MONTGOMERY - During the week she may look like an average elementary teacher and librarian, but in her spare time and during her summer vacations, Diane McCormick has dedicated herself to completing a hike of the Appalachian Trail. The trails stretch across 13 states and total 2,183 miles. Although she never intended on finishing the entire thing, she reached the impressive goal this past summer.
McCormick began her hike nine years ago. Every year she sets an AR (Accelerated Reading) goal for her students to reach to have the opportunity to hike on a portion of the trail. "It is a dream of mine to have one of my students finish the trail like I did," she said. It teaches them map skills, math, geometry and geography. Most of the trips take place in July and August where there is about a ten week window to hike.
Fellow hiker and educator, Randy Watts from Turbotville said, "There is a 20 year span for most of us to get it done. We do sections two to three weeks at a time." According to Watts finding people to hook up with and the compatibility is hard to find as an individual. Taking students to hike is a great experience. "We live off our backpacks, about 35 pounds," added Watts. The students usually begin the trail from the entrance in Harrisburg.
McCormick poses with fellow hikers in Maine just after reaching the summit of her nine year hiking adventure.
Working with the assistant pastor, McCormick also started a hiking group for women through the Nazarene Church in Sunbury. They take one or two hikes a year.
Mrs. McCormick who resides in Allenwood has been teaching in the Montgomery Area School District for the past 15 years. She began as the Elementary librarian and has now taken on the responsibilities of the Middle and High School library as well. She runs the district's Accelerated Reading program and is also active in the district's new TEE Initiative that involves the incorporation of iPads into the school curriculum and eBooks in the libraries.