Field Trip Day 2014

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On April 4th, Merion students took a break from school-work and participated in the annual Field Trip Day. As always, each class traveled to a different location and bonded over various activities.

The freshmen visited One Day in Pompeii, the latest exhibition at the Franklin Institute. This exhibit explored the events leading up to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., and the tragic aftermath of the sudden disaster. Featured were more than 150 authentic artifacts, and students were able to relive the deadly impact of Mount Vesuvius with a simulated CGI eruption. In addition, the projections, audio, and video displays offered them a chance to explore the ancient Roman city’s locations including the marketplace, public baths, and temples. This exhibit was the freshmen’s first field trip, and they seemed to not only learn about the historical event but also connect as a class. Emma Cartrite (’17) tells of the experience, “I thought it was really nice for my class to just hang out together and bond. I talked to some girls who I hadn’t ever really talked to before.”

As part of their Sacraments course, sophomores study the rites and rituals of other world religions, specifically Islam, Hinduism, Budhism, and Judaism. In relation to the unit, they visited several religious sites after much in-class research on the basic dimensions of these religious traditions. The sophomores had the chance to talk to a member of the Buddhist religion for an hour at Merion. She answered questions from the class and taught them about meditation being the most important form of ritual in the Buddhist religion. Sophomores then visited a Baptist church, where they enjoyed a special lunch that aligned with the Daniel Fast that members ate during lent. The sophomores were also given a tour of the Baptist church, which could hold more than 5,000 people, and they were offered insights of how Baptists worship. At a Jewish temple, the class had the opportunity to take a look at the Torah and open up one of the many scrolls behind the altar. Meaghan Rossi (’16) said, “I really enjoyed our class trip. It was really eye opening to experience the different religions and their practices that my class and I have studied in our Sacraments class this semester. It took what we learned in the classroom and brought it to life, which was very interesting to experience.”

Juniors continued the tradition – and upperclassman milestone – of spending the day doing service. This was Merion’s tenth year of running the Junior Day of Service, the purpose of which is to foster community engagement, class bonding, and social justice. In addition to receiving service t-shirts, juniors were open to the adventure and were ready to share their time and talents with those in need around Philadelphia. The class split up into one of twelve assigned service groups. Sites included the Food Bank of South Jersey, My Place Germantown, Mercy Neighborhood Ministries, Gesu School, and La Salle Academy to name a few. Service ranged from packing food for children for the purpose of feeding them through the weekend, to assisting with setting up a Spring Fling dance for individuals with disabilities, to doing outside clean-up and garden work or simply providing company for the homeless. Megan Rogers (’15) recalled of her group’s visit to the Francis House Ministry, “I thought the visit would be very somber, as the house is a place where people infected with HIV come to get away from their life.” However, it turned out that all of the people there were perfectly healthy lovers of life. The inhabitants were very open, telling the small group of juniors that no question was too personal. Megan said, “It was a very rewarding experience receiving the love and trust that courses through that home. My group and I are planning to go back!”

For seniors, it was the much-anticipated field trip: a trip to New York City! After a three-hour bus ride, they were able to explore the city in groups, whether that included shopping, eating, or sight-seeing. Popular sites included the wax museum Madame Tussauds and NYC’s Fashion District. Later, the class met up for an Italian dinner at Carmine’s Restaurant. Then came the traditional highlight of the senior trip: the opportunity to see a Broadway musical. Prior to the trip, the class completed a survey and the majority voted to attend an evening performance of the renowned hit Wicked. Seniors were excited to learn that the actor playing the character Fiyero was Justin Guarini, the runner up to Kelly Clarkson from the first season of the television show American Idol. After a day of fun and excitement, the seniors made the long road trip back to Merion. Emma Brown (’14) said, “We had a great bonding moment singing along to the Hilary Duff movie and I loved getting to explore the city and see a Broadway play!”

It is safe to say that each class enjoyed their time on Field Trip Day, and they were given the opportunity to unite as a class and to create a memorable experience.

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