Students Continue to Bond in Advisory Despite Field Trip Postponing

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Photo Courtesy of Mateo Membreno

Mrs. Bowden’s 6th grade advisory dances during one of their activities. Ever since the field trips were cancelled due to Covid-19, advisories have been engaging in team building activities to help create friendships between new students.

Julian Sealy, STAFF WRITER

   Every Trinity student could probably recall the large pool and late night movie at Camp Kulaqua and the fun adventures into the woods at Pathfinders as great memories. These memories on field trips are building blocks for students to start off a new school year. Due to COVID-19, those field trips have been postponed, but advisory has helped students get to know each other like they would on the field trips. 

   The 6th grade usually travels to a retreat at Ebenezer outside of Savannah, Georgia, but this year, the 6th-grade team has been forced to mix things up. Instead of going to Ebenezer in Georgia, they will go to Circle K Ranch between Lakeland and Kissimmee, according to Middle School Principal Jason Dowdy.

   Sixth Grade Team Leader Andrea Sockwell said that despite the changes, the school wants to prioritize having a field trip for the sixth grade.

   “It’s a great way for them to get to know each other, to know their teachers outside of the classroom and there’s no sort of academic work,” Sockwell said. “It’s all about team bonding.” 

   Sockwell said that Circle K Ranch features many fun team building activities for students such as water obstacle courses and challenges that require students to work together to help students become better friends.

   Every year, the seventh grade attends a retreat near Bradenton called Pathfinder. Seventh Grade Team Leader Stefani Wood explained how Pathfinder is key for both returning and new seventh graders to bond with each other and create friendships that will last for years at Trinity. 

   “I think that by having our initial field trips it’s a really unique and fun way to build a community amongst a grade level,” Wood said. “[It] creates a sense of community and bonding that I think has always been unique to our school. Without the field trip, we definitely have to work harder as teachers and as a community to bring students together.”

   Wood also said she thinks teachers are finding unique and creative ways to bring in-person and remote students together through activities related to the subjects they teach. 

   Eighth Grade Team Leader Georgia Parker explained how the trip up to Camp Kulaqua in High Springs helps students bond and make connections with their new advisories. 

   “They operate in advisory groups, while they are there and we’re just doing that [some of the Camp Kulaqua activities] through advisory instead of doing that through Camp Kulaqua,” Parker said.

   Middle School Principal Jason Dowdy discussed some of the rescheduled times for seventh and eighth-grade field trips.

   “We like to have those [field trips] at the start of the year, but they haven’t always been there,” Dowdy said. “Right now they are scheduled for mid-year and we are hoping that that can still happen,”

   Guidance Counselor Rylan Smith has led efforts to help middle school students get to know each other better through advisory.

   “We have been doing several get to know you discussions/activities to help the advisories bond,” Smith said. “These include things like Bingo, two truths and a lie, creating virtual lockers, would you rather, table topics, etc.”

   Freshman Rahul Sivakumaran mentioned how important field trips are for new and returning students. 

   “I think field trips are special especially for new students because it’s an opportunity for us to bond together,” Sivakumaran said. “Because we don’t really get a chance to meet the new students until class starts and that’s not a great way to get to know your peers. So, I think that field trips provide a way to just get to know each other,”

   At the beginning of every school year, freshman students attend High Rocks. Ninth Grade Team Leader Sarah Hill discussed some of the disadvantages of not having High Rocks at the beginning of the freshman year.

   “I do think that it affects the students because on those field trips, they’re kind of forced to work with each other and there’s a lot of group work,” Hill said. “Especially with the new students that are coming to Trinity, those field trips are a great way for them to be introduced to students at Trinity and start building friendships.”      

   Upper School Principal Patrick Mulloy said that High Rocks is one of the crucial parts of the freshman year.

   “Even if you aren’t new to Trinity and you’ve been here since sixth grade, it’s a way for your entire freshman class to begin the upper school journey,” Mulloy said.