The 9th-grade trip was redesigned in 2013 and gives students opportunities to expand their learning skills and master life and leadership skills. Last year, due to COVID, this tradition had to be discontinued, but thankfully, this year students took a two-day break from being in their classrooms as a grade and together and made new memories once again.
The first Beyond the Classroom experience was in 2011 when the 9th-grade trip was still organized by Peter Hayes at Coral Pink Sand Dunes. The class trip was apparently amazing, but Dorthy Herrington described that the trip “started to outgrow the site, environmentally and physically. Teachers shopped for and made all the meals, and it became a huge task.” In 2013, Peter retired, so Dorothy Herrington and Rob Wilson took over the role of organizing the Beyond the Classroom trip.
Dorothy worked for Rowland Hall as a history teacher with Mr. Wilson as a biology teacher. Together, they put their teaching skills to work and found an extraordinary contact with nature. Because of the disadvantages the Coral Pink Sand Dunes presented to students and teachers, Dorothy found a new camp to visit, which was Camp Roger.
The goal of the trip was to “spend time in the natural environment and at the end of the day, to have learned about the forests that shaped the environment and how that process worked.” Rob and Dorothy believed in place-based teaching, which “helps students learn about the environment around them and the physical, historical history behind it,” Mr. Wilson clarified. Camp Roger offered the perfect chance for teachers and students to be outside as much as possible and learn how to observe nature. “Camp Roger was perfect because we had indoor spaces to eat and sleep in,” Dorothy noted. The Beyond the Classroom trip was not only significant for students but also for teachers because, as Mr. Wilson described, “one cannot have education without a relationship,” and so the overnight participation at Camp Roger helped and encouraged our Rowland Hall community to develop relationships that could continue and grow throughout the school years.
This year, the freshmen spent almost three full days at Camp Roger, where they participated in a variety of mountain activities that challenged them to develop skills to master life and leadership skills to build their confidence. Overall, there were five activities that occurred: hiking mountain trails, wading through beaver ponds and creeks, fishing, watercoloring, and playing sports in an open field. Each activity was led by one or two teachers, and all easily succeeded. Unfortunately, this year, the freshmen were not able to stay the night at Camp Roger because the delta variant spread so quickly that it was safer to go home after the day camp. The teacher supervisors who went to Camp Roger wanted to protect the students at all costs and not risk them possibly getting any sickness or disease.