Last night at a very late hour (2 am) myself and nineteen sixth graders and four chaperones returned from a sixth grade class trip. We weren’t planning on returning this late, but some last minute changes due to weather prompted the late return. I feel like I have heard many stories over the past week of last minute changes to plans due to weather. Originally we weren’t expected home until this evening, but the threat of freezing rain, sleet, and wintry mix prompted the early return.
For the past several years, my school has taken the sixth graders on an overnight trip to Fredericksburg to visit the Nimitz museum where students can learn more about the war in the Pacific. Students learn about the various battles fought in the Pacific, and also see firsthand some the planes, tanks, and boats used in these battles. In addition to the museum, the students stay at a ranch in the hill country where they enjoy the beauty of the region, and also have time to build relationships with their classmates. It is a fun trip for the students.
I have lived in other places where the weather can change quickly, but none of those places compare to Texas. I have personally witnessed a temperature change of forty degrees in less than an hour since living here. Yesterday dawned sunny and clear. It was cold and windy, but by the time we arrived at our first destination, the temperatures had warmed considerably. We took the students to Enchanted Rock which is a large granite rock in the middle of nowhere, and the students had the opportunity to climb to the top. The views from the top were quite remarkable. Afterwards we drove to the museum.
We knew going into the trip that the weather could be iffy on Wednesday, but as the day progressed and the predicted weather reports continued to look questionable our team of chaperones began to feel more unease about driving back to Waco on Wednesday—especially with nineteen sixth graders! And so at 9 pm last night we decided to err on the side of caution and head home. For the students, there was the excitement of more car time with their friends. For the adult drivers, there was the calculating of how many Starbucks were along the way for the necessary caffeine.
We made it home safely with the girls staying at one family’s home, and the boys staying at another family’s home. I crawled into bed tired and grateful to be home. While these trips generally require extra work and include a fair amount of exhaustion on those overseeing the trip, I was reminded again how important they are to the students. My students were so excited about going on this trip. Many good memories were made in our nineteen hour adventure. The stories that will be told about this trip during this next week of school, and the pictures looked at over and over will all overshadow the tiredness and stress of planning and chaperoning a class trip. Now, if I could only have some of the energy of my students!