Senior Class Trip


Grace Kennedy, Student Writer

Day 1 

Thursday, March 30th, 2023  (Shedd Aquarium, Ohio hotel) 

All of the packing and planning was finally worth it. Our trip had an early wake-up call. We were to be at the school at four am and leave by four thirty. Our first destination was Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. We got to the aquarium at about noon and spent a couple hours there. There were a lot of little kids running around and we got to watch a penguin show. After we all regrouped, we headed to Ohio for our first night. When we got to the hotel we had just a few hours before we went downstairs for a pizza party. We had an early curfew since we had to get up at four the next morning. What made it worse was the two-hour time change, so with our body’s time, it was a 2 A.M. wake-up call!


Day 2 

Friday, March 31st, 2023 (Appalachian Mountains; Flight 93 National Memorial; Gettysburg; Gettysburg Visitors Center & Cyclorama; Shriver House tour)

Today, we went through the Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania. The mountains were so beautiful since the sun was hitting them just right. Our first stop we had planned for today was Flight 93. We had historical presentations that we would watch on the bus so we had some background information to better understand the history. It was heart-wrenching to hear the recordings at the national memorial. You could go into the memorial building and you could also walk past where the plane crashed. There is a big rock placed exactly where the plane landed going over 500 mph when it crashed. After taking a minute looking at all who we lost, we then headed to the Gettysburg visitor center. There we watched a movie before looking around the museum at all the clothes and information. Lastly, we settled into our hotels, and a short time later walked down to the Shriver House. An old lady told us stories about what happened in the eyes of women who stayed home to take care of their homes. 


Day 3 

Saturday, April 1st, 2023 (Gettysburg Battlefield National Military Park; Battlefield National Cemetery Tour; Carriage House Inn; Steven F. Udvar- Hazy Aviation Center; U.S. Capitol; Thomas Jefferson; FDR; Martin Luther King Jr.; Korean; Lincoln Memorials)

Although it did rain, thankfully we stayed dry while taking a bus tour around the Battle of Gettysburg. We got out a couple times to see some of the historical artifacts up closer. At one of the stops, we walked up stairs for a better view  of the battlefield. It sure was a workout getting up there. After the amazing tour of Gettysburg, we then went to recognize the people who were lost at the National Cemetery. It was crazy the amount of people who were unknown. We were told to go over to one of the gravestones that speaks to us and recognize the person and read about them. So many lives were lost and age didn’t have anything to do with it. Many of the people who died weren’t much older or younger than those in our class. Around noon, we ate lunch at the Carriage House Inn. They had a buffet ready for us when we walked in. The menu was mac and cheese, ham, bread, potatoes, salad, and lemonade or tea. The place where we were sitting was so cool. After filling our tummies it was time to head over to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Aviation Center. It was so cool to see all the different styles of planes. Our tour guide gave us a list of all the planes we had to find and whoever could take the most creative pictures with the planes would win a piece of candy. It was a huge place, so it was going to take some time for people to find all the planes on the list. After taking those creative pictures, we headed to the Capitol, Thomas Jefferson, FDR, Martin Luther King Jr., Korean, and Lincoln Memorials. It was crazy to see them in person. I have always seen pictures of them on shows or social media but nothing could compare to seeing it in real life. As we were walking around all of the memorials, I swear the wind was blowing faster and faster by the minute. After fighting the wind and seeing so many unbelievable monuments we went to the hotel for the night.  


Day 4 

Sunday, April 2nd, 2023 (Mount Vernon; National Museum of the U.S. Army; Smithsonian National Museum of American History; Holocaust Museum; Pentagon Memorial) 

Today the weather was beautiful all day. From eight to ten a.m., we visited Mount Vernon. All the sights and buildings were so breathtaking. After we enjoyed being outside, we went into the little food court they had next to the gift shop. We enjoyed pizza, subs, and salads. It was now time to board the bus again to head to the National Museum of the U.S. Army. It took us about an hour to get there and once we stepped in there was so much to look at. There were newspapers, statues, plaques, movies, vehicles, and even a puzzle to help you learn about the army. The next time we boarded the bus was to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Holocaust Museum, and Pentagon Memorial. Nothing could prepare us for the heart-wrenching stories and videos we were about to see. I’ve never been in a building where nobody talked. The thing that hit me most was the piles of shoes; it was unbelievable. Right across the street was the other museum we were directed to go see. It was really cool; we got to see the first women’s dresses and more history. Supper time was coming up and we ended up not having to drive anywhere because it was cherry blossom festival so there were food trucks parked all along the streets. The food, drinks and snacks were spendy but definitely worth it. After enjoying the weather all day it was finally ready to get some rest and prepared for more adventures tomorrow. 


