Gone Boarding allows students to cultivate both a creative and adventurous side that no other class offers


According to senior Sydney VanLente, there is only one class that offers students enough freedom to have exhilarating and sometimes slightly chaotic experiences, and that class is Gone Boarding.

One of Sydney’s favorite examples of these kinds of opportunities is when the trip her class went on for Halloween. 

“For Halloween, we went to Action Wake Park,” Sydney said, “and since it was Halloween, we had the option to dress up, so [senior] Christian [Bethea] and I decided to dress up as mad scientists. We had lab coats and goggles from our other class, and we got to wear them while we went wakeboarding, and it was a super funny experience.” 

However, in addition to having entertaining excursions such as this one, Sydney also explains that you have to do some groundwork first: making your boards.

Gone Boarding is a combination of creativity and experience. The creativity side comes in when you get to build the board that you’re going to end up using later on.

“You basically build any type of board you want,” Sydney said. “It could be a surfboard, wakeboard, skateboard, etc., and you have full creative freedom with making it however you want it to look. The teachers are also super helpful in experimenting with different stuff, which makes it just an overall fun experience.” 

Every person I’ve met through the class I love and absolutely adore talking to, so it all worked out.

Similar to Sydney, senior Ally Werkema also decided to try out Gone Boarding for her last year of high school. Ally originally heard about the class from her older sister, and she immediately knew it was a class she had to take. 

Ally already does a lot of the activities the class offers on her own, such as wakeboarding, longboarding, snowboarding, etc. So, when she found out there was a class that would let her do these things during the school day, she was sold. 

“In some aspects, it was nice to know how to do [some of the activities] prior to the class,” Ally said. “However, the teachers really enjoy teaching people how to do all these things anyways, so you don’t actually need any prior experience. For me, getting to watch people learn and see that process was also really fun.”

Aside from all of the hands-on activities that Ally loves, one of her other favorite aspects of the class is the people. 

Gone Boarding is only offered at Northern, so aside from the three FHC students that travel there, Ally knew she was going to get to meet some new people through the class. 

“The fact that the class is offered at another school was very nerve-racking at first because you don’t really know anyone,” Ally said. “However, that being said, every person I’ve met through the class I love and absolutely adore talking to, so it all worked out.”

The last of the people who took the class from FHC is Christian. 

He found out about Gone Boarding during his freshman year and knew he wanted to take the class. However, he was upset when he got the unfortunate news that it would no longer be offered at FHC his senior year, but that didn’t stop him. 

“I originally was really drawn to the class because I liked that it mixed art with something I will actually use,” Christian said. “I have never really taken an art class here because it’s just not something I was ever that interested in, but Gone Boarding is really cool because I really like skiing and surfing and mountain biking, and I saw it as a way to combine all the things I like to do into one class.” 

In addition to being a positive creative outlet for students, the class also offers a lot of adventure. One example of this is a California trip that the students get to go on. 

Christian explained that all of these amazing aspects of the class are what makes it so great, but that none of it would be possible without the teachers who lead it all. 

“I love the teachers,” Christian said. “They’re both super fun. One of them is the board guy, and he goes out and paddleboards and longboards with us, and the other one is more technical. He’s the woodshop teacher, and he knows how to make every board ever and is super funny.”

Through the help of these amazing teachers, fellow Gone Boarding students, and a passion for sports and adventure, each of these students claims Gone Boarding as their favorite class they’ve taken in high school. 

“This class has been more helpful to me than any other class I’ve been in,” Christian said, “and the connections you make are just amazing. It’s definitely worth taking.”