11/20/2018 – The difference between feeling grateful and being grateful…is quite significant indeed.

I caught a glimpse of this headline as I was working online the other day. It was staring at me as if it had been written just for me. As much as I try, I am not always a glass half-full kind of gal. I tend to see what is wrong long before I see what is right. I’m a problem solver by trade and therefore I spend most of my time expecting things to go awry. I am all about fixing and moving forward, but it’s very easy to find myself lamenting the brokenness in and all around me. Can you relate? My guess is you can.


When it comes to gratitude, I’m learning that action must precede feeling most of the time. Now don’t get me wrong, I do feel grateful for so many of the blessings in my life. It’s just that the brokenness can overwhelm me, burying that gratitude deep down and out of reach. This is when gratitude becomes a choice, not a feeling. I am learning that my intentional effort to be grateful even when I don’t feel grateful is an act of obedience that can draw me closer to a God who meets me in those broken places.


Feeling grateful is a unwarranted gift, being grateful is an act of worship.


Feeling grateful is evidence of grace, being grateful requires humility.


Feeling grateful is a fickle emotion, being grateful is disciplined obedience.


We have so much to be thankful for this year. We are a diverse, faith-filled community of teachers, learners, and partners raising up the next generation. Our classrooms and homes are filled with opportunity and engagement. Our bellies are full and our minds have the luxury of pondering, wondering and questioning. But, as always, the busyness of the holiday season can threaten to turn our days into nothing more than another opportunity for frustration. As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving and enter the Advent season, please know that I am inviting Gratitude to take up permanent residence, thanking God for the goodness of you all, the community He has blessed us with, the good work He is doing, and above all the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ.


Let’s choose to be grateful even when we don’t feel grateful. Let’s teach our children that gratitude is a gateway to a deep and fulfilling relationship with the one true God from whom all blessings flow. Let’s encourage them to find their good purpose in His plan, and show them how to share beauty and love with a hurting world.



Mrs. Andrea Bergstrom

Head of School & Grammar School Principal

11/4/2018 – Academic Prefect Jacob Sims ’19 came to me several weeks ago with a great idea:  let’s have a student debate about the three ballot questions on the Massachusetts ballot.  I encouraged him to pursue it with students and before long he has twelve students that agreed to research the issues and represent opposing positions on each question.


How exciting it is to see Jacob redefining the Academic Prefect role to encourage responsible citizenship and education on the issues facing voters next Tuesday on election day.  This past Friday morning during Advisory students were asked to take a preliminary poll to see where they stood on the Massachusetts ballot measures before they heard the debate.  This was a political science experiment suggested by Mr. Wegrzyn to see if the debates actually change any students’ minds. 


At Community on Friday afternoon Jacob introduced the three ballot measures facing Massachusetts voters and then introduced the debate teams.  He moderated the debate in the format of a televised debate with two speakers arguing for a “Yes” vote on the question and two speakers arguing that voters should vote “No.”  Jacob asked a question of each opening speaker and then he selected an audience question after each concluding speaker.  Despite the fact that the student audience was decked out in their class colors and feeling in a festive mood, they were attentive and respectful to the debaters and they asked serious and incisive questions. 


Student debaters took on this task as an enrichment activity in addition to their regular demanding homework loads.  They also, at times, argued for positions they did not hold personally.  This is standard practice in formal debates where high school and collegiate debaters know they will have to argue for either side of the resolution depending on a coin flip prior to the competition.  The student debaters did a great job sticking to the issues and avoiding any ad hominem attacks. 


The debates unfolded as follows:

Question One:  Are you in favor of a law to limit how many patients could be assigned to each registered nurse in Massachusetts hospitals and certain other health care facilities?  Katie Crowley (10) and Simon Oliveira (12) argued people should vote “Yes” to protect nurses and insure better care for patients and Amanda Guerriero (12) and Jacob Knowlton (10) argued that people should vote “No” because health care costs could increase and patients may have to be turned away from hospitals. 


Question Two: Are you in favor of a law that would create a citizen’s commission to consider and recommend potential amendments to the United States Constitution to establish that corporations do not have the same Constitutional rights as human beings do and that campaign contributions and expenditures may be regulated?  Thomas Mrock (12) and Austin Fitzgerald (11) argued for the measure and Colin Silva (12) and Caio Mauro (11) argued against it.


Question Three:  Are you in favor of a law that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in a person’s admission to or treatment in any place of public accommodation?  The law required any such place that has separate areas for males and females (such as restrooms) to allow access to and full use of those areas consistent with a person’s gender identity.  Adam Farris (11) and Nathan Sirois (10) argued for the measure and Sydney DiGiulio (10) and Anna DeCotis (11) argued against the measure. 


At the end of the debates students had an opportunity to cast their votes on the three questions.  The results will be published in the CCA student newspaper, The Compass, in its next issue.  In the meantime, parents should be aware that your students understand the ballot issues that you will be voting on this Tuesday, so feel free to engage them in conversation about these things as you prepare to go to the polls this week.


I want to congratulate Academic Prefect Jacob Sims for finding a winsome way to challenge and enlighten our community to our obligations as citizens — encouraging us to be informed, to care, and to vote when we are able.  It was a timely message and beneficial to us all.


by David Church, Principal of the Upper School of Logic and Rhetoric

5/25/2018 – On Thursday, the last day of Academic Travel Week, students wrapped up their adventures and travelled home to families and a school community that were excited to welcome them home!  Everyone returned safely, with the 7th graders the last to return at 1:00am.  On the final day of ATW, students were thankful for the unique experiences, grateful for the friendships and community that were stregthened, and reflective on the time they had to set aside to focus on their relationship with their Creator.  Thank you to all our student blog contributors and photographers for giving us a first-hand glimpse into their experience!



Seventh Grade: Gettysburg, PA & New York

 by Ada Roth ‘23

Today we had a fun filled and very exciting day. First we took a ferry over to Ellis Island and got to see where some immigrants from all around the world came and stepped into America.  We walked around there for about an hour and learned so much about the past. It was really cool to see this place after we had learned about it in our history class. After that we took another ferry over to the Statue of Liberty and got to the one and only Lady Liberty. That was a really cool experience for all of us. When we finished there we walked about 2 miles and got to go and see some of the tenement buildings where the people that immigrated to NYC lived. It was definitely a small space but had a lot of history behind it. We got to go and experience what it would be like if we were people that just came to America and had to stay in one of these apartments. It was very cool seeing this especially because we just learned all about the process of immigration, and also we started to talk a little about the life in a tenement building. Learning all of this in school before coming to New York was very helpful because we knew what to expect. After our tour ended at the tenement building we walked around and got to see what it would be like in Manhattan. It definitely is a crowded part of the city. It was a very exciting place to walk around because life in giant New York City is very different then life in our little Boston. Today was an action packed day, and we all will remember this trip and all of our friends that we got to spend so much time with.


by Hannah Gonzales ‘23

Today we went to Elis Island, and we visited the Statue of Liberty. In history we have been learning about immigration, and we got to see the arrival center for the immigrants. It was cool to see the process that they had to go through to become an American. We got to walk around the perimeter of the statute of liberty, and it was awesome. An all around amazing experience.




Eighth Grade: Washington, D.C.

 by Elijah Pekari ’22

Today we visited the Air and Space Museum. This museum was a large building with many different models of planes and spaceships. We split up into groups and walked around looking at the giant models and reading stuff about them. Several people also tried some of the simulators at one end of the museum. They were meant to replicate the actual experience of flying a plane or spaceship. Though I cannot speak from experience as I did not go on any of them, everyone seemed to enjoy them. The main thing that amazed me was the size of all the different aircraft. Though I probably should have expected it, many of the displays were gigantic. Overall, everyone had a great time.




