Exploration, service highlight fall-break trips

Over three dozen students participated in weeklong Academy-sponsored trips.

Adam Loyd
December 9, 2022
Students on a trip to Arizona

As the school year calendar turned from fall to winter term, dozens of students spent their Thanksgiving breaks scattered across the country for immersive experiences as part of Exeter’s Global Initiatives program. From Philadelphia to Maui, Phoenix and New Orleans, each location provided the perfect backdrop to explore a specific area of study and for hands-on-learning opportunities.

Students in Arizona spent time at a local refugee shelter as part of this community service-centric program. Supplementing the service work, students attended seminars about topics especially important in the region — immigration and sustainability. Highlights from the trip included a stop at the Heard Museum, "the world’s preeminent museum for the presentation, interpretation and advancement of American Indian art"; and a hike through the rugged dessert terrain. “The nature was different from anything else I have ever seen. We saw lots of different kinds of cacti, and other native and exotic plants that can only be found in Arizona,” said Laurie Chung ‘24.

In Philadelphia, the city with the highest incarceration rate of any large jurisdiction in the country, Exonians explored the structure and pitfalls of the American prison system. Throughout the week students learned about demographical disparities of the incarcerated and met with nonprofit organizations working to establish criminal justice and prison reform in Pennsylvania.

“It was inspiring to watch our students grapple with the idea of Justice in American,” said chaperone and Instructor in Physical Education Kerry McBrearty. “They were constantly confronted and in turmoil over two conflicting theories. One, the justice system is working as it is intended to work and needs advocates to in fact break the system and change it. Two, the justice system is broken and needs to be reformed.”

Student pose in Hawaii

Over 2,000 miles from the contiguous United States, eight students spent the week exploring the geography and biodiversity of the Hawaiian island of Maui. The group spent time hiking, snorkeling, visiting cultural sites and studying endangered plant and bird species.

“We all got to learn by talking with native Hawaiians who are fiercely proud of their heritage and wonderfully generous in sharing it with young people. The kindness and hospitality of Hawaiians of all races have made a deep and abiding impression on us,” said chaperone and Instructor in Science Townley Chisolm.

Synonymous with the American South and New Orleans, the roots of jazz and blues music can be traced back through past of slavery and segregation. Students traveled to the “Big Easy” to learn more about these alluring musical genres and their sordid pasts. Accompanied by Instructor in Music Marcus Rabb and Instructor in Modern Languages Diego Ardura, the students took in live performances and saw iconic sites like the National Civil Rights Museum.