Tag: class of 2026
We were up early on Day 2, thanks to the Central Time Zone! After breakfast the girls headed to the beach at a State Park. Mr. Clark led us on a hike through the park. We saw the usual suspects of Florida wildlife here—gators, cranes, pelicans, turtles… but then it got interesting! Mr. Clark turned over a rotted log and discovered a broad-headed skink! Before we knew it he had caught that skink with his bare hands and was showing it to us all. What is a skink you might wonder? Its not a typo for skunk. A skink is a reptile in the lizard family. This one was about 8 inches long and 1 inch wide. See picture below! This is rare find in these parts and we were excited to see it!
We went for a long walk around the peninsula beach and enjoyed the beautiful emerald water and white sand of this region where sea cucumbers and sand crabs abound. And at the end of our walk, it was finally time to swim!
On our way home we stopped for an extra special surprise treat—Ice Cream, curtesy of a generous, anonymous donor. Thank you! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this delicious snack after a long day on the beach!
While the girls strolled along the beach, the boys went on a 7 mile hike. Here is how the boys described the hike: Long. Hot. Your legs are sore. Painful. A bunch of steep hills. Steep. Hot. Exhausting. I’d do it again.
Mrs. O’Driscoll led our evening discussion, continuing our theme of change. Some change we can control, and some we cannot. We are image-bearers of God, with gifts to share, but we are imperfect. God loves you in the midst of change—even on your worst day. He knows all your thoughts. You are not the same person today that you were last year, and you are not the same person you will be next year.
We finished off Day 2 with a game of “Murder” (Like “Wink” or “Mafia”) and popcorn…. And a good time was had by all.
by Amy Heidmann, parent blogger
“I have found out there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” – Mark Twain
There is no way to adequately communicate how proud you would be of these students and the way they have pushed themselves through very early mornings like today. The bags were packed, meals eaten, and buses departed by 7am. There was noticeable excitement on the bus to get home and see parents, pets, and even a few siblings.
The teachers, administrators, and chaperones made a collective decision that arriving at 11:30pm was not going to cut it so the trip blogger got promoted to travel Nazi, and we came up with a plan to shed some travel time. Phase one of the plan was to create a competition between the boys and girls to see who could finish their Cracker Barrel lunch first. The lunch orders were out of the children’s mouths before the waitresses had finished the welcome, people were paying and using the bathrooms while the food was still being prepared, and the boys were running back on the bus in 54 minutes and 48 seconds. George Washington would have been proud. The girls made a valiant effort, but finished up about 13 minutes later. We are now 35 minutes ahead of schedule.
Phase two: our scheduled ‘recess’ stop was turned into a quick restroom break and just enough running around to allow the girls to catch up. We are now 50 minutes ahead of schedule and there is not a more important number on the bus than our GPS ETA.
Our bus drivers are fully behind our cause at this point pushing the buses to the limit of their governors and quickly making course corrections around accidents utilizing country roads as necessary. This is probably a good time to talk about the legend that is Terry. Terry is the boys’ bus driver who has won the hearts of everyone on the trip. Terry, a very large former football player and corrections officer who seamlessly blends teddy bear and Incredible Hulk, loved these kids, giving each student a high five every time they loaded and unloaded from the bus. Only Ms. Sherrick was able to squelch chants like “Terry! Terry! Terry!,” “Terry 2020!,” “What’s your favorite food? Terry-aki!” or, my personal favorite, “What’s the best dinosaur? A Terry-dactyl!” It is truly astounding how much you can do with the name Terry.
Somewhere in the deceivingly large state of South Carolina, the students and chaperones all participated in the 15th annual Geneva’s Got Talent, brought to us by ‘Terry-ble Productions.’ We saw magic tricks, comedy routines (thank you Pax), skits, juggling, commercials, music and a grand finale by the Renfrow, Dietel, and Davis trio singing “Sweet Williamsburg.”
The girls took advantage of their newer and faster (and better smelling) bus and pulled ahead, but that was time easily made up at the next Cracker Barrel…or so we thought. We made record time at dinner thanks in no small part to the chaperones who ordered a to-go box to arrive with their meal, but just as they were getting their first bites in the parking lot, we realized we had no bus drivers. The drivers for the last leg were an hour and a half late and all our progress is wiped away. This must be how Cornwallis felt at Yorktown.
Again, I just can’t say enough about the resilience of both the kids and chaperones as we watch the ETA creep back up toward 11pm. Somewhere around north Georgia the bus bathrooms were opened, cruise controls set, and these busses were not stopping until we see The Geneva School.