Freshmen: Chincoteague, VA

The Freshman Class woke up early in their hotel on the New Jersey Boardwalk and headed the to childhood home of CCA teacher Mrs. Robin Lawrenz. Mrs. Lawrenz’s parents generously offered to host the Freshman Class for a lovely outdoor breakfast on their sheep farm. The students enjoyed the delicious food, the sheep, and the array of classic and antique cars. The group then piled back into the 3 vans and made the long journey home, arriving at CCA at 3:00pm. Many thanks to Zeke Ostrowski ’21 for the terrific pictures today!




Sophomores: Quebec City

 by Julia Pawlyk ‘20

On Thursday, we went to the Aquarium Du Quebec and spent a few hours there observing and experiencing a behind the scenes tour. We also got to see two trainings! One was for seals and another was for two female walruses. The seals jumped through hoops, played with balls, frisbees and overall so adorable. They were even clapping their fins against the water for us! The seals were the funniest! One of the females blew kisses while another spit water on some kids. They would wave, high five and make weird noises. The aquarium was tiny but they did have a good variety of cute animals and we all had a good time!


Matt Tammaro ‘20

On Thursday the last day of our trip, we woke up and ate our breakfast fast. We had to get on the road so we could go too the aquarium. While we were at the aquarium we saw many cool things. We saw polar bears, fish, walruses and arctic foxes. Fun fact about artic foxes is that they were Hong Kong Lol. After we left the aquarium we headed home. Overall the trip was great and it was a cool experience to be a part of.


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Juniors: “A Hard Thing” Houston, Texas

 by Mr. David Church, Faculty Chaperone

Wednesday night was an emotional and spiritual high as we witnessed the baptism of our friend Kelly Russell and the final night bonfire and ice cream party. Our hearts were still full from Wednesday night when the wake up call came at 6:00AM Thursday to get up and pack our things. We loaded up the vans and had breakfast at 7:00AM before gathering to say goodbye to Johnny and Shane. After one last time of prayer we boarded the vans for the 45 min. drive to NASA’s Johnson Space Center.


Junior Jacob Sims’ aunt, Rebecca, gave our group a wonderful behind-the-scenes tour of the NASA Space Center that included the historic Mission Control Center (no longer operative) that was used during the Apollo missions and the current Mission Control Center where we could see people speaking to the astronauts at the International Space Station. We also met Elianna Gonzales’ fathers friend Chris who is working on the Orion program for deep space exploration and the future mission to Mars. It was amazing; we felt like we were looking into the future.


We left NASA and drove to Hobby Airport where we dropped off the vans, checked our bags, and went in search of a Chik-fil-A. At 2:35pm our flight took off for Boston. We mostly slept on the flight home. The exhaustion was finally setting in. We had worked hard — body and soul — and we were looking forward to seeing our families and sleeping in our own beds tonight. We will not soon forget Shane and Johnny and all the people we met in Rosharon, TX. Some of us were talking about going back in the future. Our trip “deep in the heart of Texas” touched us and it’s hard to let go.




Seniors: New York City

 by Jordan Ann Sperounis ’18

From Peabody to the Big Apple, the senior class concluded its trip on Thursday May 24. Nearly five full days of running in between street performers, business men, and fashion trendsetters left us in awe and left our feet sore. We never seemed to slow down, constantly on the move from museum to museum, waiting for the chance to sit down and rest our feet even if that meant sitting on the floor in the MET while we waited for our tickets. When asking everyone to describe their experience in New York with just one word many said “busy, active, cultural, energetic, amusing, overwhelming” Sounds like a full trip doesn’t it? We enjoyed lunch at many fancy food courts, and family dinners around the table. The city was overwhelming and full of surprises, we were sad to leave but also looked forward to seeing our families again. We started the day off by going to a cute breakfast diner just across the street from the UN. After we finished we took our tour of the UN where we were able to get an up close look at the United Nations and their global outreach programs and international peace council. After we arrived back at our lodging we grabbed our suitcases and bags and made our way to the metro which we rode all the way to the train that would take us back home. It was here that we enjoyed a quick lunch at Chikpea a Mediterranean inspired fast food place, which severed everything from salads to sandwiches, pita pockets and more. Tori and Lauryn treated the group to a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts. We enjoyed this sweet dessert on the train back to Boston. The trip did not seem to conclude until l stepped out the doors of South Station and onto Atlantic Avenue and was exposed to the all so familiar Boston.

5/24/2018 – Day four of Academic Travel Week brought some unique sightings including a camel in Amish Country, agressive seagulls on the Jersey Shore, and President Trump boarding Marine 1!  Read on for all the details…



Seventh Grade: Gettysburg, PA & New York

by Mrs. Hawkins Knell, faculty chaperone

The morning began with a guided tour of Amish country. Our guide was Mennonite, so he knew a lot about Amish beliefs and customs. We got to see some beautiful puppies and handmade quilts (some cost over $1000!). We also saw a camel on one of the farms!?!


After Amish country, we saw the production of “Jesus” at Sight and Sound theater. There was a slight mishap with the moving ship, but the kids were awesome and patient while we waited for it to be fixed. The show used cool staging –  somehow, they orchestrated a slow-motion scene where Jesus overturns the temple. It was fun to see all the stories from the gospels on stage!


After the show, we had lunch and played in the park before heading out to New Jersey. Once we got to NJ, we had dinner at Broadway Diner, and then we went on to our hotel. No pool for the kids tonight – they went right to sleep!! (Hence the blog post by their teacher…!)




Eighth Grade: Washington, D.C.

by Nelle Higgins ’22

As children, we all dream that we want to be the President of the United States. So you can imagine how awesome it was to hear that we could get a tour in the White House! But, on top of that, while we were at the White House, we saw the President! We walked into the White House to be greeted by the sound of helicopter propellers. The helicopter had landed in the grass in front of the White House. We knew the president was getting inside so we waited at the window for about 15 minutes and then we saw him walk out to his helicopter. Once that was over, we got a quick tour of the White House which was absolutely beautiful and elegant. I’m so blessed that I got to go into the white house with my friends.


by Grace Maina ’22

Today we visited the Museum of the Bible in DC. I had never been there before and didn’t really know what to expect. When we walked in, the first thing i saw was the ceiling. The ceiling was a big screen and had biblical art moving all across it. I expected to know everything and not learn anything new, but when I looked around, I had no idea what most of the stuff was. We started from the top level and watched some movies and went into an area that was made to look like Nazareth. I was starting to get a bit bored because it was things I had already known about, but then some students in my class advised me to go into the room called “Hebrew Old Testament Bible.” It began as a movie about the creation of the world and the fall of man but then suddenly the wall began to move backwards and another room appeared. This repeated to happen about 4 more times as we moved from story to story. Each room had its own strong meaning and the museum did a great job bringing it to life. At the end of the day, I ended up loving that room and the museum.


by Hannah Yen ’22

After we visited the Bible Museum, we went to Buca di Beppo. Everyone was looking forward to a sit-down dinner and a bonding time. We sat down and awaited our food with great excitement. When the food came, it came in huge amounts and was so good that everyone ended up eating too much. The dinner was wonderful. Right after we got out of the restaurant, we went on our way to the Tidal Basin. On our way there, we saw the President’s helicopter and its escort on its way back to the White House. It was so cool. We were next to a large field, so some of our classmates ran up and down the field, trying to get the President to notice them. After the helicopter went by, we started on the trail around the Tidal Basin (which is a small lake, if you didn’t know). The basin/lake was bigger and even more beautiful than I expected it to be. It was getting dark, but we could see the Jefferson Memorial in the distance. It was beautiful and our class saw an opportunity to get lots of photos. We had to keep moving, so we went on our way to the MLK Jr. Memorial. The monument of MLK was big and amazing. After this walk, everyone was dead tired so we went back to the hotel. Overall, the dinner and walk were both opportunities to create memories, and I loved both of them.




