Mountaintop to Tap

Student images

New York Harbor School

Sidney High School

Three Weeks That Changed Lives

Asha ArmstrongAsha Armstrong, NYHS trekker, in 2012

On July 7th, 2007, 12 high-school students set off from Belleayre Ski Resort in the Catskill Mountains on the journey of a lifetime. Three weeks later, exhausted, exhilarated, and malodorous, they walked into New York City’s Central Park to the applause of families, city officials, and startled onlookers.

They had hiked and paddled over 200 miles, through wooded wilderness, open water, and paved suburb, following the route of the city’s water from its sources in the Catskill Mountains to the reservoir in the center of Manhattan, from Mountaintop to Tap.

Five years later, we set out to find the students, the teachers who accompanied them, and the planning committee members who labored for months to make the trek happen, and to ask them what impact the trek had had on their lives.

The short answer is “life-changing.” Read the longer answer in “Mountaintop to Tap Five Years Out: A Journey Remembered.”

Meet the Students

Students from New York City

Asha Armstrong

Grade: Sophomore

Extracurricular Activities: National Honor Society, soccer, swimming, robotics club, knitting club, step club, double Dutch team, scuba diving, MAP boat building program

Asha aspires to receive a Master’s Degree in Biology in the pursuit of her dream to become an oceanographer.  Asha is excited about the first-hand research experience she will gain through this trek.

Leydi Basilio

Grade: Junior

Extracurricular Activities: Student Council, National Honor Society, soccer, MAP boat building program

Leydi’s broad college interests lie in international relations, business, politics, journalism and environmental science.  Leydi also helps with school fundraising activities and administrative duties in the school office.

“The trek will help me pursue my goals because most of the areas that I would like to focus on in college, involve taking chances ,and having an awareness of my surroundings.  Additionally, the trek is a life experience that I will always remember and it will add to my appreciation of what we have environmentally and what we are at risk of losing environmentally.”

Natalie Bloomfield

Grade: Freshman

Extracurricular Activities: Student Council

Interests:  reading, spending time with my friends.After high school Natalie would like to attend college on a full scholarship. She believes this trek will help her pursue her goals because it will set her apart from her peers, as not many people can say they have taken part in such an expedition!

Sean Soto

Sean Soto

Grade: Sophomore

Extracurricular Activities: boxing, working out

“I was planning on working this summer but when I heard about this trip, I thought ’I have to go on that trip!’ It’s going to be fun!”

Jerriel Stafford

Jerriel Stafford

Grade: Sophomore

Extracurricular Activities: Harbor Corp, Scuba Diving Club, MAP boat building program

In addition to his extracurricular activities, Jerriel also helps the Assistant Principal and Program Director at NYHS with various tasks, such as fundraising and hiring fairs. Jerriel would like to attend college and study engineering.

“I think that this trek will help me because after the trek I might be able to develop a machine or something that can help the NYC water system.”

Gabriel Torres

Gabriel Torres

Grade: Senior

“I can’t wait to go on this trek! It will be a good trip for me and because I want to show New York City where our drinking water comes from. I did not have plans to do anything this summer and I’m tired of ’doing nothing.’ This trip could change me and help me in the future and I’m looking forward to that. I like nature better than the city and living in the mountains doesn’t sound too bad at all.”

Students from the Catskills

Robert Loibl

Robert Loibl

Grade:  Senior

Extracurricular Activities: tennis, soccer, hockey, Science Olympiad, USWP watershed program

Robert enjoys science related activities and courses because science is used to create things that help the community. He hopes to become an electrical engineer after taking a digital electronics course his sophomore year and finding a knack for it. Robert also enjoys scuba diving and walking on the Finger Lakes trail.

“I am interested in the trek not only because it is an out of the ordinary experience that sounds fun, but is going to help the community.”

Becca Miner

Becca Miner

Grade: Senior

Interests:  painting, drawing, making jewelry, yoga, music, drama and spending time with my friends.

I’m really excited to meet the people we’ll be hiking with. I think it’s going to be an awesome experience and I look forward to making some cool artwork along the way.

“Preserving our environment is one of the most important issues my generation has to deal with. The “Mountaintop to Tap” trek will help many people realize the importance of preserving our watershed so that we don’t lose that which is so vital to life: freshwater.”

Marissa Morton

Marissa Morton

Grade: Senior

Extracurricular Activities: Student Council, Spanish Club, Drama Club, Interact, dance and the Upper Susquehanna Watershed Project

Interests: painting, photography, spending time with friends

Marissa first became interested in the sciences when she was in a hands-on biology class. Marissa would like to attend either a university for telecommunications to become a news anchor or a fine arts school for design. She would like to study abroad and aspires to travel throughout her life.

Sarah Pate

Sarah Pate

Grade: Senior

Interests: music, photography, visual arts, writing, and a variety of sports and athletics

Sarah is looking forward to the physical challenges of the trek and excited to gain knowledge from the people and experiences of the trek. Her future interests include archaeology, criminology, marine biology and the arts.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to make a difference in our environment that may also act as a prelude to the complete protection and restoration of other water systems around the world.”

Sarah Place

Sarah Place

Grade: Senior

Interests: singing and all aspects of community theatre

Sarah hopes to become a traveling journalist and photographer, which was one of the main reasons she applied to the trek. With such a career she hopes to travel to many places and experience many cultures. She feels that the trek will be a great experience on which she will learn many new things, including more about herself, while at the same time helping her understand the demands of her future career. She looks forward to this once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and to meeting many new people.

“I hope to become an inspiration for people to start appreciating the history and cultures of the world and what the environment has done and will continue to do for us. I believe that by going on this trek we can bring a better understanding and appreciation of the NYC water supply system, and hopefully we will inspire in others a desire to keep it clean and unpolluted.”

Bryan Price

Bryan Price

Grade: Junior

Extracurricular activity: soccer

Bryan recently attained the rank of Life Scout in the Boy Scouts.

Among the many sports in which he participates soccer is his favorite.

In his spare time he likes to play video games, listen to music, and spend time with friends.