The Gauntlet

Annual 8th grade Boston trip is highlight of the year

As the first major out-of-state trip available to Saint Stephen's students, this year's eighth graders had the chance to explore an unfamiliar city and delve into its history.

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Annual 8th grade Boston trip is highlight of the year

Eighth grade students gather among the leaves at Lexington Green for a group photo.

Eighth grade students gather among the leaves at Lexington Green for a group photo.

Jen Sabo

Eighth grade students gather among the leaves at Lexington Green for a group photo.

Jen Sabo

Jen Sabo

Eighth grade students gather among the leaves at Lexington Green for a group photo.

Jules Pung, Staff Writer

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Unlike Florida’s unrelenting streak of heat and humidity lasting well into the fall season, the city of Boston provided the eighth grade students with a refreshing change of climate (and scenery) from October 8th to 11th.

A cherished Saint Stephen’s tradition, the annual Boston trip was made up of four days of non-stop sightseeing, exposing the middle schoolers to the sights and sounds of one of the nation’s oldest and most historical cities.  The Boston trip is something all Falcons who went through the middle school remember.

One of their first destinations was Harvard University, where the students had the opportunity to go on a campus tour.

Next, they traveled to various historical sites, including Old North Church, Breed’s Hill, and the Holocaust memorial, where they shared a solemn moment of silence for the many victims of the Holocaust. They also got to view some historical art pieces at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Eighth grade English teacher Mr. Johnson told The Gauntlet that his personal favorite highlight of the trip was at Walden Pond, where, after having visited the Lowell factory (the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution), an impersonator of 19th century author Henry David Thoreau explained how he “reacted to the new technology.”

Lexington Green, in particular, was a favorite for the students. “So many people haven’t seen [the fall leaves],” Johnson commented, “…so [it] always becomes a photoshoot.”

New to the itinerary as of last year, the interactive murder mystery play gave students the chance to utilize their investigative skills. Upper school geometry teacher and first-time chaperone Mrs. Cotton regarded it as one of her highlights of the trip.

“[The people in the audience] get to ask questions… and point out what the detective missed… and so depending on how the audience has pushed the actors, that determines who the killer is,” she explained. “…It was really great. I loved that.”

On the final day, the eighth graders toured Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox, exploring everything from the announcer’s box to the “Green Monster,” a famous wall stretching 37 feet tall that borders the playing field.

While those four days in Boston seem like a sightseeing adventure each passing year, it also gives students the chance to learn what being on their own is about, and gets them one step closer to preparing for life in the Upper School.

“You’re traveling without your parents and you’re staying in a hotel room with just your peers…” said Mr. Johnson. “There are times when we allow students to go in groups and they have to manage their own money [and] their own time. It allows them to take ownership of [themselves], and I think it’s a great way to experience that independence.”

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  • Students walk by textile weaving machines at the Lowell factory.

  • Henry David Thoreau tells students his story of isolation in the woods.

  • A group of eighth graders throw bunches of fall leaves into the air.

  • Students gave their impression of several different art pieces during a visit to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

  • A view of the steeple of Old North Church from the streets of Boston

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Boston has been meaningful to students in the Upper School as well.  See the video of the 2015 Boston Trip below (it features the current juniors up in Bean-town).

Video Credit: Mr. Hoonhout
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About the Writer
Jules Pung, Staff Writer

Jules Pung is a new writer for The Gauntlet this 2018-2019 year. She enjoys drawing and occasionally writing stories in her free time.

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