For a long time being well traveled was a main, defining characteristic for the intellectual and remains an important feature. For reasons of perspective and context this is in no way a silly quality to value and North Springs students have been offered opportunities through school to begin or strengthen their right to boast it. The destinations this year are Peru, the Galapagos, and a number of European countries, which all offering unique and unified benefits for those participating.
The Peru trip is focused on servicing a community, learning their ways of life, as well as taking in the artwork of the area. Art teacher Brent Green, the teacher in charge of this particular trip, stressed the importance of getting out and seeing the artwork that his art history students were learning about, being there to see and feel the energy that fueled the works they studied. To absorb the culture, to interact with the people and to truly connect with their objects of interest are valuable aspects of the trip. Along these lines, Green answered when I asked why the trip was a valuable experience, “When I create the trips I try to think about art history students, actually going to see the things we study.” But there is a whole second part to the trip, “The fact that they offered the service component as well I thought fit well with the spirit of North Springs.” And he went on to cite North Springs’ service day, Clubs in the Community Day, as well as our sentiment of giving back to the community. Specifically students will be focusing on repairing things and helping out around the village where they’ll be staying next to Lake Titicaca. Not forgetting the amazing scenery and novelty of visiting a place that seems to soon be made unavailable to the public i.e. Machu Picchu Green is running an amazing opportunity for the students going this year.
AP World History teacher, Freddie Benschine, is leading another adventure alongside the biology department to the Galapagos Islands this spring break. Benschine is also offering another, differently focused travel opportunity which will be detailed in the following paragraph. While multiple places will be visited on the spring break trip, the signature location of this trip will be the islands where Charles Darwin observed the finches which drove his conception of the theory of evolution via natural selection, the Galapagos. While this particular facet of the trip has its obvious appeal mainly for passionate students of biology, the history of the islands, the culture and the people as well as the significance of Darwin’s groundbreaking theory make this trip a worthwhile journey for a fan of either discipline: biology or the social studies. “I’m a world history teacher!” Benschine proclaimed when asked why the trips were valuable for students, “It’s just that, getting out of your setting. Getting out of Sandy Springs and seeing something new.” Benschine elaborated, citing his previous trips to Japan and France, “The kids get so out of their element sometimes. The customs are so different just the way people go about their days is so different. It gives them a different mindset. Watching a kid go to a restaurant and order in French, it’s something he’s not used to and that’s what I like about it.” He did not forget his obligations to history either making a similar sentiment to Green about seeing in person and touching the history and places students learn about in the classroom. The academic values of trips like these are very present and clear if one looks but one must look, Benschine’s other trip to Europe is a less implicitly academic venture.
A leadership summit awaits Benschine and the students that go on Benschine’s next trip, Switzerland, Finland, and Sweden. Students will attend workshops and hear from Sir Ken Robinson, a leading expert on creative education strategies. It will be a globally interactive and brilliantly diverse opportunity for the students even beyond the short summit as they make their way elsewhere across Scandinavia on their visit. That half will of course be flexing the facet of experience and contextual experience as its main source of value similar to the other two trips.
The deadlines to go on these trips unfortunately has passed. However, for juniors and underclassmen, next year always awaits and there will likely be similarly amazing travel opportunities. Keep your eyes out for an invaluable trip to become a truly traveled scholar!