Spring Break Trips Send CAC Students Across the Globe
There is incredible value in learning new things, experiencing new places and talking to new people. Each year, CAC secondary students are given the opportunity to do all three of those things through school-sponsored spring break trips. This year, students of all ages traveled across the globe on three trips – Europe (London, Paris, Rome), Spain and Washington D.C. Each trip offered unique moments of growth, educational opportunities and memories that will not soon be forgotten.
Sixteen eighth graders traveled to Washington D.C. for four days and visited national monuments like the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and the White House.
Eighth grader Alex Knod said he enjoyed getting to experience all the museums had to offer with his friends.
“My favorite part was actually going to all of the museums, like the Smithsonian and National Air and Space Museum,” Alex said. “It was fun to see all of the giant models. There was this really cool simulator that a lot of us did. You were flying and controlling a plane.”
Eighth grader Faith Brown said her favorite part was visiting George Washington’s house. She enjoyed seeing the authentic pieces of furniture, the original architecture and the “old-timey trinkets.”
Each day was packed full of sight-seeing and the thing that seemed to stick out the students the most was the realness of it all.
“George Washington actually lived here.”
“The Lincoln Memorial is huge.”
“The Arlington Memorial Cemetery is so surreal.”
“You walk down the street and you realize that really important people walked in the exact same spot.”
Both Faith and Alex agreed that seeing Washington D.C. in person open their eyes to education in a whole new way.
“I learned how much history has actually happened,” Alex said. “It’s different from reading four pages in a book about George Washington’s life. I got to actually see all the impact he had on the United States as a country.”
“Seeing Washington D.C. in real life built more on top of what I had already learned about the city,” Faith said. “When you’re there you actually see the places where the important stuff happened. It makes it more real.”
Fourteen freshmen and sophomores hopped on over (an expression we use lightly, as they endured a 9-hour flight) to Spain for the week, traveling to multiple cities and towns within the country.
Sophomore Maddie Beaulieu said she approached the trip with a little hesitation. She was nervous to leave the country without her parents, but excited to experience a new culture and be given another level of independence and responsibility.
Despite the early hesitation, Maddie said she became comfortable with managing time and communicating with others. She laughed as she recounted a particularly humorous memory.
“Me, Kaitlyn and Cassidy went to this pedicure place and we got our feet eaten by fish,” Maddie said. “I will never forget that. It really tickled, and we laughed the whole time. You would get used to it, but all of sudden it would hit you again and you laugh all over again.”
They toured places like the Prado Museum, the Royal Palace, the city of Granada and the city of Madrid. Most days were packed full of tours, lessons and sight-seeing, so they visited the beach one day to unwind and relax. The architecture fascinated Maddie, especially the elaborate cathedrals that seemed to be in every city.
“The cathedrals were my favorite,” Maddie said. “Being able to see all of the time and effort that was put into making them, you don’t see that very often here. The artwork was incredible.
I was overwhelmed because it was impressive… I had never seen anything like that before. You get used to a room and then you’d walk into the next one and then overwhelmed all over again because it was just so amazing.”
The students learned to be open to trying new foods, which Maddie said is one of her favorite memories from the whole experience.
“They took us to this tiny, local restaurant that I loved. We ate tapas which is a specialty of the city we were in. I liked learning about them, and I was so glad that EF took us there because I got to see what the locals ate. When I went out on my own, I would search for American food because it was familiar, and I wouldn’t have gone in that place if EF hadn’t taken us there.”
65 juniors and seniors trekked through multiple European countries for 10 days and got to experience a variety of different cultures, sights and world landmarks.
For junior Reece Butler, this trip was his first experience out of the United States. He commented that most of the destinations were not like what he expected them to be, but that he was glad to have been blessed with such a unique experience.
“I felt like I needed to go experience more and go soak in the stuff that the tour guides were saying because there are people who would have really loved to do the things I did and see the things I saw.”
The simple act of traveling and being with friends (or, the journey) was most impactful for Reece, as his favorite part of the trip was the overnight train ride from Paris to Venice.
“I think the overnight train was a neat experience. Everyone should try it at least once. The whole experience of being that close to so many people, everyone getting out of their comfort zones and having to work together. It was like having two three-story bunk beds in a closet with six people in it. You have to work around each other and it was hard, but working together to make it work is important.”
Senior Tala Tyner said she was “beyond blessed” to go on the trip, and that hanging out with her friends and seeing incredible places all at once was a dream come true.
“I just want to remember the whole thing, from hanging out with friends, to hanging out with Coach Sully for a few days, to traveling,” Tala said. “I will never forget the friendships and we had such a great time.”
Even though it was midnight when she made it back to the United States, the first thing Tala did was drive to Sonic and get her favorite drink.
Senior Brittany Martin loved everything about the trip, but she felt a special connection to Montmartre, Paris.
“It had a village feel and I really like that,” Brittany said. “We got to walk around after dinner and I bought a piece of art from one of the artists. I just really liked that vibe. I’ve always loved travel, and Europe is one of those places that I definitely want to go back to. I’m already planning my next trip.”
Brittany said she soaked up as much culture at each place as she possibly could, and that her eyes were opened to new people who helped her be less selfish.
“For me, learning different languages and how people live – it’s not all about America and it’s not all about the way we live. There are different ways all over the world.”
While the individual destinations and sights might have different, the life lessons learned across oceans were strikingly similar.
To see the full photo albums from each trip, visit our Facebook page!