The week after Spring Break, students in grades 9-12 immediately jumped into grade-wide adventures we call Upper Class Trips. These trips are not only learning experiences ranging from building a fire to exploring some of Florida's state colleges but are also opportunities for fellowship and leadership as a class. No matter what the destination of the trip, this week is undoubtedly full of growing experiences for Canterbury's students.
GRADE 9 -- SOUTH FLORIDA
The Grade 9 ventured down to South Florida to examine up close the ecology and cultural history of our state. The first leg of the trip included a tour hosted by the HistoryMiami Museum at historic Virginia Key Beach Park, a landmark that once served as a “cherished getaway” for people of color during the Jim Crow era.
The entire second day was spent getting an early look at schools in the area, as the group traveled to Boca Raton to visit Lynn University and Florida Atlantic University. While the two institutions are a mere ten minutes apart by bus, they couldn’t be more different in size and vibe, giving the students some questions to ponder as they start thinking about what type of college or university they may want to consider as they get closer to senior year.
Science and ecology took center stage on day three, as students took a tour along the Anhinga Trail in Everglades National Park and got close enough to shake hands with plenty of gators, an assortment of birds, and a turtle or two. After making a stop at the legendary fruit stand "Robert is Here" (Mme. Donovan insisted, and we’re glad she did!), students cleaned up from the morning walk through the swamp and braved some horrendous Miami traffic to make their way to the Frost Museum of Science to see an IMAX film in its planetarium and survey the museum’s six levels.
While none of the carefully planned events and educational tours can compare to the excitement of checking into a hotel for three nights with 30 of one's closest friends, pool time before lights out, and eating massive bags of Twizzlers into the night, the trip overall was as it should be: exhilaratingly exhausting!
“The Everglades was my favorite part because I got to see a part of Florida that I really had no idea about. It kind of changed my perspective on our state because I didn’t realize how much importance it held.”
“The planetarium at the Frost Science Center was one of my favorite parts of the trip, and the aquarium there also had a spectacular view of the animals in the tank.”
“My favorite part of the 9th grade trip was touring Lynn University, because I’ve never toured a university.”
“I liked the free time because I like to be with my friends and hang out, but I thought the movie we saw and the aquarium at the museum were cool, too.
GRADE 10 -- ST. AUGUSTINE AND COLLEGE TOURS
By Grade 10 Students
Students and chaperones began the trip in St. Augustine with a tour of Castillo de San Marcos, a 17th century fort made of coquina shells. They learned that where the fort did a poor job of protecting the city, it was very successful in protecting itself. After the tour, they headed to the alleged landing spot of Ponce de Leon. The next day, the group headed to Gainesville. There, a Canterbury alumna, Katherine Dubina ('16), gave us a tour of the University of Florida. During the tour, we ran into other graduates of Canterbury, including Danielle Romanello ('17) and Lauren Cieutat ('17).
The second half of the trip was spent in Tallahassee, Florida’s capital city and home to Florida State University. First was a tour of FSU’s campus, including a comprehensive guided tour of the high tier athletic facilities. Brendon Smith (CSF, Class of 2017) gave us a tour of campus. Students and chaperones were also reunited with other Canterbury alumni: DQ Person ('17), Jackson Parker ('17), Julie Bulleit ('17), and Alexa Vidal ('17). That night the group attended an FSU baseball game and witnessed a home team victory. The next day, they toured the capitol building and the courthouse, where they participated in a mock trial and were able to observe live court proceedings.
"We got to see what campus life is like from Canterbury alumni."
"My favorite thing about the class trip was FSU! I really liked touring the campus."
"I liked FSU! That was my favorite part of the school trip."
"The trip to the courthouse was eye-opening and inspiring."
"On the trip I learned about how court cases work and what happens during hearings."
