Fun in the Sun: The First Week Off-Campus Trips

Zach H., Staff Writer

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On Thursday, August 16, students from each grade and gender left the middle school for a fun day of off-campus trips. They went to places all over Georgia and did activities such as kayaking in Dahlonega to seeing the Birds of Prey show at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain.

Reverend Tina McCormick is behind the planning for all of these events. She and ten others split into teams to plan each trip based on what went well the year before.

According to Rev. the idea for these trips came from a middle school teacher and advisor a few years before. She said, “A couple years ago, Mr. Caldwell came up with the idea when thinking about how he would like to get to know his advisement better.”

With this thought the first week field trips were born and have become a tradition in the middle school.

The sixth grade boys ventured to Don Carter State Park near Lake Lanier where they did paddle-boarding, swimming, and volleyball.

Alexander C., a sixth grade boy, appreciated the opportunity. He said, “I liked this trip because we got to play a lot of games like volleyball.”

Mayowa O. was also fond of the trip, and the chance to bond with his advisement. He said, “It was a fun new experience. We also got to know each other better because my advisement played volleyball and went paddle-boarding together.”

Sixth Grade Boys take a moment to snap a picture before their fun day at Don Carter State Park on Lake Lanier. Photo courtesy of Pearl Zhu.

The sixth grade girls had the opportunity to go to Fort Mountain State Park where they swam, went geo-cashing, did crafts, and hiked.

Sixth grade girl Katie K. loved the trip. She said, “It was a great chance to bond with all of my classmates. I really enjoyed it.”

Ella A., a sixth grade girl, agreed, saying, “I thought it was a lot of fun because we all got to spend time on the bus together.”

Sixth Grade Girls enjoying their time to swim in the lake at Fort Mountain State Park. Photo courtesy of Susan McMillan.

For the seventh grade boys, the location was Camp Mikell in Toccoa where they were able to swim and play outside.

Gibson T., a seventh grade boy, said, “I loved the trip because we were able to bond with our advisement through playing sports together.”

Anne Sophie Hankla, a seventh grade boys advisor, also thought the trip was great. She said, “I enjoyed the trip because my advisement and I were able to bond by playing together, and it was a great way to start the year.”

However, not everybody had fun. Arthur G. said, “I didn’t like it because it was boring, and I was hungry the whole time. I wish we could have done something at Westminster instead.”

Seventh Grade Boys having fun playing in the pool at Camp Mikell. Photo courtesy of Terri Kaplan.

While the seventh grade boys were enjoying their time to play in the pool and on the field, the seventh grade girls were at Callaway Gardens for a day of shows, exhibits and swimming.

Catherine Q., a seventh grade girl, had mixed thoughts on the trip. She said, “I liked the part where we went to the beach, but I wish I had more time to spend with my advisement.”

Seventh grade girl Sydney W. felt the same way. She said, “I enjoyed going to the beach, but we didn’t have much time do stuff with our advisement which was kind of annoying.”

The Seventh Grade Girls watch as a hawk swoops over their heads during the Birds of Prey Show at Callaway Gardens. Photo courtesy of Lauren Carter.

The eighth grade boys left the campus to go kayaking at Appalachian Outfitters in Dahlonega.

Eighth grade boy Ryan C. loved the trip. He said, “I really liked that we were able to do something fun while talking to people that we haven’t seen for a whole summer.”

Wilson I. also thought the trip was fun because he got to meet some of the new students.

But not everyone was fond of the trip. Kanav K. said, “I didn’t really enjoy it because it was boring and messy. There was no adventure to it.”

Eighth Grade Boys flowing over the rapids at Appalachian Outfitters near Dahlonega. Photo courtesy of Justin Abraham.

The eighth grade girls were also on a river as they went Cool River Tubing in Helen.

Courtney O. was not overly impressed. She said, “It was okay, but it was very boring, and all we got to do was just float down a river.”

Olivia M. felt differently. She said, “I liked it because it was a good bonding experience and a chance to connect with people that I wouldn’t normally talk to.”

Lauren B. had a few ideas on how to change the trip. She said, “It wasn’t that fun. If I were in charge, I would go somewhere more interesting like Sky Zone.”

Eighth Grade Girls pose for a picture as they float down the river at Cool River Tubing in Helen Georgia. Photo courtesy of Carolina Mares.

While there were some critiques on the first week field trips, for the most part students seemed to enjoy the opportunity to get off-campus and hang out with their advisement during the beginning of the year.

Rev. McCormick said, “It’s a slow start, fun start, and just a great way for students to connect.”

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