Randy Wolfe grew up just blocks from Ruby Hill. He now lives with his family in Arvada, so when snow covered the city Wednesday morning it was crucial he bring his two boys to sled his old stomping grounds.
“Nothing’s more important to me than coming out here with these two youngsters and showing them what life’s about,” he said as Jackson and Ryan tumbled down the hill on their sleds.
The brothers, who are a year apart and have a habit of answering questions in unison, said they feel their dad’s history here. But to them, the best part of the day is simply not having to go to school.
Wolfe said he pulled his kids out of in-person learning this semester because he wasn’t happy with Jefferson County Public Schools’ mask rules. The boys don’t love tuning into classes online, though it’s been a weird few years in education no matter how you slice it. Like Jackson and Ryan, a lot of kids on the hill were glad to take a break and dive headlong down some snow – for the most part, anyway.
Christina Rocha, a high school junior, was one who didn’t particularly like sledding.
“My dad made me come,” she said, giggling. “I’d rather be home.”
Still, the time off from classes was welcome. While she’s glad to be done with virtual learning in Denver Public Schools, she said going back in person was still an adjustment.
“Online, I didn’t learn at all. I didn’t focus,” she said, though getting thrust back into the building and around so many people was strange in a different way. “It was hard, but it got easier. I’m just getting through it.”
She was overjoyed when she heard DPS canceled classes.
So did siblings Tlazohtzin (9), Cuauhtli (13) and Quetzalli (15), who said they “jumped up and said yay!” when they heard the news.
“It was a celebration,” Cuauhtli said, “because we needed a break.”
Like Rocha, the kids said they struggled a bit to get back to the way things used to be. Tlazohtzin said she’s been stressing about spelling.
“It is a hassle getting back in the routine,” Quetzalli said. It’s all the more reason to relish in a surprise day off: “It’s relaxing and you just get to take a break from everything.”
Cuauhtli said they’d sled until they could sled no more, then go home for some hot cocoa. It’s standard snow day stuff, but special nonetheless.
Kamea (8) also got dragged out to the hill by her dad, who gave her a hearty push down the hill before jumping on his snowboard. She wasn’t quite ready for a break.
Was she excited about the day off?
“No,” she responded. “I can’t see my friends.”
But the sledding was kind of fun, she said as she trudged up the hill. It’ll have to do until classrooms open up again.
Correction: The lead photo of this story originally misnamed Adysen.