Off-campus Winterim trips return after a year lost to COVID

By Lily Bowen / Freshman Intern 

The Winterim program has given students unique learning opportunities since 1973, including academic travel trips for juniors and seniors. Four trips were offered in 2022 including American Southwest, California Life, Florida and the Keys and Joshua Tree National Park.

SMILES IN THE SOUTHWEST: Students on the American Southwest Winterim trip enjoy a hike through a desert during their trip in Jan. of 2022. Harpeth Hall offered various Winterim trips within the United States in 2022 that allowed students to expand their perspectives in various regions of the country. Photo courtesy of senior Elizabeth Brown.

The focus of the American Southwest trip was to learn about the region’s history, culture and future, as well as to experience its natural features.

The group saw a variety of art from the region, ranging from the paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe to an interactive exhibit by MoewWolf. Some Art History students were especially excited to see pieces by Native American artist Maria Martinez in Santa Fe. 

CLIFFSIDE CONVERSATIONS: Seniors chat on a cliff in Sedona, Arizona after visiting former Harpeth Hall French teacher Christele Albright on the 2022 American Southwest trip. Photo courtesy of senior Abby Brandau.

Additionally, students had many opportunities to take in the natural beauty of the Southwest. They saw basalt carvings made by the Puebloan people, visited the Grand Canyon and went on several hikes, including one on Cathedral Rock Trail led by former Harpeth Hall French teacher Christele Albright.

Throughout the trip, the group discussed topics with implications for the region’s future, such as preserving the heritage of indigenous people, land use, reservations and sustainable housing.

GOLDEN GATE GIRLS: Students on the California Life Winterim trip pose in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in Jan. 2022. Photo courtesy of junior Ann Gailor Strobel.

The California Life trip explored the history and incredible diversity of California. The group experienced a variety of cultures and lifestyles, broadening their perspectives beyond California’s place in popular culture.

“I thought that LA was going to be my favorite part just because it’s LA,” junior Charlotte Mosley said. “I ended up really liking Carmel. The history of it was just really rich, and I liked it a lot better than the big cities.”

This trip featured several encounters with marine life. For example, students watched sea lions from Pier 39, saw otters while kayaking and learned about conservation efforts at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. 

FLORIDA FUN: Juniors and seniors on the 2022 Florida and the Keys Winterm trip pose with matching tote bags in front of local street art. Photo courtesy of junior Ava Grace Meredith.

On the Florida and the Keys trip, students explored coastal ecosystems and delved into south Florida’s culture. 

The group learned about the local marine life in a variety of hands-on ways, including dissections, as well as snorkeling and kayaking through the animals’ environments. While kayaking in Deering, students saw plastic debris that washed up from nearby cities and experienced firsthand how human trash can impact ecosystems.

Students experienced the Cuban culture in Miami by participating in a cultural dance class focused on women’s empowerment. They also partook in a poetry workshop by O, Miami, a local poetry organization.

SUNNY SMILES: Students on the 2022 Outward Bound Winterim trip smile for the camera at a rock formation in Joshua Tree National Park. Photo courtesy of junior Corinne Pope.

The Joshua Tree National Park trip was organized in partnership with Outward Bound, a “premier provider of experiential outdoor education” according to the Harpeth Hall website. The group learned camping skills such as navigation and outdoor cooking while climbing and backpacking through Joshua Tree, which was a new experience for many students.

“I had never done something like that before, so it definitely widened my perspective,” junior Adelaide Cook said. “I had done very short camping trips before but wasn’t really prepared for a 12-day trip.”

People were assigned various leadership positions each day. This gave the group opportunities to grow confidence in their leadership skills and utilize their newly learned camping skills.

Students found the various hikes and climbs to be strenuous but rewarding. “Being on top of the mountain, we all felt so accomplished,” Cook said.

DESERT DREAMING: Students embark on one of their first of many journeys during the Outward Bound Joshua Tree National Park Winterim trip in Jan. 2022. Each Winterim trip was about two weeks long and included exciting excursions and daily adventures. Photo courtesy of Priyanka Chiguluri / Editor-in-Chief.

All of the Winterim trips gave students an opportunity to get to know people they don’t usually see during the school day. “I was really nervous at first to go on a trip with a bunch of seniors that I really hadn’t met before, but I ended up making a lot of new friends,” Mosley said.

Overall, the juniors and seniors made the most of their academic travels. While this year’s trips were all domestic unlike in past years, students still explored new places, experienced new cultures and made new memories.

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