Monday, March 28, 2011

Randolph Band and Spanish Trip to Florida

Randolph, MN students called it the "Band and Spanish Trip for Students. Some 22 Band students and 21 Spanish students went. They also had 5 adult chaperones. Mrs. Arnoldi the Spanish teacher, Mrs. Sczepanski the Band Director and Mr. Sessions who teaches Special Ed, also two family parents chaperoned. The students took a motorcoach to Florida. And it took them about 30 hours to make the drive with stops for meals and to use the restroom! The students were gone from March 12-19. Below is a journal of their times in a warmer climate!

Saturday, March 12
We left Randolph at 9:00 am

Sunday, March 13
After a change of the clock for daylight savings time and a time zone change we arrived at out hotel at 2:30 p.m. (Ahead of schedule!) The kids were able to swim in the hotels outdoor pool for a couple hours before we went to eat at Planet Hollywood in Downtown Disney. After dinner the kids were able to get all their shopping done in one of the largest Disney Stores we have ever seen! After shopping, the students enjoyed a variety of live entertainment in Downtown Disney.

Monday, March 14
The students went to Epcot for the day. Each of the Spanish students were given Disney Passports and were assigned to go to each country in Epcot, immersing themselves in the culture there, then finally getting their Passports signed by a representative from each country. Spanish students had a blast learning new languages and practicing their Spanish. They were surprised to see the number of both employees and guests that were speaking Spanish. The rides even have all of the instructions in Spanish! Many of the students raved about the variety of unique cultural foods that they were able to enjoy in Epcot. The band students attended a Disney "Your Instrumental!" workshop in the afternoon. At the workshop band members got a firsthand lesson in performance techniques, sight-reading, musical styles, and studio recording, helping to give them the skills for productive rehearsals and great performances. The 2 ½-hour workshop culminated with a special recording of the band performing music along with a portion of a Disney animated feature film. The students were able to bring a copy of the DVD home with them and it will be shown at the May 13 Spring Concert. One student said it was worth the 30 hour bus ride to be a part of the workshop. The day at Epcot ended with all the students watching the award winning fireworks show called IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. Epcot was a favorite for many kids. They enjoyed learning about other cultures and visiting the different countries.

Tuesday, March 15
The students went to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. The band performed in Downtown Disney on this day also. A highlight of the day was getting to the park an hour earlier than expected and finding out we were one of the first people to get into the park. When it finally opened we all literally ran to the back of the park to one of the most popular rides in Animal Kingdom, the Kiilmanjaro Safari Ride. We were able to see lions, giraffes, elephants and many other exotic animals of Africa. After the safari ride a large group of kids ran to the roller coaster ride, Expedition Everest. A highlight of the ride was knowing that it was going to be the first roller coaster ride some of the kids had ever been on! It was fun to share that experience with them and see their faces when they got off their first roller coaster ride. A group of Spanish students attended the Lion King show and it was amazing to say the least. The show included fire, gymnastics, singing, instruments, dancing and more. After only two hours in Animal Kingdom the band students boarded the bus to their performance location in Downtown Disney. The band performed on the Waterside Stage in the center of Downtown Disney. The kids performed the best I have ever heard them! I was so proud of them! They represented Randolph well. The band had to send in an audition tape in order to be considered to play. Our music guide at Disney told us that not every group who auditions gets to perform. Groups are turned away if Disney feels they are not ready. Performing at Disney was a huge honor for them. After the performance the band students met up with the Spanish students at Hollywood Studios. Lines were incredibly long the day! There was a lot of bonding at this park! Some students waited in line for over 2 hours to go on a ride. They all said the long wait was well worth it to go on the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror rides.

Wednesday, March 16
The students spent the day at Magic Kingdom and enjoyed the fireworks and light show in the evening before we went home. The day was truly magical.

Thursday, March 17
We drove to St. Augustine and relaxed on the most beautiful beach we have ever seen! After three days in a row of going non-stop the kids were excited to relax in such a beautiful place. Some of them were able to swim in the ocean for their first time; some played an intense game of football on the beach while others played volleyball or buried others in the sand. It was really fun watching the kids interact with each other and seeing new friendships evolve. In the evening we had a BBQ dinner and went on a Ghost Walk Tour of St. Augustine. We were told St. Augustine is the third most haunted city in the United States. New Orleans is number one. The Ghost tour we went on was rated the number one guided tour in Florida and was featured on the Travel Channel and Discovery Channel.

Friday, March 18
We went to the Government House Museum which houses the most complete collection of artifacts in St. Augustine history. Next, we experienced the Colonial Spanish Quarter Museum, a living history museum. At the Colonial Spanish Quarter Museum costumed interpreters relived a time when St. Augustine was a remote outpost of the Spanish Empire. The museum also illustrated the life of the Spanish soldiers and their families in the 1740 St. Augustine. Later in the day, the students toured the Castillo De San Marcos. The Castillo De San Marcos was constructed by the Spanish between 1672 and 1695, and has also been occupied by the British and United States Military. Our last stop before heading home was the Fountain of Youth where Ponce De Leon's search for eternal youth was believed to have ended in 1513. We learned that the Spanish laid a cross on land they discovered. The tour guides told the group that the owner of the property uncovered a cross that was fifteen stones long and thirteen stones across. This was proof that Ponce De Leon landed in St. Augustine in 1513. The kids also learned that Ponce De Leon thought he had discovered the fountain of youth once he came in contact with the Timucua Indians. The Timucuan's were much taller and older than the Spaniards and they were very strong and muscular. The water they were drinking was clear and had a much sweeter taste than the water in Spain. After a busy day of sight-seeing the students boarded the bus for home at 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 19:
We arrived back at home at 6:30 p.m.

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