An extra special trip to Big Bend for SAS 8th graders.

Before all the craziness that is our current reality, the Class of 2024 traveled out to Big Bend with 15 teachers and 12 parent-chaperones for 5 days and 4 nights of camping, hiking, and fun activities around the park. Almost every student and adult on the trip hiked a total of 24 miles over three days to beautiful spots in the national park. Highlights, according to the 8th graders, was lunch at the top of the South Rim hike, a 13 mile loop rated as the Best Hike in Texas, hiking to the Window overlook, and climbing boulders in Santa Elena Canyon. Another memorable moment for students & adults alike was the night hike to an overlook above the Rio Grande. In total darkness, students silently followed one another up a trail to an overlook. Once at the top, they spread out, laid on their backs, and stared at the bright stars in silence for 20-30 minutes. Once they got back to the campsite they reflected on the silent night hike. Quotes like "that was one of the most meaningful things I have ever done" or "that is the first time I have ever really seen the stars" were common, as were reflections about how insignificant all of us really are in our grand universe. 
This specific 8th grade class was one of the most helpful, fun, and positive groups Tim Moore, Middle School Dean of Students, has had the privilege of leading on a school trip. Whether it was picking up trash, refilling water jugs, or helping prepare food, the students were always asking the adults what they could do to help out around the campsite. It brought everyone closer together as a community, and given our current circumstances, this trip was particularly meaningful, creating a lasting memory for this group of students and colleagues.

An extra shoutout to seven students who really went above and beyond to make the trip better for all. These students were recognized at a recent virtual middle school community time with a small award to thank them for their positive and helpful attitudes: Rhys Carter, Jamie Kuper, Sam Marsh, Anna Wayne, John Henry McLean, Madeline Marks, and Alex Nield.