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MS Blog Files - ELFT

(This was written upon returning in mid-May, but the pictures gave me fits trying to load. It was an incredible trip, and I hope your students shared lots of stories! Parents may access loads more pictures through our private photo folder.)

Last week middle school attended the Extended Learning Field Trip, exploring Savannah and its surrounding natural spaces. This yearly tradition involves students researching locations, planning a multi-day excursion to their chosen destination, and fundraising for all of the expenses. Your donations throughout the year helped them to fund a successful trip. Thank you!

On Monday, we headed down to the coast and had our first adventure as a group, grocery shopping for the week. Students divided into groups to gather supplies for our meals, and Miss Kathleen approved the baskets before purchasing. They had prepared a meal plan ahead of time and knocked the task out with ease. They even sneaked a birthday cake into the mix and surprised me (Patricia) with a celebration after dinner. Their gift to me was a round of affirmations and compliments. I almost cried! It was a lovely start to a fun week!

Tuesday, we explored Bonaventure Cemetery, starting in the Jewish cemetery section and adding stones to the humble Holocaust memorial tucked between graves. The walls of the Jewish chapel nearby held the names of the women that had historically prepared the bodies for burial and the storage room to the side overflowed with scripts needing sorted before being buried or disposed. Books with reference to God must be buried in keeping with tradition. From there we wandered to the oldest section, viewing the statue made famous by Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, among other historic figures.

The rest of the day, we viewed art at the Jepson Center and Telfair Academy, then ended our afternoon with a guided tour of the Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters. There may have been a brief reprieve at the famous Leopold's Ice Cream Shop somewhere in there!

Wednesday, we ventured out into the temporarily calm waters of the ocean, learning about dune erosion and cycles, and fighting the rough seas all the way back. Our students are capable and impressive and rowed their hearts out until reaching the main shore! The rest of the day we played at the beach, ate popsicles, took a marsh walk, and observed sea life at the UGA aquarium center. Our nature day proved successful and offered opportunities for personal growth!

Thursday, we headed downtown, visiting SCAD Story and the SCAD Museum of Art. Holy Cow! Such beauty! After a picnic lunch, we wandered the Riverwalk, discovering a world renowned gem collection in the lobby of a local hotel. Absolutely magnificent! Students played in a splash pad, spotted a manatee, watched the dolphins swimming in front of the ferry, and ate seafood at a local joint. Our longest day yet ended with a nighttime ghost tour of the historic district. Spoiler alert - The whole historic district is build on the mass graves of previous battlefields. So much blood shed in such a small region.

Friday, we returned mildly sunburned, tired, and closer as a community. This week was a gift to me and an opportunity to know our students more fully. Honestly, my best moments came in the evenings, when the students played capture the flag around our house in the dark. Watching them all running and laughing and strategizing made me smile. These are the moments in our lives that build us, that we remember and reflect with joy. They reside in a magical and fleeting intersection of youth and friendship and community and joy and play. Thank you for sharing your children - it truly was such an unforgettable experience!

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