A right of passage for Northern Hills sixth–graders for more than 28 years has come to an end.
For the final time, students, parents, and teachers gathered Thursday morning at Spearfish Middle School to launch hot air balloons crafted out of tissue paper.
The tradition ends with the retirement of its creator Linda Knittel. She has been an english and social studies for 39 years in Spearfish.
Knittel started the project to give students a practical application to learn patience and teamwork while doing something fun.
"It's something that I watch the kids watch their balloons go up and I love to watch their faces, especially the first few batches going up. They smile, their faces, the awe is there and it gives it more memories, so I think it's something very valuable for them,” Knittle said.
“This has been really fun making the balloons, having to do all the work on them and having a partner to help," said Spearfish Middle School sixth grader Dylan Schumacher.
Following the launch, students made use of the fires used to lift the balloons by cooking S’mores.