OAKMAN — Student Government Association students from Oakman High School recently returned from a trip to the Big Apple.SGA students in grades 9 through 12 spent four days in New York City last …
OAKMAN — Student Government Association students from Oakman High School recently returned from a trip to the Big Apple.
SGA students in grades 9 through 12 spent four days in New York City last week and visited some of the city's iconic landmarks, such as the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Times Square and Central Park. They also toured Harlem, the 9/11 Memorial and saw "Wicked" on Broadway.
SGA Sponsor Natalie Carson said she wanted the trip to be a reward for all their hard work, but she also wanted it to serve as an educational experience. She said the trip to the 9/11 Memorial was a must for the students to see.
"Your ninth and tenth graders, most of them were not even born until after 9/11, and our juniors and seniors were 2 years old or younger. They really have no recollection of that," Carson said. "These kids are only learning about 9/11 through what we tell them and through history. I really wanted them to experience that memorial and that museum in hopes that it would have more of a real impact on them, instead of them just reading about it in class."
Carson said their group also experienced the Nor'easter that has brought high winds and heavy snow to the Northeast. As New York started getting high winds last week, the group was on a ferry to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty. Their tickets were previously purchased and non-refundable, so the trip couldn't be cancelled.
"We really don't experience that kind of weather down here. We understand now why people make fun of us when we spazz out over snow, because we really don't know what it's like compared to what they go through," Carson said. "They had this winter weather coming through and very high winds. It was extremely cold. There was freezing rain, and life didn't stop. Everybody just kept going along."
Despite the weather, Carson said the students thoroughly enjoyed the trip, particularly their Broadway visit. They also got to try popular foods in the area, such as New York style pizza and hot dogs from street vendors.
The trip was made possible through fundraising and help from the family members of students. Carson said the Walker Area Community Foundation also provided a grant for each of the 25 students that went on the trip to have $170 to go toward their travel.
The group took a bus to New York to cut travel costs.
Oakman High School Principal Patrick Gann and teachers MaKenzie Burgett and Mariel Calloway went on the trip with students.
Carson said she is happy the students had an opportunity to experience New York, and they will make another SGA trip to somewhere else next year, so the students can see different places.
"I think it was a great experience for them to see something outside of Walker County," she said.