Middle School Students Take an Educational Tour of Georgia

Recently, I worked with Cathy Carlton, a Social Studies teacher for Bennett’s Mill Middle School in Fayetteville, Georgia, to create an itinerary for a class trip that encompassed historical highlights of the state of Georgia.  Her class on Georgia history spans an entire school year.  The class begins with the prehistoric Indians and continues with Colonial studies, a close look at the American Revolution, the antebellum period and Civil War. Studies also include a consideration of the impact of modern wars, a look at regions of Georgia and economics that thrive in them, and the way entrepreneurs have impacted life in the state.

An Educational Tour of Georgia in Sync with Curriculum Objectives
In previous years, Carlton took the student travel group to Savannah for three days and two nights. This year, she found it more economical to limit the trip to two days and one night, so more students could afford to attend. But saving money was not the only motivation to create this unique tour.  “I felt like this trip was much more meaningful because we were able to visit many more sites around the state,” noted Carlton.

Students Travel to Different Sites Across the State of Georgia
Some highlights of the tour included a visit to Milledgeville, Georgia, the first capital of the state, a tour of Andersonville Prison, where prisoners of war were housed during the Civil War, and a tour of CNN Studios in Atlanta, where students were able to see how television news is produced.  In Atlanta, students also visited the Governor’s Mansion as well as The Bremen Jewish Heritage and Holocaust Museum and Oakland Cemetery, where famous Georgians were interred.

The first stop on the tour was Andersonville Prison, a two-hour bus ride from the group’s hometown.  Carlton wanted students to see this National Historic Site, because it tied in with their classroom studies of the Civil War and modern wars.  Students toured the site and gained a better understanding of the place where Northern soldiers were detained and housed during the Civil War. They were also engaged in learning about the dynamics of prisoners of war, and how it affects our society as a whole.

A Student Tour of Milledgeville:  Georgia’s First Capital City
The visit to Millledgeville seemed especially important to Carlton, as it tied in nicely with her curriculum and gave students a chance to actually see the grandeur of the historic capital.  Carlton said, “Students were really impressed by the fact that the capital began there. It was eventually moved to Atlanta so it could be more centrally located.  We were able to visit the Old Capitol Building, but we missed our tour of the Governor’s Mansion there, because we were running a little late, having spent more time at Andersonville then we anticipated.”

Educational Trip to Atlanta Includes Multiple Destinations
When the student tour group reached Atlanta, they took a break to eat supper at the Hard Rock Café, then toured Oakland Cemetery, where Bobby Jones, Maynard Jackson and Margaret Mitchell are buried.  “The guided tours of Oakland Cemetery included the graves of these famous Georgians — which were part of our studies — and many other historical people as well,” observed Carlton.

The educational tour group spent the evening at the Hampton Inn near the Perimeter Mall where breakfast was included the following morning.  Their tour of Atlanta began with a look at the Governor’s Mansion, where they actually saw Governor Perdue leaving the building that day.  This was followed by lunch at the Varsity, a famous Atlanta landmark.

The afternoon was filled with a visit to the Bremen Holocaust Museum.  Carlton was impressed with the tours given here, which were led by “survivors or family members of survivors.  It was fascinating for students to hear what the holocaust was actually like.  The group also viewed artifacts and videos of the holocaust.”

The trip on Georgia history concluded with a tour of CNN Studios in Atlanta, founded by the famous entrepreneur Ted Turner, who also started the first television station in Georgia, TBS.  The group of over 81 students was broken up into smaller groups for the studio tour, where they saw live news and also had a chance to glimpse the behind the scenes work involved in airing national news 24-hours per day.  Carlton recalled, “Students were thrilled by seeing the live newscasters, because they recognized some of the people they’ve seen on television.”

Educational Trip of Georgia was a Success!
Overall, creating a historical tour of Georgia was a positive experience for me and my staff. Usually, student tours are limited to the Atlanta metro area, because there are many educational sites to see in this city. After collaborating with Carlton on the creation of this custom tour, I can now see the benefits of widening the scope of destinations in Georgia.  It provides students a larger view of Georgia’s history because it includes landmarks that may be lesser known, but are equally important in understanding state history.