Freshmen: Chincoteague, VA

by Nathan Sirois ’21

Our last day at the research station today was awesome. We started it with an interesting walk through a maritime forest where we saw all types of decomposers such as bacteria, fungus, and invertebrates. We saw tons of frogs as well. Then we learned the different layers of a tree – like the heart wood…dead but strong! We finished our time in the forest by taking some time for silence to listen to the variety of birds. That was the end of our time at the research station. We then took a four-hour drive to New Jersey where, after checking into the hotel, we went on the boardwalk in Ocean City. There we partook in many activities’ such as, mini golf, window shopping, and a hunt for the best food on the boardwalk. After many well-thought-out purchases we all made our way back to the hotel and went to the roof pool that the hotel manager left open just for us! At the pool, the 9th grade class took turns trying to impress one another through increasingly impressive and painful jumps into the pool. That wrapped up the last full day of the 9th grade academic travel week.


by Ethan Roth ’21

Today was a blast. This morning, we took a nice nature stroll though a maritime forest led by our amazing guides, Ben and Kent. Admittedly, we were all a bit tired because we had to wake up early to load the vans for the long ride to New Jersey. While we were hiking through the forest, our guide made us stop and do something called “head in the bushes, feet in the trees.” This just means that we laid at the base of a tree with out feet upwards against the tree to get a new perspective on nature. We also got to see a really cool lighthouse. After the forest, we took our long ride to New Jersey…almost everyone fell asleep. We then went to the boardwalk in Ocean City. That was a total blast. The sunset was beautiful and the food was great. When it was time for the pool at the hotel we all went up to the roof (!) where it was located. We all took turns jumping into the pool. Zeke did a backflip and Jordan got his chest destroyed by a nasty belly flop. Overall, this was a great day.  


by Sydney DiGiulio ’21

DON’T FEED THE GULLS. Food on a boardwalk is great. However, you must learn to ignore the gulls. They might sound like they are laughing at you constantly but just keep walking. If you have food, DO NOT FEED THEM unless you want to be chased, pooped on, and screamed at by more than 20 gulls. I learned my lesson today because someone in the group I was with on the boardwalk thought that giving food to the birds would make them go away. Well, they were wrong, and we ended up running for our lives as we tried to enjoy dinner on the beach.




Sophomores: Quebec City

by Brianna Benkley ’20

8 am Wednesday morning the sophomore class was “up and at ‘em”, excited to enjoy breakfast at Le Vinis crepery. Some students ordered sweet crepes, filled with whip cream, fresh fruit or maple syrup, while others chose more savory dishes. After a delightful meal, we went shopping on the street where the famous church of Notre Dame resides. Whether it was a sweatshirt, Daniel Boon hat or authentic order of Canadian maple pecan popcorn, everyone was able to find a souvenir. Later that morning, the students visited the famous Catholic Church of Notre Dame. The ceiling of the cathedral was adorned with murals of the gospel and gold accents. Around the walls of the sanctuary, the stained glass windows depicted the gospel of Jesus Christ. After a lunch break, we then visited the Anglican Church of Quebec, which also had beautiful architecture. In fact, some of the students attended the Anglican Church evensong in the evening. By the early evening, we were challenged to consider the distinction between modern and pastime culture at the Museum of Civilization. After learning from the exhibits, we returned to the hotel to prepare for a lovely dinner at Le Ciel. Students enjoyed each other’s company while enjoying exquisite food- the view wasn’t too shabby either (it is an all glass restaurant at the top of the hotel that slowly rotates, allowing views of the entire city at night)! We concluded the evening with chocolate mouse and laughter. What a wonderful day! 


by Anna DeCotis ’20

During our second warm day in the beautiful province of Quebec, the Sophmore class went to the Wendake Huron Reservation outside of Quebec City. There, our tour guide led us through the reservation and explained what the Native Americans of Canada did in their daily lives. We first entered the building where several native families would sleep: the long house. In this 100 ft long house, 3-4 families at a time would sleep before French and British settlers arrived in Canada. Our tour guide explained the leadership structure of Native American tribes during their time. Being a matriarchy, he stressed the fact that women were held in great esteem and regard. He explained that clans would elect clan mothers- women who held the most leadership among all the people of the clan. Then the several clan mothers would meet and elect a elect a tribe leader who was a man. Our tour guide’s explanation of this leadership ranking was very interesting because it is very unusual to hear of a cultural and leadership structure of a matriarchy. After we left the long house, we arrived next to the sweat lodge where leaders would receive visions to make important decisions and then to a hut where our guide explained how the medicine man would heal people based off their dreams. After finishing our tour by entering a teepee that was actually used for nomadic western Native Americans and not the rooted Canadanian natives, we finished our time at the reservation by playing a fun game. In this game, one person sits on the ground blindfolded, trying to guard their three sticks representing the harvest crops. One by one, three people will try to steal one of the sticks without being touched by the person sitting. Caio Mauro had a very smart strategy: he snuck up on one side of the person sitting then threw his chapstick to the other side to create noise and distract him. Overall, this game was very challenging for both the blindfolded and the theives but we all had an incredible time. All in all, our time on the Wendake Huron Reservation during our second day of Quebec was educational, enjoyable, and a refreshing take on the Native Americans of Canada.


by Nathaniel Pekari ’20

On Wednesday, Mr Wegrzyn and a few students went to an evensong at an Anglican Church we had visited earlier in the day. The evensong was a short service of prayer and music. The music was provided by a choir and old-fashioned pipe organ, which were amplified by the domed ceiling. We were able to experience beautiful music in a beautiful setting, and enjoyed the chance to take a break and spend time in worship.


by Caio Mauro ’20

Enjoying a nice meal is great; enjoying an excellent meal 26 floors up on a rotating platform is amazing. On Wednesday we went to Lê Ciel, a revolving restaurant at Hotel Le Concorde. When we arrived to the hotel we entered into a glass elevator that took us up about 26 floors. We sat down at our tables and took in the view of the city of Quebec. We were all pointing out where we had been and where we were going. During dinner we had some choices for a 4 course meal. We all shared laughs and funny stories and got to know one another better.


by Shutong Wang ’20

We went to the turning restaurant last night. It’s an amazing restaurant; I never have been before. I was surprised that we could totally see everywhere of Quebec. The landscapes were beautiful and attractive, and when the sun set the lights were super shining. Everyone was dressed formally; boys were wearing ties and girls wore dresses. The meal was fantastic, and they were the best dishes I ate in Quebec City. The appetizer was fried salmon cake which was tasty for me. The dessert was chocolate mousse in a chocolate shell and tea. You would love it if you tried once. If I had a chance, I would come back again!