In all, this was a tremendous trip where we learned the history of our country, deepened our friendships, and grew in our gratitude to God. The students are already looking ahead to the 6th grade trip to Washington DC, that is, if Jesus Terrys.
by Jim Davis, parent blogger
But by the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me. – George Washington
Washington was never born to be killed by a bullet! I had seventeen fair fires at him with my rifle and after all could not bring him to the ground – A Native American fighting Washington in the French and Indian War
Our last day in Williamsburg started off a bit slower and (sigh) baconless. I guess the hotel learned their lesson. We bussed over to Yorktown where we learned the French really can fight! They still had a sour taste in their mouths after losing most of their New World claims in the French and Indian War, so they supported the cause of American independence and, in so doing, insured that they would not be speaking German in the 21st century. The French may have waited until momentum was on the side of the colonialists to commit soldiers, but for most of the war they supplied the Continental Army with everything from munitions to uniforms.
Yorktown was the battle that truly secured our freedom and put an end to the war, so we were thrilled to be able to tour this site with the insight of a Park Ranger who held every student’s attention. She told us how Washington made the British think he was going to attack New York and then, in the heat of summer, marched his men 450 miles south in less than six weeks to surprise General Cornwallis who was now blocked by Washington on land and the French navy by sea. It was clear to the students that to lead an army, you not only have to be brave, wise and hardworking, but excel in math, science and history as well.
After touring the battle site, we went to the Yorktown Victory Center to see what life on and off the battle field would have looked like. Life as a family in the colonies will shame the hardest working among us. Only the coldest parts of the year, when everyone is snowed into a one or two room house for weeks on end, would there be any rest. We watched as historians dressing the parts walked us through planting farms, making dinner, patching clothes and more. Some of our boys took a special interest in hauling water to do laundry so don’t be afraid to show them the washing machine when they come home.
When war broke out, though, families had some hard decisions to make. Does the husband go fight? If so, for which side? Do the wife and children remain at home or join the husband at camp? Park historians showed us what the life of a soldier would have demanded. The camp was cramped and smelly, the food was meager and more soldiers died from disease than gunshots. The students were shown their tight quarters (6 to a small tent), where food was prepared, how the injured were tended to, how troop movements were organized and even how secret codes were sent between troops.
One soldier demonstrated how a real musket fires and the origin of the phrase ‘half-cocked.’ We learned that rifles had been in use for some time by the outbreak of the war, but muskets were chosen for our armies because, despite being much less accurate, they could reload in a fraction of the time and send out three times as much lead. The kids had fun trying to shoulder this musket, but proved the British would have been in no danger:)
We talked about how hard it is to imagine a war in our own backyard raging twice as long as American involvement in WWII, the cost paid on all sides of the Atlantic or Americans, French, Native Americans and Africans all storming Yorktown armed side by side. But even more astounding are all the very little things God alone can control that came together to insure an American victory. The storm that protected Washington in Boston. The fog that protected Washington’s retreat in Long Island. The storm that prevented General Cornwallis from retreating at Yorktown. The bullets that simply could not hit Washington. As you retrace the steps of the American Revolution, you can’t kick the feeling that God wanted this country to form.
The kids spent the end of the day back in Colonial Williamsburg seeing some more of the old town, getting muddy in the brick making building and spending whatever money they had left on trinkets they won’t care anything about in a week. But, we did create great memories!
by Jim Davis, parent blogger
1. a trip made by students or research workers to study something first hand.
No time wasted on this trip! We ‘slept in’ until 6:45 and then down to breakfast in the hotel. Today is our visit to historic Jamestown. Jamestown is the oldest permanent English settlement in the New World preceded only by the English ‘lost colony’ at Roanoke and, of course, the Spanish settlements including St. Augustine.
Thanks to the expert knowledge of the National Park Service, we quickly learned that life on the settlement was more difficult than Disney’s Pocahontas movie would have you believe. This settlement was owned and established by the Virginia Company of England in 1607 for the sole purpose of finding gold and making a profit. The Virginia Company might have done well to ask themselves why it is that neither the Spanish (who had been in the New World now for over a century) nor the Native Americans had any interest in this location. Could it be that the Jamestown settlement contained no gold or fresh drinking water and was surrounded by inhospitable natives?
