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Dispatch from the Field: Highlights from Upper School Trips
Mitzi Mock

From Hawaii to Washington D.C., upper school students are spending the week on trips across America. Below, a few students share favorite moments from their latest adventures.

Student sitting on a cliff in the Grand Canyon

Sandy, scrubby Arizona land turned into tall forest as our bus pulled into Grand Canyon National Park. I felt like an ant hiking around the yawning canyon’s rim, staring down into what looked like a rusty, majestic alien landscape. After a few hours of walking, petroglyph-spotting, and picture-taking, we chased sunburn woes away with sticky sweet pieces of fudge in the cool gift shop. The the day’s heat subsided while we were at dinner (burgers and heaping cups of ice cream), and we ended our night exploring the darkened streets of Williams, Arizona. - Anisha K., Grade 12


A group of upper school students standing in front of the Washington monument

We had an exciting last couple of days in D.C. Early in the week, we were able to talk to Ilya Somin, a law professor at George Mason University. We had a lovely conversation on everything from a legal perspective of Roe v. Wade to a foot voting democratic system. Monday evening, we went to Georgetown for a ghost tour, which was admittedly enjoyable for the historical anecdotes. 

Tuesday morning, we went to the old executive office building to meet the general counsel of the Office of Management and Budget. The process involved getting a security clearance badge (like in the movies) and a gift of presidential chocolates. After a picnic lunch in Lafayette Square, we took the Metro to Capitol Hill, where we met with a fascinating foreign policy reporter for The Hill. We continue our journey this week with a Lincoln assassination tour. Hydration remains high, public restrooms remain low (I blame Reagan). - Josh B., Grade 11


A student standing in front of the train tracks at Pullman station in Chicago.

It’s so vibrant here in Chicago! The historical landscape interspersed with lush greenery means that there is always an interesting sight to be seen. Today we visited the Pullman District, the origin of some of the most powerful Black unions in America during the Gilded Age. We also took a boat tour down the Chicago river, where we were exposed to architectural styles such as Art Deco and environmental projects dubbed “adaptive reuse,”  which transform old buildings in favor of demolition. I’m looking forward to the treats that Chicago still has in store for us! - Jackson B., Grade 11


A group of upper school students sit on a stoop in Harlem

Thus far, it feels like we have already seen so much of the neighborhood of Harlem in only two days. From experiencing a red eclipse at the side of the lake to having a storm-soaked, post-dinner ice cream excursion, the dynamics of this neighborhood and this trip have been unforgettable. So far, we have had a walking tour of Harlem, visited the Schomburg Center, and explored related exhibits at the Met. Out trip group has created a great bond and has had many heart to hearts, as well as heart-to-Harts (a mocktail lovingly named after our trip leader, Alexa Hart.) - Grace F., Grade 11


Students walking along a verdant path in Hawaii

From bee farm to botanical garden, Hawaii feels so vast for being such a tiny island. While its deep culture and traditions only add to its perplexing nature, the Aloha State has been a joy to learn about. Although the early morning drives and mosquito swarms are a struggle, experiencing important cultural landmarks and the native vegetation have taught important lessons about the island’s colonial history that I will never forget. The day culminated in buffet dinners of traditional foods and sunset views while we debriefed with other groups. - Aaron H., Grade 10



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