Day 5 

Monday, April 3rd, 2023 (U.S. Naval Academy; Lincoln Memorial; Vietnam Wall; World War II Memorial; Elephant & Castle restaurant; Theater Performance at Ford’s Theater: “Shout Sister Shout”) 

We started off the day at the Naval Academy. It was really cool—we got a tour of the whole campus. We gathered so much information, but something that stuck with us was that in order to get into the school you had to be able to do 60 push-ups and run two miles in under ten minutes. We were all very impressed with the Naval Academy. Next, we went to the Lincoln Memorial.  We got to relax and look at the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. As one of our classmates, Nate Storlie, put it, “It’s the tower that was in Spider-man.” It was then time to get all dressed up for our dinner and the performance at Ford’s Theater: “Shout Sister Shout”  We ate at Elephant & Castle where we had the choice between fish, hamburgers, or chips with some type of salsa. After enjoying our meal we got a surprise cheesecake before we went to the performance. We walked down to the theater and awaited for what was going to be an amazing performance. I got goosebumps from how magnificent the signers were.


Day 6 

Tuesday,  April 4th, 2023 (Arlington National Cemetery; Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; Wreath-laying Ceremony, Smithsonian Museums; White House; dinner and dance cruise on the Potomac River) 

We started off today at Arlington National Cemetery. We walked through the road leading up to where they were switching the guards. We got to watch them switch the guards and then we hung our Fillmore Central wreath. After honoring the different schools, we went and talked about the experience that our president, vice president, treasurer and secretary got to do. They all thought that it was really cool and they felt honored.  The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was another really cool thing we got to see. We then went to the first every stone at Arlington, and we saw President Kennedy’s stone. After we went through the cemetery we then went to the White House to take our picture. After we got our senior class picture we went back to our hotel room and got all dressed up for our dinner cruise and dance on the Potomac River. It was a really cool experience and a beautiful night. The food was amazing; it consisted of macaroni and cheese, green beans, chicken, and dessert. Don’t worry, Fillmore hit the floor hard. 


Day 7

Wednesday, April 5th, 2023 (Times Square; Rockefeller Center; Off-Broadway Show: “The Play That Goes Wrong”; Lights on Broadway) 

Today we spent a lot of time in the Rockefeller Center. “The tippy top of Rockefeller was such a sight to see. Seeing New York from an aerial view was something I’ve always seen in movies, but nice to actually witness in real life. New York and the whole trip was, as a whole, definitely worth all the concession nights,” quoted Kaylee Whitehill. Or how Aaron Hutton out it, “It was a great opportunity to experience new things.” We were able to go out on our own and explore the city a bit more. The first place my group went to was a crystal shop, which was really unique. We went shopping and food hunting for the rest of our time. Later that night, we got back with our class and went to “The Play That Goes Wrong”. It was a really funny skit and the whole class thought it was hilarious.  To quote Blake Bahl, “It was super funny and my favorite characters were Perkins and Trevor.” After a hard laugh, we got to relax on the way back to the hotel by looking at the lights of Broadway. 