After losing about 80% of the settlers to starvation and Indians, resorting to cannibalism and unsuccessfully trying to sail back to England, the settlement was finally saved by the introduction of tobacco which could be grown in the fertile soil of Virginia and sold back in London. A far cry from gold, but the snuff came through. Women were then introduced to the settlement after 15 years (now John Rolfe’s marriage to Pocahontas is coming into focus:) and the road was paved for this single settlement to become 13 original colonies.
We then toured a live archeological site that is literally changing history. The archeologist showed us a Spanish gold ring mounted with a large gem they just uncovered from about 1600 along with a some Spanish beads from about 1550. So, how did jewelry from the enemy make its way into a British settlement? The running theory is that the Spaniards in St. Augustine traded these items with Native Americans and these items worked their way through the Native American trading routes ultimately finding their way to Jamestown. It was clear to all the students that they would need every subject in school to participate in digs like this.
Who knew glass could be so interesting? We watched a live reenactment of a typical 1600’s glass blowing. The clay oven had to be 2400 degrees Fahrenheit which required such huge quantities of wood that the settlers could only make glass about four days each month. So, what did the settlers make? Everything from vases to glasses designed specifically for tavern drinking games.
In Jamestown, three very different peoples from opposite ends of the Atlantic collided. The Native American Powhatton tribe (Pocahontas’ people), the West African slaves and the British settlers comprised a tense cultural triad that is on display in an exact replica of both the settlement and Powhatton village complete with live actors describing life here in the early 1600’s.
How does 140 days crammed into quarters not much larger than a couple classrooms sound? That is a picture of the voyage to the New World. It could have been faster, but the British did not know a direct way to Jamestown so they had to follow the well established Spanish routes which took them down to Africa, over to the southern Caribbean islands and then north to the Virginia settlement. We boarded a perfect replica of these ships docked in the harbor and learned about life on the sea from live sailors. All of your children should return home with a new appreciation for their bedrooms.
The day ended with a devotion in Psalm 32 and Psalm 18. Life as a settler was precarious to say the least. The Bible tells us, “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Our hope is that after today the students can see this verse through a different set of eyes.
by Jim Davis, parent blogger
Are we there yet? Why don’t they turn on those TVs? How are we still in South Carolina? Can we watch the NBA playoffs where we are going? Is there Wifi on this bus? Did someone use the bus toilet? Was I supposed to bring a toothbrush?
In just about the time it would have taken us to fly to Tokyo, our bus caravan made it through five states to Williamsburg, VA. We battled device withdrawal, car sickness and Avengers: End Game spoilers, but we are here. A huge thanks to our teachers and administrator, Leslie Sherrick, Sarah Davenport and Keira Raesly, for all they did to get us here!
Our day started early at TGS. We divided into our chaperone groups, usually consisting of four students to one chaperone, and loaded up before sunrise. The first stretch was quiet as most students went back to sleep, but everyone was wide awake for our first break at the Georgia Welcome Center where we stretched our legs and took a group photo. Someone really needs to call their state congressman and tell them Floridians want to be welcomed with coffee!
This trip is all about cultural learning so we ate lunch at Savannah’s finest Cracker Barrel where the walls are littered with old items like radios, telephones, typewriters and stop lights. We quickly felt old when we realized that many of the children had no idea what those items were! Each child is given cash for the day and taught to budget two meals and factor in tax and tips. We soon saw who the spenders and savers were! The chaperones put their dialectic skills to the test as they worked to convince the children that 15 cents is not an appropriate tip for an $8 meal.
South Carolina seemed like it would never end, and road construction didn’t help any, but the kids were great occupying themselves with card games, books, and stories. We stopped at a rest area and brought out the frisbees, footballs, and soccer balls to work out some energy inside a well established parental perimeter. Then, back in the bus for some more South Carolina. I don’t think the Pacific Ocean made Louis and Clark happier than the North Carolina state line made these buses.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, so we ate at another Cracker Barrel in North Carolina and we all observed how the accents have noticeably changed. Many of the boys ate quickly so they could maximize their checkers time before getting back on the road. The staff of both Cracker Barrels commented on what a well behaved and well mannered group we have. We were proud leaders, but you should be even more proud parents.
Once on the bus, the children worked on a devotional and then….finally…. got to watch a movie as we left North Carolina for the basketball country of Virginia:) We arrived at our hotel and managed to get most of the teeth brushed before bed.
As we ‘road school’ this week, our hope is that we would be travelers instead of mere tourists. Maybe even time travelers. Would you please join us in praying that we wouldn’t just learn history, but meet it.
by Jim Davis, parent blogger