D94 welcomes Rock Climbing Club


Photo by Britta Renwick

Renwick climbs to the top of the peak to take in the views.

By Miguel Garcia, Reporter

The newly-formulated Rock Climbing Club invited WEGO students to express their interest in the sport on Nov 3 at their first meeting, held in the study hall room.

Renwick climbs at Vertical Endeavors, where she, Vondrak and Myers formulated their plan for Rock Climbing Club. (Photo by Britta Renwick)

Rock Climbing Club is a brand-new organization that allows students in District 94 to take part in and explore the sport of rock climbing. Anyone can join the club, which meets Thursdays or Fridays after school, depending on what is stated in the student announcements.

There is a place for everyone in Rock Climbing Club – from any skill level. The group aims to teach the fundamentals of climbing, including safety, steps before and during the climb, and the teamwork aspect of the sport. 

“Everyone will be at a different level and will set their own goals to improve. Rock climbing builds strength, flexibility, endurance, determination and problem solving skills” said math teacher Kristen Vondrak, one of the club’s advisers.

“For rock climbing you don’t have to be good at it we will teach you and we will have a lot of fun with it, that the whole goal,” said study hall teacher Britta Renwick, also one of the club’s advisers.

The origin of the club is simple: Renwick and Vondrak previously went to Vertical Endeavors in Glendale Heights once a week. Vondrak saw the indoor climbing facility as a way for her to improve her skill, and strove to set a new personal best each week she went, aiming to eventually complete an outdoor climb.

When Renwick and Vondrak went to Vertical Endeavors, they bumped into junior Neela Myers. Myers has been rock climbing ever since she joined a competitive team seven years ago. Her love for the sport dates back to eighth grade, when she set her mind on starting a rock climbing club in high school. Myers expressed her interest to Renwick and Vondrak, believing more people might share the same interest and passion for rock climbing.

“My favorite part of the climbing community is how supportive and non-competitive it is – everyone wants everyone else to succeed no matter what team they are on, and I think this is a really amazing sport to introduce to the school beyond gym classes,” said Myers. 

A side view of one of the two rock climbing walls in the field house. (Photo by Leslie Fireman)

Myers’ idea was brought to life when Rock Climbing Club conducted its first meeting on Nov 3, and called the turnout “super encouraging.”

Vondrak, too, was impressed by the number of students who showed up and shared an interest in the club. Although some expressed concern about a fear of heights, according to Vondrak, they trusted they would overcome that fear and gain more confidence in their abilities.

“I love rock climbing because it uses every muscle in your body and it also uses your brain, your mind. It helps people to overcome fear of heights, I just love rock climbing,” said Renwick.

Vondrak, Renwick, and Myers hope to keep the club running to interest more people interested in rock climbing – even if just for a season or two.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you do: you can climb,” said Renwick.