Townsend Harris High School’s Class of 2019 recently returned from the annual three-day senior trip to Honor’s Haven Resort & Spa in Ellenville, NY.
After a morning of classes on Friday, January 11, a total of 151 students and 12 chaperones piled into three coach tour buses that took them to the trip destination.
Seniors were presented with countless options for how they could spend the weekend upon arriving at the resort, ranging from winter sports such as snowboarding and skiing to classic games like scavenger hunt and Bingo. Students were able to participate in karaoke and dancing. Many amenities were available as well, such as a swimming pool, an exercise room, billiards boards, and video game consoles. Meals were served buffet-style in the main dining room, and snacks were available throughout the trip. There was also a campfire on Saturday night where students gathered to make s’mores and hear stories.
Senior Savion Teerath participated in numerous activities, such as basketball, hiking, laser tag, paintballing, and swimming. Likewise, senior Julia Grygorczuk took part in hiking, ping pong, roller skating, swimming, and the winter carnival.
One popular event seemed to be the nature hike, which senior Katelyn Chang described as her favorite activity. “I really liked [it] because you never get the chance to actually climb rocky terrain up a waterfall when you live in the city,” she explained. Senior Kaitlyn Wu appreciated the beauty of nature as well, listing “sunset and sunrise” as highlights of the trip. Even just “staying up all night with roommates,” as senior Jessica Wang did, brought joy to the tight-knit class as they spent quality time together.
Some seniors commented on the pricing of the trip. Senior Grace Chang acknowledged that the trip “was really fun, but I genuinely don’t know where our money went to.” Katelyn added, “Some of the activities weren’t that great, but if you made use of all the activities like roller skating, the hike, and the pool, it would be worth it. Overall, it was worth it because I got to spend time with my friends for a couple days.”
Senior advisor Maria Assante worked hard behind the scenes to plan and organize this trip. “Money had to be collected, trip packets had to be distributed and [other] items from [the students had to be] collected, [which] included THHS permission slips, rules and regulations slips, waivers or permission slips for paintball and skiing, information about what to pack, information about the hotel itself and what there is to do, etc.” Ms. Assante disclosed. “Students also had to decide whom they’d like to room with and then they needed to be organized onto buses.” Additionally, she conferred with the nurse to sort out medical issues students had, such as allergies and medications, and accommodated special dietary requests.
Chaperones were also vital in allowing the trip to run smoothly. “Chaperones were working the entire weekend, from when we left on Friday at 1:00 PM to when we got home on Sunday at 4:00 PM; they only had seven hours for sleep on Friday and Saturday night,” Ms. Assante stated. They were tasked with supervising the students and made sure each student checked in with them three times a day to ensure their safety.
There were challenges that came with organizing this trip, such as submitting the necessary paperwork and payments on time and finding enough chaperones as per regulations from the Department of Education (DOE). Ms. Assante remarked that a few seniors played an “instrumental” role in the preparation process by alphabetizing paperwork, informing other students about the trip via social media, and so on. She expressed, “To them, I give a big thank you.”
All of these efforts ultimately paid off, as the seniors made unforgettable memories during their time away. “Overall, it was a nice experience for me to spend time with all of my friends together relaxing and having fun instead of just studying together,” said Savion. “There were so many activities to do that we didn’t even have time to sleep; that’s how busy we were.”
Kaitlyn agreed with this sentiment, saying, “I loved getting to spend time with friends outside of school, especially to try activities we’ve never tried before.”
Many seniors recommended attending the trip to underclassmen.“Just go,” said Jessica. “Even if you think it’s a little too expensive, go for the experience and for the memories you’ll make. It’s gonna be your last year, so just make it count,” she advised. Katelyn added, “It’s more about spending time doing activities you wouldn’t usually be doing with your close high school friends and having fun with that.”
“Honestly, if you can afford it, why not?” said Grace. “It’s a great part of the high school experience.”