Day 8

Thursday, April 6th, 2023 (Ellis Island; Statue of Liberty; Battery Park; Wall Street; 9/11 Memorial and Museum; Gale’s Broadway Rose; Broadway Performance: “ Wicked”) 

Today was a very busy day! We started on day on a ferry to Ellis Island. Once we got there we got to explore Lady Liberty. We went up the feet of Lady Liberty, and it seemed like 50 flights of stairs we had to walk. Once we got up there, there wasn’t a person up there without their camera out. It was so beautiful. It was a little foggy in the distance, but you were just able to see all the buildings. We spent the next few hours at the Battle Park, Wall Street, 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Seeing all of these things was very captivating and interesting. “The 9/11 museum really hits you right when you walk in. Before you really couldn’t put yourself in people’s shoes but when you walk in it feels like you can feel how they felt.” quoted Ty Sexton.  It was getting closer to supper time and we headed over to Gale’s Broadway Rose. This was by far my favorite restaurant. The waiters and waitresses were all signers, and they would sing different songs in rotation. I had goosebumps the whole time. The food there was amazing and I got seated at the bar so I was able to watch the bartender make drinks. I loved everything about this restaurant. Next, we headed to Broadway for the play “Wicked.” The set was absolutely extraordinary and breathtaking. I had no words to describe it, so let’s check what Emma Illg had to say: “ I would describe it as a magnificent play that I watched and I was especially surprised to see how well the wicked witch of the west portrayed that character because she was an industry and the performance did not disappoint. The Broadway show more than exceeded my expectations.”


Day 9

Friday, April 7th, 2023 (Manhattan Walking Tour; Top of the Rock; Chinatown)

Today was a very fun and chill day. It was our last day in New York. We started off in the morning on a tour of Manhattan City Park. We were told that it’s a very popular place for people and their dogs–man were they are right. We went to the fountain,  famously known from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. It was so much more than when you think of a park in rural Minnesota. It was really cool to walk around such a famous park. After walking the park we were given about an hour and fifteen minutes before we had to meet again and she would release us for lunch. On our way to meet our tour guide again, she had told us to be on the lookout for a bull that people stand in line to touch a certain *private* part  for good luck. We didn’t have time to stand in line. Soon we met up with our tour guide and she handed us our Top of the Rock tickets. The lines were crazy getting in but even worse getting out. It was a really busy place with a lot of moving people. For me, the view at the top was indescribable. As Nate Storlie out it, it was “windy, nice view of Central Park.” My group didn’t spend a whole lot of time up there because we wanted to give ourselves enough time to go to Chinatown. We headed to the subway with our tickets and boarded right as we got there. It was about five stops before we got off and were finally in Chinatown. We had been waiting for so many days to go explore it. It was amazing the difference between Manhattan and there. Just a couple subway stops later a whole new place. We were dedicated to first finding a boba place. After using our Google maps to help us find boba, we used it to help us find a good place to eat. We ended up going to a Chinese restaurant. Right as we walked in there were meats hanging, and it smelled magnificent there. We got seated with another couple and were brought some warm tea and menus. It was crazy the portions you got for the price. New York is a very expensive place, but not so much in Chinatown.  It was finally time to head back to Manhattan, and as we were heading back Mr. Pederson caught a glimpse of a bonsai tree. “I really enjoyed being in a city within a city; it felt like a whole new place. I am proud of myself for keeping the bonsai tree alive that I purchased there, ” he stated. After Mr. Pederson purchased his tree, we were finally on our way to the subway to get back with the rest of our group. We made it back with time to spare, so we roamed a couple more stores before it was time for us to say goodbye to NYC. Subways: As Maddy Bergey put it, “It was an exhilarating and enjoyable experience!” Meanwhile, Adrik spent his time at the MET and said, “A pleasing experience to endure to sight of marveled artworks.”


Day 10 

Saturday, April 8th, 2023 (Departed for home after breakfast; stops for food and bathrooms breaks) 

Today was our last day out on the road traveling. We got to sleep in a little bit before we left at eight. We had a long trip home with it being 11 hours back to Harmony.  We stopped for a bathroom break at about ten, and for lunch break at noon. Most of the trip home, our tour guide let us sleep and listen to music. When we started getting closer to home, Mensink gave a speech about how well we did, and to keep continuing to push it because it’s not over yet. We finally arrived in Harmony and nothing could compare to when we got off and hugged our loved ones. All in all, this was an adventure of a lifetime, and I 100% recommend doing concessions and raffle tickets to help yourself to experience this amazing opportunity that you are given. 


 “My favorite place was Gettysberg because we got katanas.” – Gunner Benson