GRADE 11 -- CAMPING AND RIVER TRIP
The junior class trip (affectionately know as the JCT) was a week-long trip , including one day of canoeing on the Hillsborough River, a day at the Tampa Bay History Center, and three days of camping, hiking, and canoeing at Jonathan Dickinson State Park near Hobe Sound, FL. Students were placed in tribes and during the camping portion of the trip were responsible for preparing all meals for themselves, setting up the campsite, and group entertainment. They spent additional time exploring some of the ecosystems in Florida and learning about Florida History.
"At the Columbia restaurant, everyone ordered churros, and no one ate them, so everyone gave them to me."
"Best canoe partners ever!"
"The JCT was a lot of fun, and I really feel like I got closer to a lot of classmates."
"The junior class trip was an extremely enjoyable experience that I believe brought the class closer together by giving us shared experiences and new connections."
"It was a great learning experience. It taught me a lot about myself, both individually and as part of a group. It reminded us that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and that we are all connected, even if we don’t act like it most of the time."
"The JCT was a great way for our grade to get to know each other better in a unique environment."
"I really bonded with my classmates, and I feel that we are closer because of it."
"The junior class trip was fun and enjoyable. It helped me to get to know some of my classmates better and aided the creation of new friendships."
"A fun few days in the sun canoeing with friends."
"Everyone was helping each other out, and I found myself really getting to know people I didn’t talk to much before."
"The ghost stories had me spooked until morning. Thanks, Kai!"
"The trip was SO much fun, and I really felt more connected with my classmates while we were out there, especially during the times in the mornings and at night when we sat around the campfire. It felt like we were one big family."
"I enjoyed getting to work as a tribe."
"The junior class trip was certainly one that I will never forget. I loved spending time with my class and getting to camp with them and canoe with them, but my all-time favorite part was when we were sitting around the fire, and Deon said we should all hug everyone. It’s cheesy, but I thought it was really special."
"I liked singing and dancing with the girls after we all put up our tents. I also liked the first and second campfires and all the games we played and the stories."
"My favorite part of the JCT was the food, camp activities, and sleeping in a sleeping bag."
"I got to make new friends. I wasn’t with just my normal group. I learned and saw people’s true colors, so that was good."
"This trip taught me how to open up and find the good in everyone."
"The junior class trip was an experience I will never forget. I loved how the whole grade connected and united as one!"
"My absolute favorite part was canoeing because you’re pretty much forced to communicate with and engage with someone you’re not typically close to. I liked the bonding experience, and this is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life."
"The JCT is my favorite class trip because I got to know more about a lot of the people in my grade."
GRADE 12 -- PATHFINDERS AT CEDARKIRK
By Catherine Hyden, Class of 2018
From March 19-21, the Class of 2018 set out on their final Canterbury class trip. The Pathfinders excursion took place at Cedarkirk in Lithia, Florida. Students were split up into three groups and embarked on journeys for the next three days and two nights. From exciting team-building exercises such as working together to boost classmates through a 12-foot, elastic web, and lifting a tire from around a skyscraper of a tree, to canoeing and testing limits at the high ropes. Canterbury's seniors worked together eagerly over their three days at Pathfinders. They had the opportunity to get in touch with their own thoughts during their silent solo experiences for 30 minutes in the beautiful Cedarkirk scenery. Sharing favorite high school memories around the campfire while indulging in S’mores was a fantastic way to reminisce over the past four years with graduation just around the corner.
The final afternoon was where things got really emotional. Some of the seniors have been together for over 14 years. Lots of memories, and tears, were shared during the ending carabiner activity. Each student was given a carabiner, a device used frequently during the trip, and would interlock their carabiner with another student’s, and share why they appreciate that classmate. After each appreciation was voiced, the seniors would then swap carabiners and repeat the process with another student they admired. Numerous laughs, tears, and hugs were shared in these final moments at Pathfinders. There is no question that the seniors feel a sentimental bond to one another that will last beyond graduation and continue for a lifetime.
See more photos from class trips on SmugMug.