freedom.” One student reflected: “Places like the Holocaust Museum and the American Indian Museum show me that sometimes, the US and the world is not afraid to show their failures and broken promises. They help us realize that we have been bad in the past and need to change.”

“In Washington DC, we were able to see our country’s story so much clearer. Hopefully, seeing that story inspires them to live the story and be an active part in our country’s continuing story.”

Nancy Waanders

We are grateful for our staff and partnerships

We value the learning that happens each day throughout the school year on our Lakewood campus, and we look forward each year to the unique learning opportunities that Discovery Week offers our high school students — using our campus to explore new classes, learning more about the metro Denver area, and learning in locations around the country. Special thanks to our hardworking high school staff for helping craft experiences that help our students see God’s story and “Live the Story” in new and meaningful ways.

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