by Emily Saulnier ’20

On Wednesday night, our group went to a fancy restaurant in Quebec City called Le Ciel.  This beautiful restaurant has a rotating platform that circles the perimeter of the interior, which allowed us to circle around and view the gorgeous city. There were windows wrapping the whole restaurant and we were able to view the city in its full glory, recognizing every place we had traveled over the course of the past few days. It was located on the top floor of a hotel. It was almost cinematic how dazzling the sunset was when it drifted into the night. We had an exquisite four course dinner that was beyond perfection.  We laughed and dined together and this was definitely a culinary highlight of the trip.


by Emily Coelho ’20

Bonjour tout le monde, (hello everyone). This trip has been exceptionally rewarding and a blessing. If you don’t know I have wanderlust and i love traveling more than anything and I can speak some french myself!  I call myself a french enthusiast. Walking around the streets of Quebec and in every corner you will hear someone speaking French and it definitely gives you European vibes. This was the perfect trip as my first time leaving the USA.  It has always been my dream to go to France and so this has given me a “sneak peak” of what life is like in a foreign country and also a nice change of language. Yesterday’s fancy dinner was on a rotating restaurant called “le ciel.”  It was a four course meal (which is not at all common in the USA) which contained many portions of food. I ordered barley risotto for the first time around and then a very rich butternut squash soup then up next came the salmon and then lastly a very delicious chocolate mousse which was worth all the calories. One Interesting fact that I was told was that the restaurant takes one hour and a half to fully go around which I think is very impressive. We stayed their cutting close to four hours and it was a nice ending to a great trip that I will always keep close.




Juniors: “A Hard Thing” Houston, Texas

by Jacob SIms ’19

Wednesday was a wonderful day for me and my classmates. Shane Perry, the leader of Rebuild South Texas, took most of us to help build a new home for a local family, and a handful of us stayed to finish the greenhouse that we had been working on all week. Although I missed those who were gone, we were able to be much more efficient because we were in smaller groups, which was exciting. We worked hard all morning, as we watched storm clouds slowly start to surround us. At one point I remember Mr. Church saying that it looked like we were in the eye of a hurricane, of course as we helped to rebuild after a hurricane. As it began to rain, it was incredibly satisfying to drill in the screw to the last rafter on the greenhouse that we had put so much work into. We still had a couple small projects to finish up, and the tarp was not up yet, but the main body of the work was finally finished.


After lunch, my classmates and I cleaned up our houses, and most of us took a well deserved break for some spicy uno as it continued to pour down, while a couple students continued to work indoors with Mrs. Church and another volunteer. Once it stopped raining, a few of us went out to the greenhouse to put some finishing touches on it, although we didn’t have time to put up the tarp.


On Sunday morning, Shane Perry said something that has resonated with me all week. He said that when he came down to Houston as a volunteer first responder, he learned that when we give ourselves in service to the Lord, we ought to give every ounce of effort to that task. Whether we are pulling people out of floodwaters or putting up new rafters on a greenhouse, the Lord asks us to work until we can not work anymore. I tried to keep this in mind as I worked this week, and I will try to implement it into my life going forward.


As hurricane season approaches once again, I can’t imagine what these people must be thinking. Although the media and most of the country has moved on, this great city is nowhere near healed. There are still people here in Rosharon who don’t have homes, as well as many of the other communities in Houston. After my classmates left for the airport today (Thursday) I began a trip to Austin to see family, and I saw a debris field where they were still collecting broken concrete and other debris from the hurricane in order to grind it down. My prayer is that as we go about our lives, we will not forget the people who will be recovering here for years, not just in Rosharon but in all of Southeast Texas.




Seniors: New York City

by Andrew MacBeath ’18

After one last trip to Old John’s to order our breakfasts, we took a quick walk to Columbus Circle, where we rented our bikes for a scavenger hunt across Central Park. We were split into two teams, each of which had a list of landmarks to find, such as Belvedere Castle, Turtle Pond, and statues of various historical figures. Our teams geared up, marked our maps, and set off into the park. After a wonderful ride on the paths, Team 1 took the overwhelming victory. After this, we swing by Chipotle for lunch and hit Central Park once more, this time without our bikes. We explored the park, climbed trees, and petted every dog in sight en route to the MET. Once there, our groups split and covered as much ground as possible. As a class, we explored Ancient Greece, the Italian Renaissance, Pre-Modern China, and elaborate dresses from the MET Gala only a few weeks before. 


Next up was the Mets game, but we still had to stop for dinner. Luckily, Josh knew the perfect place: a market in Chinatown close by. Through Josh and Kevin’s guidance, we got a taste of Chinese culture by tasting its food. Our dinner was four giant bowls of meat and veggies with tofu, sesame seeds, and some chili peppers for those who were willing to handle the spice. Top it all off with bubble tea and it was a cultural experience.


We took our seats in Citi Field, not afraid to represent the home team: the Red Sox. It’s ok, it wasn’t the Yankees, so there was not much hostility towards our rebellious group. After five scoreless innings full of mind games, the Mets struck first with a solo home run, but the Marlins took the win by scoring two in the ninth inning, and the Mets were unable to respond. We followed the stunned fans outside the park, stumbled onto the train and collapsed at the hotel after a long final full day.

5/23/2018 – It’s Day Three of Academic Travel Week and the students seem to have settled into their routine of learning and work.  Seventh graders explored the Gettysburg Battlefield, Tenth Graders visited a Battle Tower in Quebec, Seniors walked the High-Line and saw Phantom of the Opera, and Ninth Graders crawled through the mud!  Read on to catch up with all the adventures our students had on Tuesday!



Seventh Grade: Gettysburg, PA & New York

by Riley Freedman ’23

Today we woke up and were out of our rooms pretty quickly because we had to be gone by 8:00am. We had a quick breakfast and hopped in the vans for Gettysburg. We got there in about 10 minutes and went to see a short movie on The Battle of Gettysburg. After the movie was over, we opened our packets for a scavenger hunt around the museum. We divided into groups and were on our way. The museum was very interesting with a lot of facts about the battle, as well as displays of guns, equipment, clothes, etc. We watched a short video about witnesses of the aftermath of Gettysburg, and it was awful to hear of the horror people were witnessing even after the battle was over. After the scavenger hunt concluded, we explored the gift shop of the museum and headed back to the lobby (where I may have had a panic attack because I couldn’t find my packet). We left, ate lunch in the vans, and prepared for our tour through Gettysburg.


by Matt Dunn ’23

During the tour of Gettysburg, we saw many memorials of the battle. The largest one commemorated the Union soldiers from Pennsylvania. We also saw all of the main places where fighting happened, like Devil’s Den and the Peach Orchard. We even stood on top of Little Round Top, a small hill where Union soldiers on the far left held back many attacks. After the tour, we drove into Lancaster to our hotel. We ate dinner at the buffet and went back to our rooms to get ready to go swimming in the hotel pools. After we swam and had fun in the pools and hot tub, we stayed in our rooms for a little while until 9:00, when we went out to have ice cream at Friendly’s. We probably had WAY too much sugar and were all really wound up, but we went back to our rooms and got ready to sleep the night.




