School is out, but for some Moffat County teachers "summer break" is an oxymoron. The Daily Press caught up with four middle school teachers who are as busy as ever with summer projects.
Their summer activities range from running a private business to pursuing master's degrees; from training horses to training for a marathon.
Dwight Siverson teaches computer science during the school year, and now that the students are gone, he will help rearrange and upgrade the labs for next year. He also is teaching a weekly digital photography class at Colorado Northwestern Community College.
"I do enjoy my college classes. It's a welcome change from middle-schoolers," Siverson said.
Siverson's summer fishing plans will be punctuated with trips to Santa Barbara, Chicago and various Colorado towns to photograph weddings. During the school year, he photographs sports for the middle school's yearbook through his photography business, Frank Mills Studio. He started the business in 1979 and said all his current business comes through word of mouth.
By the time school starts again in the fall, two teachers will have completed their master's degrees in education from Adams State College. Bryce Eardley and Dustin Ence are not only furthering their own educations this summer, but they also are leading summer conditioning for young athletes.
Eardley, who coaches the junior varsity girl's basketball team and teaches social studies at the middle school, is taking his players to basketball camps this summer.
"It's good. It keeps you busy," Eardley said of the camps. "They're extremely competitive. At (the Mesa State College basketball camp) there are probably 100 different teams."
Eardley also plans to travel back to Oregon with his family to celebrate his 10th high school reunion.
Ence coaches varsity girl's cross country at the high school while teaching physical education and health at the middle school. He told the girls on his team that he would be in town for the summer and encouraged them to call him to go running. The team is preparing for a cross country camp in Wyoming.
He organized a run twice a week, but said he already has gone running with team members on other days. The extra running fits perfectly with one other goal Ence has for this summer. On Memorial Day, he began training for his first marathon, which he plans to run in St. George, Utah, in October. Ence plans to see Simon and Garfunkle in concert, as well as spend time with his family in Utah this summer.
Sharon Skwarek also plans to travel this summer. She'll go to her home state of Connecticut to visit her family. Her most exciting news however, is that she's expecting a baby -- a horse baby, that is.
Her competition mare will deliver a foal in four weeks. The foal is the great grandbaby of the famous thoroughbred racehorse Seattle Slew -- the first undefeated winner of the U.S. Triple Crown in 1977. Skwarek rides in competitions and said the foal will be her next competition horse. She rides, but she also "breaks," or as she prefers to say, "starts" untrained horses.
"Training a horse is a lot like training kids -- you have to first build a relationship with them," she said. Skwarek works hard to build trust with her students and her horses, she said.
"I love working with that age group. They're a lot of fun, and they're mostly enthusiastic. They're still young enough that you can give them a hug but old enough that you can reason with them," Skwarek said.
Her summer days have been chock full of activities, such as building a fence, caring for her many animals and starting horses, including her four-year old gelding named Comet. Who said anything about a break?