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Cardinals Travel Far and Wide For Unique Experiences

View photo from Spring 2019 France Trip

Over Spring Break, over 150 students traveled to corners far and wide to participate in our Outdoor and Travel program. Many of these trips can lead to significant growth for the individual – growth that often comes when one is challenged in an unfamiliar environment that requires discomfort and hard work. The program seeks to provide opportunities for students to deepen relationships with other members of the community and develop a responsible understanding about cultures, people, and lands through which they travel.

This year’s trips included the annual, eleven-day senior trip, to the Yukon (gallery). One-hundred-and-seventeen seniors went on the trip this year, enjoying bonding time, the northern lights, and dog sledding. In addition, they have discussions about graduation, college, and venturing out into the world on their own. In addition, fifteen 8th graders spent twelve days exploring the history and culture of Spain (gallery). This inaugural trip was led by Middle School teachers Bill Metcalfe and Elin Rummel along with Assistant Head of Middle School Caitlin Lyons. The tripped combined cultural, political, and historical components.

Our annual New Orleans service trip (gallery) moved from the summer to Spring Break, and the eighteen Upper School students continued to help rebuild the Ninth Ward as have past participants. Yonase Geleta ’21 recently shared the impact the trip has had on him.

“The New Orleans trip made me look for things I could do to make an impact on people in my life. I was looking at all the problems that New Orleans faced and looking at Youth Rebuilding New Orleans and Common Ground Relief the two partners we worked they were attacking the problem of lack of care of marginalized groups. It made me really look into my life because everything we learned there through The Whitney Plantation, Bike and Kayak Tours and Lower 9th Ward Museum made the trip meaningful. Without the museums and tours, I would not have learned why the work we did was so powerful and so needed.

I am really reassessing my goals and what I want to do with my life now, we learned about many terrible things that happened in New Orleans but working with the partners, we were actively trying to help the problem. There are so many things to do just on the ground to fix this city. Now I think to myself about what is really affecting people.

The trip provides so many opportunities to learn so many skills, from keeping my area in the room clean, working with six other people to cook dinner, and budgeting money while grocery shopping.  I want to take everything I learned on this trip to make a greater impact on my community and the people in it.”

Seattle Academy also sent a trip of students to France (gallery) over Spring Break. The group explored Paris, fully immersing themselves in the culture and language, visited museums and monuments, and completed a four-night homestay with a French family in Nantes. Mallory Leff ’20 shared her this about her experience.

“I think that the France trip changed my outlook on life. I think that many people live life believing this idea that “everybody is human.” This idea that humans make mistakes and that all humans will forgive one another for their screw ups. I thought I had been living life thinking this. However, it was not until that France trip that I really began to believe it.

Let me begin by saying that I was terrified to go on the France trip. Though it did not show through my tough exterior, I was petrified. Yes, I was thrilled to travel throughout Paris, visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, and the many many museums. And yes, I loved being immersed in the French culture of life: eating lots of carbs, cheese, chocolate, and more carbs. However, it was none of those things that scared me. Rather it was the homestay that frightened me. Looking back on it, I do not know why I was so scared. I would give anything now to spend another week with my host family.

However, on that first day with my homestay family, nothing could have been scarier. At first, it was rather intimidating having to live with a family that I hardly knew. However, I was able to grow and adapt. I think that one thing that I gained from experience was confidence. Confident, not just in speaking and understand French, but also in my ability to deal with tough situations. For instance, there were many miscommunications during my homestay, times when I thought to myself, “Holy crap, what am I going to do. I don’t know how to explain that it French. They look confused. What am I going to do.” However, I got through it. Even though at times I had to use hand signals or spend several minutes explaining something, everything always worked out. Because of that, I feel more confident in my ability to tackle any difficult situation that is thrown my way.

Overall, I think that being able to go on the France trip helped me to grow as an individual and as a French speaker. I started the trip scared of what may happen, and at the end of the trip, I was ready to jump into any new experience.”

This summer the school will offer trips to Alaska, Costa Rica, the Yukon, and Zambia.





In Focus, Spring 2022

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At Seattle Academy, we encourage students to try new things and engage in a variety of experiences in order to facilitate personal growth and build community.

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