Eighth Grade: Washington, D.C.

by Cora Kenis ’22

The first thing this morning was a trip to the Library of Congress. We rested by a fountain where a metal figure of Neptune and two women riding wild horses stood, showered by the constant downpour of water, standing right before the building. The structure itself had an ancient Roman style to it – you could tell because stone structures of men stood as vigilant guards at each window. As we stepped through the entrance and explored each room, we eventually found a mosaic of Minerva (the goddess of wisdom). Beneath her were the words “Nil invita Minerva quae monumentum aere perennius exegit”, which means Not unwilling, Minverva raises a monument more lasting than bronze. I myself found each room in the Library of Congress even more breathtaking than the one before.


by Daeven Goel ’22

This morning, after we went to the Library of Congress we went underground to the Capitol building. We had a tour guide that led us through most of the building. We saw the many different statues that were dedicated to the building by the 50 states. The coolest statue was the Rosa Parks statue made out of bronze. The sculptor sculpted Mrs. Parks to look like she was connected or “one” with her seat and that she would not give it up to any white man. The tour guide then took us right under the dome. It was a very cool experience. I had never realized how big the dome was. The tour guide explained how the dome was created and how the building was laid out. Overall the experience was really fun and we all had a good time!


by Haddon Baker ’22

This afternoon we went to the Newseum. The Newseum is a six story building that has loads of pictures and newspapers about current events, and past events that happened in the US and around the world. There is an F.B.I. exhibit where it talks about hidden bombs and ways to trigger the bombs in a very secretive way. The Newseum also has a section on Pulitzer Prize winning pictures that were taken during tragedies or historic world events. Some of the pictures are very sobering. It is crazy that such horrific events could happen in such so called “safe” places. There is also part of the antenna tower that was on the North Twin Tower. The antenna is very rusty and deformed from the plane that crashed into the building. My favorite part of the museum was the balcony on the top floor, where you could see both the Capitol Building, and the White House. The Newseum was a very fun experience, and I enjoyed every second of it.


by Luke Xiang ’22

Last night we went to the Nationals baseball game. It was the first baseball game I had ever watched. Different from other soccer games or basketball games, everyone in the stadium were really chill. If we were watching a soccer game, almost every second our focus is on the players and the ball on the field. But during the baseball game, we were able to be chatting or getting food. And sometimes there would be some fun activities going on like the “President’s race”, “Giving away T-Shirts”. I just really enjoyed the feeling and environment during the baseball game. I had such a good time!


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Freshmen: Chincoteague, VA

by Brandon Kruse ’21

Today, we embarked on a wonderful adventure which was full of excitement and challenges. We began the day by going to Wallops Island, where we observed the different types of dunes and wildlife. We made our own dunes, and we tested their strength. We also collected shells, and found some interesting items. Some of those items included many horseshoe crabs, small stingrays, and even a mysterious skull of an unidentified organism. After lunch, we headed out to the salt marsh, where we had a really great time. Most of us swam in the salt marsh, wading through mud, and it was a very strange and disgusting experience. It took us a long time to get clean, but after that we went out to a nice dinner. Then we went to the beach, where we had a fun time taking pictures and whatnot. We finished the day off in the best fashion; eating ice cream. It was an overall great experience, and we were all disappointed that it had to end.


by Brandan Linares ’21

Today, we faced many challenges. Some of these challenges included going into a marsh pit. We (if we wanted to) could go shoulders deep into mud. This could seem challenging to some because it is uncomfortable or scary. Also, some may have had the fear of losing clothes or shoes because the mud would have wrecked them. In all of this, we can realize that God provides for everyone and is our security in times that are difficult. God did not allow harm to come to any of us, and we all came back to the dorms safe and sound while making new memories.




Sophomores: Quebec City

by Austin Fitzgerald ’20

On Tuesday morning everyone woke up, and got ready to eat breakfast in the hotel buffet. We were served many helpings of waffles, bacon, eggs, and many other breakfast foods. From there we went to a museum where we learned about how Quebec became a French and British city. We learned about the battles in Quebec and the hardships that the soldiers had to endure. We tried on the clothes of the soldiers of both sides, and quickly realized how heavy the uniforms were! From there we walked back to our hotel room for a quick bathroom break and soon headed for one of the four defensive towers of Québec. There, we learned the life of a soldier in the towers. Generally, there were about 10-12 soldiers living in each tower. Their meals were old salt meat which sometimes had maggots, yuck! There were many strict rules that they had to follow with strict punishments. The life of a soldier was not the ideal lifestyle. Afterwards, we walked to Ashton, a fast food restaurant, where we all tried a famous Canadian dish called Poutine. The dish consisted of french fries topped with gravy and cheese curds, it was tasted amazing.


by Rachel Nelson

For the Sophomores, Tuesday in Quebec was a crowd pleaser, thanks to maple syrup. After two incredible museums that gave us a hands on experience of the French Quebecers’ experience fighting against the English, we drove across the Saint Lawrence River to the Saint De’Orleans island, and to the Sugar Shack, a restaurant and shop where they make maple syrup. The island itself is beautiful, with a stunning countryside and a clear view of the sloping hills of Quebec across the river. Once we arrived at the shack, we were greeted by the best sound: an accordion. Before us sat a middle aged man with a large accordion playing in his hands. Long, family style tables were arranged on both sides of the large room. Two tables on the left were full of older Quebecers, enjoying their food and the music. All twenty-three of us fit at a table, excitedly tapping our spoon musical instruments laid beside the silverware. The three-course meal was pre decided for us, so the soup, ham, and pancakes were given to us in stages. Before our pancake dessert, it was time to dance! Everyone hurried to the dance floor and danced to the accordion man’s versions of the Chicken Dance, Cha Cha Slide, Macarena, Cotton Eyed Joe, and more. Mr. McShane was grooving and Mr. Wegrzyn was cutting up a rug with his dance moves. It felt like the movie Footloose!


After dancing and pancakes, a worker took us out to the porch where she drizzled maple syrup on ice. We waited a few seconds before rolling our popsicle sticks in the syrup. It was an amazing, and sticky, treat, which ended our time at the Sugar Shack perfectly. 


by Adam Farris

Today (Tuesday) we had a casual dinner at a place in a more rural area of Quebec City called the Sugar Shack. When we walked into the restaurant, there was one large room and a man playing upbeat accordion music at the front of the room. As the night went on, we ate a dinner that consisted of sausages, potatoes, ham and meat pie, ending the meal with pancakes which are the trademark of the Sugar Shack. When we finished eating, we all got up and began dancing to the music of the accordian player. When we were finished dancing and the sun set, we all went to the back porch and learned how to make maple syrup toffee, using the maple syrup from the sap harvested from the trees right in front of us! After eating a lot of toffee and visiting the gift shop, we drove back to the city recounting the amazing dance moves of Mr. Wegrzyn and Mr. McShane!




Juniors: “A Hard Thing” Houston, Texas

by Vicky Zeng ’19

Tuesday, the fourth day of our Houston trip. We woke up at 7 as usual for breakfast, and after that we went back to the greenhouse to keep working. The weather today in Houston was hotter than yesterday and we were sweating just by standing there, but the rain later on made us refreshed. We finished taking out the old rotten wood and replaced it with the new 2×4’s.  We also put up rafters for greenhouse roof. 


Later on we separated into two groups. One group stayed at the greenhouse and kept working, and other group went to the house that we stayed in to fix some problems around the house. Everyone was contributing their parts: unscrewing old wood, replacing the old ceiling, putting on drywall. There was a group of college students from University of Wisconsin that left today. They were already here when we first came. We played games together, Parker one of the college students from UW helped us a lot when we were working on the green house. It was only three days of friendship, but we had some really good times together. At about 5:00pm we finished up work of today then around 6:30pm we had spaghetti and a Cambodian rice dish for dinner. After dinner, we worshiped together, and the work-leader here shared a story of a girl that how she came to Christ without family’s support. And how she has been so brave to go through everything. Tomorrow will be our last day of actual working, and we are all really excited to learn new skills and to experience another devotional time that we can get closer with God.


by Shanneah Manchur ’19

Today the junior class continues to work on the greenhouse.  This day was even more exciting because we got to work on the building process instead of the destroying.  The class spent time in the heat building the rooftop of the greenhouse and to cool down we sprayed each other with hoses. It was amazing to see how the greenhouse was finally coming together.  When we got here, there was old wood that was falling off, and now there is something that can stay on for a long time.  It was incredible to see that we were capable of doing something that could impact so many lives.


