Avoyelles Charter class trip provides fun was to learn history, culture, sports lessons

The Avoyelles Public Charter School (APCS) usually offers a sophomore trip, which this year was pushed to the beginning of the class’ junior year. That’s how 40 students and four chaperones recently flew to Boston: destination everything.

Camille Coco of Marksville and Caroline Lacombe of Moreauville were two of the 40 who took the opportunity to soak in some new experiences.

Mansura to Boston is a feat in itself and a lesson in patience and endurance.

“There was a lot of waiting,” Camille said of the trip that included a bus ride to New Orleans then a flight with one stop in Charlotte, North Carolina before Boston.

Arriving in Boston early morning and beginning the day immediately took its toll, “I didn’t sleep and was
drained the entire time I was there,” Caroline admitted.

“The weather was beautiful,” Camille remarked, “the leaves were changing colors and there was a constant breeze.”

She especially remembered the trip to Fenway Park, famous home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team.

“We were able to tour the park, just the 40 of us,” Camille said. With, of course, a stop at the souvenir shop.

“We were going to a Red Sox game on Saturday, so we bought T-shirts to wear to the game,” Camille said.

Another highlight for Camille was a ghost tour of historical figures. “We were in a graveyard and they told ghost stories. It was scary,” she reacted with body language..

A trip to Salem and the back story on the infamous witch trials impressed both girls.

“We had just read The Crucible in class,” Caroline added, “you think the book isn’t real” but being in Salem gave the students a whole new perspective.

The Crucible is a play written by Arthur Miller that dramatized and fictionalized the Salem witch trials that took place in the Massachusetts Bay Colony during 1692-1693.

On Friday the group took a boat trip for some whale watching in Boston Harbor. “They were jumping,” Caroline recalled, “and we did see babies.”

The Blue Man Group was the Friday night destination. The performance art group is known for its stage performances that typically incorporate different categories of music and art, both popular and obscure.

The Blue Man performances can be very exuberant and blue paint can be splashed out towards the audience.

“We were in the front rows and given ponchos to wear,” Caroline said.

Taking the subway was another new experience for the students.

“I was talking to a local on the subway when I looked up and saw all my class -- outside! I froze because I thought I was going to be left.” Fortunately Caroline got off just in time. “I can laugh about it now,” she actually laughed.

Getting all dressed up the group attended a Boston Pops Orchestra performance. According to Caroline it was a “pretty cool experience but then I’m a musician.”

On Sunday they attended church then the Red Sox game and had seats on the Green Monster, the famous left field wall in Fenway, which is the smallest and oldest ball park in America.

One of the chaperones arranged for the group to run the bases after the game, which, of course. the kids did.

“They sing ‘Sweet Caroline’ at every game,” Caroline smiled, “and ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game.’”

Some more history was in order so Monday morning found the group at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

“Kennedy’s whole inaugural speech was there to see,” Caroline recalled.

Speaking of history, “We also walked the Freedom Trail” she remarked. The Freedom Trail is a path through downtown Boston that marks famous places in the early history of the city.

Camille and Caroline both agreed that “Boston was beautiful. We could hear their accent and they would tell us that we were from the south.”

Not only did the Bostonians notice the student’s accent but the whole group wore a specially designed sweatshirt. As Caroline said, “There were 40 of us, so people noticed.”

Perhaps the most impressive thing was the students were not allowed to have their cell phones.

Camille and Caroline both agreed it was not bad.

Camille said, “It allowed me to pay more attention and bond with the group.”

The food was a different situation. As for Caroline she admitted she did not try any local specialties. Camille had some definite opinions.

“I tried a Philly Cheese Steak and it wasn’t seasoned as well as food is here.” And she didn’t like the chicken tenders either for the same reason: no seasoning.

Back in Avoyelles with cell phone in one hand and Tony’s in the other, the girls could agree with Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. There’s no place like home.

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