Student travel groups interested in touring Atlanta may want to consider including some of these prominent sites in their tour with visits to Milledgeville and Andersonville Prison included on their itinerary.  Overall, students did not spend more than 3 ½ hours on the bus the first day, and they had plenty of stops to keep the travel time interesting.

Request a quote for a student tour of Georgia or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com for a quote.

Bowsher High School from Ohio Takes a Band Trip to New York City

This past spring, Matt Fritz, the Band Director at Bowsher High School, took his students on a performance trip to New York City.  He decided to take 68 students in the Marching and Concert Band and the Jazz Band, which included 19 students.  The objective of the tour was to be immersed in an educational experience that focused on art and historical sites and to perform at a venue in New York City.

Matt Fritz teaches music theory and beginning band class for students who have never played in a band but want to learn an instrument.  The school group’s itinerary was custom designed to meet Matt’s learning goals.

This Q & A was conducted with Matt Fritz upon completion of the band trip.

Q.    What educational benefits are there to giving students live performance opportunities?

A.    The high school band always gives a concert performance at school. With a trip to New York City, students had a chance to get out and showcase their talents to people who have never seen them perform before.  It was a special thrill for student musicians to perform in New York City.

Q.    How did you prepare the high school band and jazz band for this New York City performance?
A.    We were scheduled to travel in the last week of April. Luckily we had no concerts to prepare for the entire month prior to the trip, so we could focus on our performance in New York City.  We did complete a great deal of preparation in class and I also scheduled after school rehearsals.

Q.    What’s the difference in traveling with student musicians as opposed to traditional students?

A.    Musicians have instruments that are carried along with them on the trip and some of these are quite large.  In fact, we had to leave the harpist’s harp home as well as some of the large percussion instruments, because they were too large to carry or store on buses.  So the educational travel company took care of renting these instruments ahead of time.  They made sure that the instruments were there at the venue before we arrived.  Also, considering we had 87 students who did have instruments, it was important to choose a transportation service that had ample storage underneath the bus to accommodate the extra luggage – which is significant.  These important details were handled by the educational travel consultants well in advance of our trip.

Q.    Where did you schedule a performance in New York City?
A.    We performed at the Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum, right on the flight deck, near the fighter planes.   There were three separate performances:  the concert band performed, the choir and the orchestra.

Q.    What was the audience like at the Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum?

A.    On the deck of the Intrepid, a steady group of people continued to walk by, and pause and take an interest in the performance. I’d estimate about 60 people passed through.  There was an area that was roped off for the performance and the Intrepid staff provided chairs for the audience.

Q.    What else did the student group do while touring?
A.    The kids toured the Intrepid Museum that day as well as performing for the crowd.  While we were in New York City we saw Mary Poppins on Broadway. This was the first time students had actually seen a real live Broadway musical production and it was great fun for them and me, too.  We visited the Museum of Modern Art, took the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island boat tour, and had a guided tour of Manhattan on the bus.

Q.    Was your tour escort helpful in resolving any last minute challenges or scheduling issues on the itinerary?
A.    Karen Goodman was our escort and she was unbelievable.  Our visit to Lincoln Center was canceled at the last minute and she was able to present us with choices for our open time on the schedule.  We visited Ground Zero on the bus and she arranged for the students to see the Dakota Apartment buildings. Neither of these destinations was on the schedule but she made it happen easily.  She also helped the bus driver out of a traffic snarl – which was quite impressive.

Q.    Did parents of students give you any feedback about the band trip?

A.    Some parents actually paid to come along and they enjoyed the visit to New York immensely.  Parents who were not able to attend said they were really thrilled that their children were given the opportunity to tour and perform in New York City.

Bowsher High School band members and parents took a well-rounded trip to New York City that included art and historical points of interest as well as an afternoon performance. There are many different venues to choose from for performance groups headed to New York including: Lincoln Center, the United Nations Building, Statue of Liberty as well as the Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum.  Student choirs may elect to perform at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.  Performance groups that visit Lincoln Center may also elect to take a behind the scenes tour of this famous performance stage and learn more about the lives of professional musicians and how they live each day in the spotlight.

For more information about scheduling a high school band, orchestra, or choir trip to New York City or another destination such as Philadelphia, Boston or Walt Disney World in Orlando, take a moment to fill out the Request a Quote form online. Or, email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.