Dispatches From Yosemite: Alone With The Bears and Beauty
Techlife News|June 6, 2020
The glacier-carved valleys of Yosemite National Park have been closed to the public for nearly three months and a few dozen lucky kids have had it mostly to themselves.

Locked down amid cascading waterfalls and giant sequoias, the kids and their families have passed afternoons hiking empty trails, rafting in the river and walking with wildlife now thriving in the near absence of humans.

Expect to read all about it in the upcoming edition of the Yosemite Valley School newspaper, the product of one of America’s most historic and unique public schools.

The only school inside the 1,200-square-mile (3,100-square-kilometer) park has three classrooms for 35 students in K-8th grades — the children of Yosemite’s essential staff who live in a residential area of the park and are watching over it while it’s closed.

The school shut its doors in mid-March like others across America and class has been convening online.

But the pandemic hasn’t stopped the presses on the school year’s last edition of “The Yosemite Eye,” a publication that has so charmed its community it boasts a circulation of 5,000, distributed by a local weekly newspaper.

The young reporters take their mission seriously: “To give the outside world the inside scoop on day-to-day life here,” as eighth grader Gabriela Reyes-Morris puts it.

Their school is tucked in a meadow overlooking Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in America and a fine sight to see while playing kickball. Teacher Cathy DeCecco fondly calls it “Little House on the Prairie — with Wi-Fi and robotics classes.” The Yosemite Valley School dates to 1875 when it was a one-room schoolhouse.

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