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Unique field trip for special education students in Waukesha

Posted at 6:45 PM, Feb 21, 2020

PEWAUKEE — Special education students from all of the high schools in the Waukesha School District got to go on a unique field trip on Friday to Pewaukee Lake.

"We're providing opportunities for kids that normally wouldn’t be able to do these types of things and getting kids out ice fishing. Especially students with special needs, it's a totally different unique opportunity for them," Joe Jenna, a special education teacher from Waukesha West said.

Roughly 30-40 students took to the ice to try their hands at ice fishing. Some of them had done it before and for others, it was their first time.

Branyon Hisel is a regular pro.

"I've gone ice fishing for 10 years," the sophomore from Waukesha West said.

Even though he is familiar with ice fishing from going with his dad, it was still a unique experience for him. This was an inclusive trip meaning that students with various abilities all interacted with one another.

Peer mentor Victoria Buhrandt from Waukesha West said she felt it was good that everyone was interacting together.

"They often get separated, special ed students. They often get separated from everyone else, and I feel like today is just kind of a day for us to all hangout and get along."

Along with ice fishing, students, staff, and mentors could enjoy sled rides pulled by an ATV, brats, and hotdogs, and some even brought a football to toss.

It was a picture-perfect day to hit the ice. Even though the fish weren't biting, there is a more important lesson the students will take home.

"And they’re developing friendships with some of the other kids in the schools they normally wouldn’t, and they see each other in the hallway. They are high-fiving. They are giving each other hugs, and it goes well beyond this event throughout the rest of the school year," Jenna, the special education teacher from Waukesha West, said.

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