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.
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.
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.
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!
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!]