Later in the day we had to say goodbye to the other group that was with us because they were going back home.  It was great to meet new people and share in working on such an impactful cause together.  It was hard to say goodbye to our new friends but we were happy with the memories we had with them playing uno. It was a day full of fellowship and it has been amazing to see how God has worked and changed different peoples lives during this trip.  Our bible study leader spoke to us about spreading the gospel through our actions and I think my class has lived that out while we have been here in Houston.




Seniors: New York City

by Tori Knowlton ’18

Once our stomachs had been filled at our daily visit to Old John’s restaurant on Tuesday morning, we took the subway to Hudson Yards where we would walk the Highline South; an old, abandoned railroad track that has been restored and transformed into a thriving garden walkway looking over mid-town in Chelsea. After a relaxing walk surrounded by magnificent architecture and horticulture, we ended up at a driving range where we exhibited our lack of experience on the green, and had a blast doing it. We then enjoyed lunch at Chelsea Market where we ate and shopped. After another subway ride, this time to 81st street, we spent a few hours musing the Museum of Natural History.  We then grabbed a quick dinner at the renowned New York City supper spot: Whole Foods, and rushed to catch our 7:00 showtime for the broadway production of Phantom of the Opera. The show was excellent, and though the majority of CCA’s Class of 2018 would not consider themselves theatre buffs, we all enjoyed resting our feet for three hours as we were entertained by some of New York City’s most talented performers. We then trudged back to our lodging, and slept like babies.


5/22/2018 – It’s day two of Academic Travel Week and our Upper School students are getting to work!  Eighth graders explored the many monuments of Washington, D.C., our Freshmen collected and studied organisims from Chincoteague Bay, and our Seniors reflected on the tragdey of 9/11 at the museum in lower Manhattan.  Read the student blogs below to find out what our students were up to on Monday!



Seventh Grade: Gettysburg, PA & New York

by Ella Sims ‘23

Today, we started by loading the buses at 5:45am. We drove for 3 hours, and then stopped at McDonalds for a bathroom break. We had a lot of fun talking and telling jokes! Then we drove for another 2 hours and stopped at a rest spot for lunch, and then drove to the Cavern. For dinner we went to a buffet, and lastly, we drove to the hotel for some swimming and sleep. The pool is awesome! There is a hot tub, and plenty of room in the pool for games. We’re having a great time and can’t wait for tomorrow!


by Savannah Ferreira ‘23

When we got to Indian Echo Cavern, we met our tour guide Claudia. She explained the rules of the cavern and told us to be respectful of the property. As we got into the cave, it turned very dark. There was water dripping down the ceiling and the air felt very heavy. Claudia showed us to the sections of the cave. The cave was huge! The passageways were very narrow and the roofs of the cave in some parts were very low. My favorite part of the cavern was when we went to the bridge and saw the crystal clear water. At the last stop Claudia told us about a man who used to live in the caves. It was a very interesting and fun adventure!




Eighth Grade: Washington, D.C.

by Abby Baird ‘22

Today’s monument walk was moving because it showed the immense loss that our country has suffered during war stricken times. The Vietnam memorial was huge and it went on and on listing all the names of the people that died. It was moving to see all of the people that were willing to sacrifice their lives for us, and our nation. The Korean Memorial consisted of many statues, and legend says one of them will be staring at you from any different place around the memorial. The WW2 memorial was breathtaking. It showed all the states and their contribution to the war. Besides that it also had a big fountain in the middle that brought the whole piece together. There is a place where you can here applause by the monument if you listen close and to my surprise, I could hear it. The Lincoln Memorial was huge, in my mind I thought it would be much smaller but it was way bigger. Seeing the Lincoln memorial and the place where many people had done their famous speeches made me speechless. There was so much history that took place there and to be able to see that was a privilege. Each of the monuments was different in how they were built and what they were for, but the heart of it all was still the same. We as Americans want to be able to honor those who served, sacrificed and lost their lives for us. We are thankful for them and we are grateful to them.


by Joshua Pekari ‘22

Today we headed to Arlington National Cemetery in the morning. I think that we were all a little tired, but eager to see the changing of the guard. I for one thought that the changing of the guard would be my favorite part, but it turned out that my favorite part was seeing a funeral procession that was going through the cemetery while we were there. I think that it is really awesome how every single soldier buried there gets a full military funeral like that. It must be really nice to know that your friend or family member is being honored in such a way like that. I also appreciated how nice all of the white tombs on the hills were – a beautiful memorial to those that have died serving our country. I’m not sure if it is a bad thing to say this, but I think that visiting Arlington National Cemetery will be my favorite part of this trip. It was just so amazing how huge the place was too.




Freshmen: Chincoteague, VA

by Meghan MacBeath ‘21 and Gaby Perdomo  ‘21

We started our first full day of our trip here in Chincoteague Bay on a research cruise. We observed the water’s qualities by conducting measurements.  We examined the temperature, salinity, density, pH, dissolved oxygen, transparency, color, and current. We used an otter trawl as a mechanism to collect a variety of organisms including blue crabs, flounders, shrimp, squid, and fish. We worked together to collect the data and haul the net. Next we went on an exciting trip through the muddy intertidal zone where we engaged in many activities involving capturing and examining organisms. One of our classmates Brandon Kruse lost his shoe during one of these mud activities, but after much searching it was victoriously found by Jacob Enfield. 


Later, we came back to the lab and examined the organisms collected on the research cruise and in the internal zone. We observed and attempted to classify the microorganisms and macroorganisms. Ben and Hannah, our field guide instructors, helped us recognize these organisms and sort them into groups. We used microscopes to look at plankton, which are very important organisms to their ecosystems. An eventful moment in our organism lab was when Madeline McNeilly was examining a small crab and she accidentally dropped it on the table and spilled water on herself. At the end of the day, we took some time to worship God as a community. We recognized the beauty of God’s creation around us.


by Jimmy Yan ‘21

Today was such a good day – we learned a lot. In the morning, we took a boat and got on a river. We learned how to get water samples and test the PH and salinity of the water. We learned how to test the depth of the water. We grew our friendships. We learned how to work with others. In the afternoon, we went to the intertidal zone. We caught some fish. We learned what is harmful. (For example, the blue crab.) After that we prayed and worshipped the Lord. We sang songs together, and we said thank you to God. I’m grateful that I had such a good day. Oh Lord, thank you for being with us and blessing us. We thank you that we can be with each other and have fun with each other!


by Jacob Knowlton ‘21

Today was full of fun and fruitful activities. We learned from all the the fish we caught the beauties of God’s creation, and then saw in the microorganisms lab how intricate God’s creation truly is. There was a great sense of community with all of our classmates today, and everyone enjoyed themselves, even if at first it was difficult (walking on a knee-deep muddy trail). At the end of the day, we enjoyed a great time of worship to honor the creator of everything we see in nature. Everyone was engaged in worshipping, and God’s presence was felt within the room. The whole day the group was kind to one another, honoring to one another and to God. We had a great day in God’s creation!




