The student news site of Casa Grande High School

The Casa Revista

The student news site of Casa Grande High School

The Casa Revista

The student news site of Casa Grande High School

The Casa Revista

The Evolution of the Bear Test

The+Evolution+of+the+Bear+Test

The Bear Test is a Casa Grande legend that has been around for decades. When people hear “Bear Test” what do they think of? A test about a bear, or a bear taking a test, but when they find out it’s a man dressed as a bear chasing around children… now that creates more questions. Every year, in the second semester in May, Mr. Hubacker takes his ENCR students through a tour of Alaska, not just mentally, but in a physical way of some sorts too. Many of the students of Casa Grande will know the campus as just Casa Grande; however, the 120 students taking part in the Bear Test know it as a bear country.

Let’s start from the beginning with Tom Furrer, the mastermind of the Bear Test. Before he was a teacher, he worked in Alaska on a motion picture, but during those years he developed relationships with native Alaskans. After working on movie sets in the 80s and going back home, he was offered jobs at Alaska Department of Fish and Game which he accepted and would do most every summer.

“During these summers we had many confrontations with bears and many of them were challenging” he reported. Mr. Furrer took this information to his first class Wildlife Biology, which he taught for 30 years, and during his bear units, he would teach his stories about what he had learned. At the end of it all though, his students would only end up with a written test, which caused an an idea to come to mind for Mr. Furrer. “After a couple years, that wasn’t good enough- anybody can say what they would do when confronted with a bear, but it’s an entirely different situation when it actually happens,” said Furrer. At first, it was just to watch out for the bear, but then it got bigger.

About the progression from 1989 to 2012, Mr.Hubacker says,

“Every single year it had ramped up even more and more, so every year it progressed into a bigger thing” and the bigger things included the outside competition, which are the obstacle courses and the field biologists, because Hubacker also mentioned that “it tests the students’ situational awareness.” Mr. Furrer had mentioned as well “staff were involved in the night courses, it had people from town and locals, including the local police.” In 2012, the Bear Test was shut down and completely stopped due to unknown reasons but the written test and bear unit were still taught in the ENCR classes. During the first year back from Covid, in 2022, Mr.Hubacker got the okay to revive the Bear Test, and ever since the intensity has been going up.

Many students see the Bear Test as a right of passage for graduating high school, because during the 2000s, it was unheard of to graduate without doing the Bear Test. Every alumni you will talk to, if you mention anything having to do with the test, will know you are a Casa Grande graduate. Mr. Hubacker and especially Mr. Furrer know many students who work in the wildlife field just from being in the Hatchery program at Casa Grande. The alumni that went through the Bear Test together felt like they were their own family, and they still refer to themselves as that to this day.

This year from May 15th to the 17th (72 hours), the 120 students in the ENCR class will be living in Bear Country and trying to outrun the bear. From 5:30pm on May 15th students will be camping, no matter whether it is at school, at home, your work, or even in public, Mr. Hubacker the bear is out for these students, and many alumni and advanced students say it has to be some of the most stressful 72 hours of their lives.

The advanced students in the Field Studies class have heard that Hubacker is trying to make this one of the hardest years yet for the students and he plans to win. When talking to the senior and president of the United Anglers of Casa Grande, she says she’s excited “to see the chaos and intensity this year compared to when I did it last year.” However, the students are excited and overcome with adrenaline with just only days away.

 

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