7th Grade Makes Great Memories on Class Trip

7th Grade LA/SS, MS Social Studies Chair

7th Grade LA/SS, MS Social Studies Chair

Car camping suits the 7th grade to a tee. With a fair share of uncertainty about what lay ahead, members of the Class of 2020 headed down I-65 to Mammoth Cave National Park two weeks ago. They met the first challenges like pros, quickly assembling the tents and stowing their gear at a campsite sheltered by towering trees. The adventure had begun.

Patrick Donovan, our director of outdoor education, led the way. Joined by Nita Duechle, Christine Brinkmann and me, Patrick instructed students on how to secure their tents and discourage the curious reconnaissance of varmints. Several students helped prepare the first night’s meal, pasta with vegetables, while others gathered wood. Carolyn Siegenthaler won the award for best gatherer of 7thGradeTrip_1kindling. On the second day of the trip, Patrick taught the 7th graders how to construct a small stove that could be used to prepare a hot meal. “At the beginning I utterly failed,” Amelia Dimas said of her attempt to make pancakes, “but in the end I managed to make a batch of edible crepes.” These cooking experiments were early practice for next year’s Big South Fork challenge.

As always, our students spent a good deal of time underground, exploring the caves, learning their history, and squirming through some particularly tight spots. “Mammoth Cave is much more than some massive case,” said Lorenzo Mahoney. “It has an interesting history, like the mining of niter for gunpowder during the War of 1812.” Everyone marveled at how dark the cave truly is when the lights are turned off; some even admitted that they were a bit frightened. In addition to the cave tours, the 7th graders hiked in the woods along the Green River and inspected the many sinkholes that funnel water into the caves.

After thoroughly cleaning the campsite, our intrepid students boarded the bus and headed north. At Bernheim Forest, thanks to Christine’s initiative, they were fortunate enough to get a special tour and lesson in sustainability from Claude Stevens. Dirty, smelly but also very happy, they returned to Goshen no worse for wear, having collected a few helpful skills and some really great memories.