North Charleston High School (NCHS) seniors were treated to the opportunity of a lifetime last month when they were taken on a school field trip to Washington, DC to visit the U.S. Capitol, African American Museum, Arlington Cemetery, along with other memorable sites. The trip was a culmination of fundraising efforts, staff donations, and a contribution from the North Charleston High School Booster Club.
What would have been an almost $600 trip was whittled down to just $125 per student. The cost included transportation provided by Kelly Tours, a three-night stay in Washington, all meals (including snacks), and tickets to all scheduled attractions. Chick-fil-A contributed by meeting the students at the first rest stop on the interstate to treat the students to a catered lunch on their way out of town.
Carolyn Southall is a business education teacher and the senior class sponsor. Part of her duties, she explained, is to make sure the graduating class has a unique experience that students would not ordinarily get in the classroom. “The population at North Charleston High is such that if it were not for the school and the contributions from the community, the kids would not have many opportunities,” said Southall. “All they know is the world in which they live which is often challenging and sometimes problematic. Not all fit that mold; however, a lot do.”
For many of the students, it was their first time leaving the state. According to Southall, their faces lit up when she told them they were officially out of South Carolina when they crossed the border into North Carolina. “This was not just a field trip,” said Southall. “It was an experience of a lifetime. I saw students come alive in a way I could have never imagined. All these kids know is their reality. What they learn in the classroom is great. However, the students need to experience new and exciting things outside of the school to help them better understand the world in which they live. We have to go above and beyond their scope of perception and show them what is out there.”
Southall said the students were more excited at first about being taken out of town than they were about the things they would be doing and seeing on the trip. “Students experienced a level of independence and an extended level of trust; and we had no problems,” said Southall.
“The students experienced a different type of interaction with the teacher/chaperones Chef Cindi Welsh, Mrs. Corey McBee, Coach Devan Smalls, and Mr. Adesanya Adebambo. They saw us as regular people enjoying ourselves while spending time with them in new and different learning environments. The tour guide and people around us were bragging on our students. The students acted appropriately and enjoyed themselves.”
Elijah King was one of the seniors who went on the trip. He described it as amazing. “To be able to see Washington was nice but the African American Museum was the best,” said King. “I am African American, and I learned a lot about my history that I didn’t know.
Rome Breland hasn’t left the state of South Carolina in years. According to Breland, “Not only was it memorable to travel somewhere but to learn about our country’s history, government structure and to tour the capital and the African Museum was incredible.”
Danaija Duncan joined her classmates in appreciating the African American Museum and its celebrations of the contributions that blacks made to America.
Meisha Coles previously lived in Delaware and has been to Washington before. She was not thrilled about returning but once around her friends, touring the famed African American Museum her mind was quickly changed. “We learned a lot about black history in a way that wasn’t watered down or buttered up,” she said.
According to student Evelynn Latimore, learning can be fun. “I was with my friends, making memories and bonding all while participating in educational opportunities,” said Latimore. She also stated, “I made acquaintances with people I wouldn’t normally befriend, and this was a great way to round out the last leg of the year.” To donate to the NCHS Booster Club, so future trips like this are possible, please send a check to North Charleston High School at 1087 E Montague Ave, North Charleston, SC 29405; earmarked for senior class fees and activities.
For more information about the trip contact Carolyn Southall at [email protected]