Sophomores: Quebec City

By Will Rourke ‘20

The CCA sophomore class departed the school bright and early. After an exciting Bruno Mars-filled car ride, we arrived at our hotel. We got changed and started our walking tour with the one and only Mr.Wegrzyn! We walked along the St. Lawrence River and drew in our trip journals. We then entered Petit Champlain, a beautiful little shopping area with cobblestone streets. After some plentiful shopping, it was finally time for dinner. We ate at a beautiful restaurant with some of the best food we’ve ever eaten. For appetizers, many had soup or sushi and for the entrée, steak, salmon, duck pad thai and ham was offered. For dessert we all had our own crème brûlée. After dinner, we had a nice walk back to our hotel for bed. We all fell asleep eager to see what is in store for tomorrow!




Juniors: “A Hard Thing” Houston, Texas

by Kelly Russell ‘19

We started off Sunday with a time of fellowship, worship, and a short sermon from the leader of the organization we are working with. Before the day’s work began, we enjoyed getting to know some of the college students from Wisconsin who are also volunteering here. They taught us a fun game called “Spicy Uno” and now we play it whenever we have free time. The family hosting us made us a buffet of food for lunch, with stir fry rice, steamed greens, chicken wings, yellow watermelon, sausage, salad, and more. We were not expecting such a delicious feast! After lunch, we helped build fencing for the spinach farmers’ greenhouses. Around dinner time, we went to Chuy’s for Tex-Mex food. It was amazing – we were all full by the time our food came out because our classmate, Jacob Sims, paid for queso for all of us and we totally pigged out. From there, we drove to Minute Maid Park for the Houston Astros baseball game. The Astros beat the Cleveland Indians, 3-1, and there were fireworks when they won! We were honorary Astros fans for a night, even cheering in the streets walking back to our van, the classic Josh Reddick cheer (“whooooo”) like all the other fans around us. It was also a great chance to see downtown Houston on the ride back. It was our classmate Aria Heil’s birthday, and we all loved getting to spend her special day with her. Happy birthday Aria!


By Joao Ornelas ‘19

The first day in Houston really has given us a new perspective on what it means to “give up for everything.” We all understood that giving up comfort, sleeping hours, and distance from home, would be a small price to pay for the great work we have been able to participate in these few days. We could all feel the spiritual atmosphere instantly when we arrived, and certainly like past trips, we have built a stronger bond with each other. Truly this experience repays us with not only amazing food, but the opportunity to do good while praising our Lord and savior with many others. Here’s to more days filled with joyful praise and hard work ahead of us!


By Elianna Gonzales

Today (Monday) was the first full day of work for us. I think we were all a little surprised by the heat at the end of the day.  We all came back into the cabin and saw that we were covered in sunburns.  It was hard work but we learned a lot.  After lunch today we were split up into different groups.  At first we were sad to leave each other but then we got excited that we would have more opportunities.  Kelly and I were volunteered to go and lay down the foundation for a new house.  When we first heard we were doing this we were excited but when we got there we realized that it was actually a lot harder than we thought.  We had to hammer stakes into the ground to outline a 30 feet by 30 feet house.  We had to make sure all the measurements were precise in order for the house to be built correctly.  We did not realize how physically and mentally exhausting it is to build a house.  Trying to get the foundation straight made Kelly and I really appreciate the houses we have. We are very privileged with houses that are a lot better than the ones we were building.  I cannot imagine how difficult it must of been to build our houses if we had such a hard time with a smaller house.  


After we finished working we went back to our house and listen to the leader of this charitable organization give a message.  It was very powerful to see a lot of people confessing their faith and becoming followers of Christ.  A girl was getting baptized but her parents were not Christian. We have heard that people get baptized almost every night here and it is amazing to see them so full of God’s joy. We all feel like we are learning a lot here and the presence of God can definitely be felt at this place and in these people.  We are very happy to have the chance to serve here. 


by Amanda Guerriero

Monday we ate breakfast at 7:00 before going out to the greenhouses to work.  We removed old and rotten boards from the sides of the greenhouses to replace them with new boards and detached boards from the roof.  We went back to work at 1:00 after breaking for lunch and ended our work day at 5:30.  After dinner we had a debrief where we talked about what it means to be a Christian in non-Christian settings and how God adopts us as his own, even if we are rejected by others. Later two people from another group here got baptized!




Seniors: New York City

By Tate Ostrowski ‘18

We woke up this morning and at around 7 and started making our way to Old John’s restaurant. While we were waiting outside we saw a baby bat hanging outside of the entrance. Once we were inside, we were seated in a dim lit diner. From breakfast we walked to the subway and rode it to Chamber st. The subway was quiet except for our group. Everyone could tell we didn’t ride it often.


Once on the street, we made our way to the 9/11 memorial. Standing at the foundation of one of the fallen buildings gives you a sense for the magnitude of the event. Walking around the memorial I found “The Survivor Tree”. This tree was the only tree that survived in the wreckage, and it represents the survivors of the incident but was still was wounded. Inside the museum you are immediately struck by the unity that this event brings. Everyone is silent, everyone shows respect and everyone knows that these places means something.


After the 9/11 memorial we went to lunch. We sat with a great view of the river and the city. From there, we had a short distance to walk from lunch to the Tenement Museum. The museum was able to recreate the living arrangements and lifestyles of many immigrants coming from different backgrounds.


From there, we made our way to Brooklyn! We had pizza for dinner in a small restaurant near the river. To cap off our stay in Dumbo, we took in the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridge from a rooftop. Making our way back across the Brooklyn bridge was hectic. Among the crazy bikers and the crowd of people, Jordan Ann found a guy with a HUGE snake! In the end, we did some walking around the city and winded the day down with a quick visit to CVS before returning to our lodging for the night.



5/21/2018 – And they’re off!  The Seniors, Juniors, Freshmen and Eighth graders all departed for Academic Travel week learning adventures on Saturday and Sunday.  They have arrived safely at their destinations and are off to a great start!  Read on for summaries and photos from each class.



Seniors: New York City

By Maria Katzounos ’18

Rolling luggage through NYC may have be harder than hiking the Adirondacks last year…at least for us the weather was a lot warmer and there were far more obstacles than on that mountain. I don’t mean to start on a sour note… but at least things went up from there! After our group navigated the streets, we dropped our luggage off and headed to the Circle Line Cruise. It was a perfect break from the heat and we had never seen New York City in that way before. After the cruise, we headed to Gotham Market (a fancy food court) for lunch. Our group enjoyed meals like burgers, ramen, sandwiches and tacos. After Gotham, we trekked to Times Square and visited all the little kid stores like Toys R Us, the M&M store and Disney. Our final adventure for the day was a sunset Amtrak Ride over the Queensborough bridge… We walked a lot and overall it was a great day. It’s crazy to think that these are our last weeks together as a high school class.




Juniors: “A Hard Thing” Houston, Texas

By Mr. David Church, Faculty Chaperone

We have had a truly remarkable start to our junior class “hard-thing” service trip in Houston, Texas.  We had a great travel day with Southwest Airlines — made all our connections and received all our baggage. We arrived a little later than we had hoped to our destination, about midnight. Never-the-less the students got a good rest and were ready for today’s activities.


