Stand Up for Great Lakes

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A Blog Post

Group set to cross Straits with students

In late April, a group of Cherryland Middle School 8th grade students will attempt to cross the Straits of Mackinac by stand-up paddleboard.
It all began with Cherryland Middle School’s (Elk Rapids Public Schools) International Baccalaureate 8th Grade Community Project program. Students Gordie Lafontaine and Kadin Patterson were inspired by their science teacher Kwin Morris’ tale of crossing Lake Michigan by stand-up paddleboard the previous summer. “ We heard about the paddle and how much money and awareness they (Stand Up For Great Lakes) raised and wanted to help make a difference too,” said Patterson “We love our lakes – the great ones and the small ones – and the opportunity to make such a significant journey across one of them would be amazing!”

Crossing the Straits is not an easy feat. Currents exceeding Niagara Falls along with below- freezing water are just a couple of the obstacles. Patterson, Morris and Lafontaine will be joined by other Lake Michigan paddlers Joe Lorenz and Jeff Guy of Traverse City. All are experienced paddleboarders and have been engaged in water-based activities for years. They are all physically fit and have been training and preparing for the crossing all winter. For safety, they will not be alone on the lake; the group will have a support boat shadowing them at all times.