They came from as far north as Canada and as far south as Chile. Travelers arrived by plane, car, train, and even bus. In April, during GWUOHS’ spring break, 24 juniors and seniors, along with three staff chaperones, took over Orlando for the week. Students who had only met each other in live class sessions or chatted on Skype were introduced at the airport or the hotel lobby. It took all of five minutes for many to connect and find lots in common.
During the week, the group spent their days at Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Universal’s Volcano Bay water theme parks. Students and chaperones tried Butterbeer in Hogsmeade at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and took a 70-mph ride with an 80-degree plunge on the Jurassic World VelociCoaster. The group enjoyed dinners together each night and rounded out the week with an evening at Main Event where the group finished the night with a ginormous game of laser tag.
While the activity was non-stop, the students found time for games of Uno (there were rumors of cheating) and hanging out at the pool. By week’s end, it looked and felt as if the students had known each other since middle school – maybe even 4th grade. Perhaps this was the best part of the trip for these students who live in so many different places: creating friendships that will continue via text, Snapchat, IG, Skype, live class sessions, and quite possibly, in-person somewhere, soon. Or, as many hope on another trip or event with their school peers.
Overall, the junk food was plentiful, the coasters were thrilling, and the water slides were worth the long wait in lines. But the best part of the GWUOHS 2022 Junior-Senior trip was the opportunity to meet, spend time in person and finally learn everyone’s actual height.