It is fitting that our first full day is the Lord’s Day.  The director of the local organization we have partnered with gave an inspiring message in our worship service this morning, telling his story about struggling to save people in a small boat during Hurricane Harvey — amazing stories that captivated our students. There is another group here volunteering as well, a Campus Crusade group from a midwestern university. Our students had the unique privilege to worship with, and then witness three of these college students as they stepped forward to be baptized today! We then had the opportunity to help construct a greenhouse for local spinach farmers this afternoon. It was great to finally get our hands dirty with the work we came here to do. This evening with ate authentic Tex-Mex cuisine at Chuy’s and we also enjoyed a great pitchers duel at Minute Maid Park between the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians.  


Tomorrow (Monday) is our first full day of work. We appreciate your prayers as we roll up our sleeves to help rebuild this devastated neighborhood. I’ve described this neighborhood as a “Third World Country with air conditioning” to a few folks I’ve spoken with.  They have electricity and running water but are missing many of the normal comforts we are used to. The area was completely decimated by Hurricane Harvey.  It has become real to our students in a new way today that even though Houston has been out of the news cycle for many months, the destruction is still a daily reality for so many.  They are so grateful for our help, and we can’t wait for the opportunity to work tirelessly alongside them this week. 


Thank you for supporting our efforts and trusting us to see our mission through. We are making new friends, learning spiritually and vocationally, and we are being inspired as we see God at work.  This could be a life-shaping experience for many of us. 


By Aria Heil ’19

On Saturday afternoon when we flew to Kansas City, Southwest Airlines gave CCA a shout-out over the microphone. Although initially we were laughing and feeling embarrassed, getting recognized publicly helped us to be a witness for our cause. People knew who we were and some asked why we were going. That opened up the opportunity for us to share who we are, why we were going and why we were willing to serve.


When we arrived in Houston finally, we drove to the place we are staying and got to hold some cats. The cats made us feel welcomed when they purred and let us hold them. I especially enjoyed when we went to the house and all of the girls in our class got to be in the same room. It felt nice to be all together. My birthday was the next day so some people stayed up with me until it became May 20th. I’m blessed to have been able to spend my birthday with some of my best friends.


By Chris Harris ’19

We all met at the Logan Airport at around 1:00pm on Saturday and you could feel the excitement in the air. We boarded a Southwest airline flight to Kansas City. During the flight the staff publicly announced our service trip and the whole plane applauded then they sang Happy Birthday to Aria. We arrived at the Kansas City International Airport at 5:30pm and to our surprise, everything was closed; no food. (I know, I know, it’s basically the end of the world). We made our connection into Houston, got in our vans (packing them was a challenge), and then headed off to our work site.  Tomorrow is Sunday and we are looking forward to meeting the other volunteers and worshiping together. 



Freshmen: Chincoteague, VA

By Josiah Gonzales ’21

It was a nine-hour travel day down south. We started our day at 4:45am, whether we were awake or not. The bus-ride down was not as bad as one might think. In my bus, Sydney brought out the cards and the bus of Jacob E, Jacob K, Meghan, Rachel, Alex, Hannah, Caelen, and myself spent around two hours straight playing card games. Along with sleeping, and rocking out to songs, we were also able to have some fun conversations. When we finally got to the Science Station in Virginia, we were able to play soccer, ultimate frisbee, or just relax. We had an introductory class about what our week will be like (including the different places we will visit and some training for our boat trip tomorrow morning), and it looks like more fun times with our class is coming in the near future.  


By Ms. Nalani Cushing, Faculty Chaperone

For a day that felt like it could have been 3 days long, there is so much to thankful for. The sun came out, and we had a safe and efficient drive down to Virginia. Everyone is tired but in good spirits, and we have an unending supply of car snacks. Some of the best moments have been the in-between, unscheduled times we’ve filled this long day with: frisbee games, sitting in the sun, playing music, and creating made-up games.  When we choose to be fully present with each other, our community is strengthened.  That is the tone we set today, and I hope it will continue this week!




Eighth Grade: Washington, D.C.

By Emerald Bell ’22

As we all arrived at the airport, we were all nervous and excited. Once everyone was gathered in our little CCA huddle we headed for security. We all made it through with ease except for Peace, who was surprised to find out she had an old butter knife in her backpack! She was pulled over, but the security guards were gracious and let her go on without her butter knife. Most of us got drinks and breakfast once we were past security and had an hour to chill and wake up. We boarded the airplane at about 7:30am and had our 1.5 hour flight. Students worked in their trip books, listened to music, and just rested during the flight. Once we landed in Washington, DC, we got on the subway and headed to the hotel. We dropped off our suitcases at the hotel and headed to the National Museum of American History. The exhibits about civil rights were amazing and incredible. We saw how America had changed over time through each detailed exhibit. My favorite part was seeing the American flag that was raised above Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore. This flag inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words to what would become our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. It was a very fun and educational experience.


By Daniel Chewning

We went to the clock tower after lunch at the Ronald Reagan food court clock tower, and we were all excited to see an aerial view of DC. As we climbed higher and higher into the sky, the view became more and more breathtaking. After the clock tower experience, we started to head toward the Natural History Museum. It consisted of mummies, whales, prehistoric gems and fossils, dinosaur bones, and lots of information about our world. There was also a neat exhibit with high powered microscopes and other science activities. The gift shop was a little expensive, but it was fun. We all had a great time and made lots of memories that we will never forget.      


[Don’t miss the cameo appearance of Mr. Kilmer, former CCA Latin Teacher!]

5/21/2018 – Students in grades 7-12, along with our dedicated Upper School faculty, are taking their learning on the road this week! Students will have the opportunity to experience hands-on learning in real and meaningful ways. Here is a sneak peek at where students are headed this week:




Students depart early Monday morning to tour the great Civil War battlefield and understand their recent history lessons in a new light.  Students also see the Amish culture and see a biblically themed dramatic production.  Finally students learn about immigration to the United States first-hand as they visit the Tenement Museum and Ellis Island.



Students departed early Sunday morning and will visit the great government buildings and memorials of our nation’s capital.  They tour the Capitol, the Smithsonian (Air and Space Museum), the Holocaust Museum, the Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Martin Luther King memorials, and many other sites. 



Students departed early Sunday morning and will be visiting a famous wetlands and island protected area off of Virginia.  They work with a local science research field station to do a variety of observations and labs both at sea and on land. 



Students depart Monday morning and will learn about the Native American and French colonial history of North America’s most European city.  There are many opportunities to discuss art and architecture as well as the strategic importance of the St. Lawrence river.  Culinary delights also figure highly in the students’ experiences. 


GRADE 11:  “A Hard Thing” – Rebuilding Houston After Hurricane Harvey 

The Junior Class chooses a “hard thing” that will challenge them physically and mentally. This year the Juniors decided to travel to Houston, Texas to work with a Christian relief organization to rebuild homes for a section of the city that was absolutely devastated last fall. The students will be working long days in the Texas heat and will push themselves to learn new skills and be a witness to those around them. If you’d like to make a donation towards their efforts you can do so here



The Senior Class left Sunday morning to embark on an ethnic and cultural tour of cosmopolitan New York City.  They will visit Jewish, Chinese, African American, and Italian neighborhoods.  They will also visit the great historical and cultural treasures of NYC by visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the 9-11 Museum, a Broadway show (Phantom of the Opera), the Tenement Museum, walk the Brooklyn Bridge and circle Manhattan Island by boat. 

Why do we do this? While the classroom is a wonderful place to learn, the opportunity to venture out of the predictable space where routines have been established can energize learning in some special ways. Academic Travel Week gives students an opportunity to “take their learning on the road” and privilege the direct experience, the hands-on experience, rather than the mitigated experience of the textbook.