Harrisites speak on the loss of grade trips

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Amidst these unprecedented times, grade trips are yet another one of the countless school events absent from students’ activities. From their favorite grade trip memories to their most anticipated trip events, The Classic interviewed students to share their thoughts and experiences.

Many students reminisced on the memories of past trips, expressing their disappointment that grade trips are no longer a feasible option for students to interact this year. Senior Xu Dong said, “I was really anticipating the senior ski trip as I think it would have been a really great experience to hang out with friends, enjoy some skiing, and de-stress. It would have been very serene.”

Senior Hali Huang echoed the sentiment. He said, “I was looking forward to the senior trip, along with the many other perks that come with being a senior. The senior ski trip would have been a great way to bond with friends and create lasting memories.” 

Similarly, freshman Varuna Seecharan said he believes that grade trips are a crucial part of the student bonding experience. He said, “The freshmen need more opportunities to meet their fellow freshmen because it’s hard to get in contact with each other because of virtual class.” He added that a virtual grade trip would provide a great opportunity for him to connect with peers.

Sophomore Gary Yang recalled his freshman grade trip. He said, “It was one of the first times I hung out with friends and had time to just speak to them without it being about schoolwork which was relaxing and a memory I hold close to my heart.” Junior Wendy Chen added that grade trips generally “happen only once a year. And [she] treasures those memorable moments that [she] got to spend with friends.” Sophomore Sean Zhou agreed, believing that grade trips provide them the opportunity to reconnect with friends. He said, “grade trips are important because they are a mental break for the students.” 

Although in-person grade trips are out of the question amid the current circumstances, some contemplate the possibility of a virtual alternative. Assistant Principal of Organization, Health, and Physical Education, Ellen Fee said that the administration is “up for creative and innovative ways to engage new ninth graders as well as bringing together returning students with activities that build friendships and make lasting memories.” 

However, some students believe that virtual activities cannot equate to the experiences fostered by traditional grade trips. Xu said, “No matter how hard we try it’s always going to be a step down from being able to actually enjoy time with friends in person. I think it is possible to do a virtual activity but I don’t think it would be a good idea to virtually simulate a trip experience.” Junior Ada Lin agreed. She said, “it would be really cool if the school came up with an activity or an alternative but it would definitely be challenging since we are limited to so many options and it’s not the same experience.” 

Other students shared their suggestions for possible virtual alternatives. Some students believed that online games would pose as a good alternative. “I would suggest some sort of game,” Sean said. “Perhaps a competition thing would be more engaging and unique because it would invite more students to join.” On the other hand, Junior Rebecca Patachi suggested “an interactive museum or park online” as an alternative because it would “be very useful in creating a space [for] students to interact with their peers on a subject they enjoy.” 

Despite the virtual circumstances this year, many remain hopeful at the prospect of maintaining connections with peers and fostering new relationships. Ms. Fee concluded, “We hope to keep creating ways to engage with each other during this isolated time to forge friendships and make as many fun memories as possible, even if it’s virtual.”