Student Reflections: Freshmen Mystery Trip to St. Augustine

As many of you know, our freshmen took a “Mystery Trip” which departed the second day of school, to a destination not revealed to the parents or students until their arrival.  A wonderful experience for the students, the trip allows the class to bond as a group as they enter their high school years.  Below are two students’ reflections of their “Mystery Trip.”

As we passed through Jacksonville, we all had a pretty good feeling of where we were going. I had never been to St. Augustine, FL before, and had no idea what it was going to be like, but I was sure we would have a blast. I had heard that it was the oldest town in the nation! St. Augustine was truly a beautiful place. We passed marshes where the grass was a vibrant green. The ocean was a brilliant blue, and sparkled with the sun’s glint. Shops lined the streets, and there were beautiful churches scattered around the town. There were so many old buildings, that a new one stuck out like a sore thumb.

St. Augustine church

Our first stop was an alligator farm. There were all kinds of crocodiles and alligators. I had never seen so many alligators together in one place in all my life. There was also everything from Komodo dragons to giant turtles. In other words, there were a ton of animals! There was also a zip lining course. It took two hours to finish and you zip-lined over most of the park. We spent the rest of our day here, and then boarded the buses to go to dinner. It was a nice little restaurant called “Kingfish Grill.” The food was great, and surprisingly, we took up the whole Restaurant.

Visit to an alligator farm

After supper, we messed around at a playground and then……the ghost tour! The sun had gone down completely and the only lights to be had were street lamps and the silver moon. The tour guide showed us two cemeteries. I was taken aback when she told us at the entrance of both of the cemeteries that we were probably standing on dead bodies. We also stopped at the Fort Matanzas, and at a few street shops. As far as I know, we didn’t encounter any ghosts that night, only a couple of our fellow classmates playing pranks on us. We stayed at a Quality Inn, and got our t shirts for us to wear the next day. We arrived exhausted. My room’s faucet handle on the shower broke off, and wouldn’t stop running water. There was a train track right outside, and it wasn’t the quietest hotel, but we all slept soundly.

The next morning, we woke up fairly early and went down to breakfast at 8:30. After breakfast, we boarded the buses to go on a trolley tour of historical St. Augustine. While we were waiting for the trolley to arrive we chanced upon gallows. It was an unexpected sight. On the trolley tour we learned a lot about the history of the city. Who knew there could be so much history packed in such a small town? Once we were finished with the trolley tour, we took a group picture in front of Fort Matanzas and then the teachers gave us the privilege to split off into groups and explore on our own! Ahhhh, the freedom of the high school! We went into various gift shops, candy shops, and restaurants where we ate lunch. We then boarded the buses, and said our last goodbyes to beautiful St. Augustine. We all had a great time, and made lots of memories, but were happy to be going home.

by Margaret Kirby, Class of 2018

This year Christ Church Episcopal School’s 9th grade class went to St. Augustine, Florida for the annual freshman mystery trip. It soon became apparent that St. Augustine was going to be where the class spent the next two days together. Zip lining was the first thing we did in St. Augustine and was a fast-paced and fun way to start our trip. The zip lining course took place at an alligator farm where, while you are high up in the trees, you can see alligators and other reptiles below you. We all strapped ourselves in and completed obstacle courses mixed in with some zip lining. After we all finished we headed for dinner and once we ate we went to a large park to hear about our next attraction. Turns out we were in for some spooky tales, since we were going on a ghost tour of historic St. Augustine! We trekked around the city’s numerous graveyards, and other attractions hearing all about the numerous ghosts, and the stories of their lives and deaths. Once we finished we returned to our rooms, exhausted from zip lining and walking around the city.

Zip-lining fun!

The next day we woke up ready to go. We hopped into the bus and ended up in front of a row of trolleys ready to take us for a daytime tour of St. Augustine’s sights and monuments. Our tour guide showed us old hotels, churches, and homes that were filled with history. We also saw St. Augustine’s fort, Castillo de San Marcos, which was very interesting. After the tour we explored the city in small groups and ate lunch. Unfortunately, after this we had to start heading home. We all had so much fun and learned a lot about St. Augustine’s amazing history.

by Catherine Hollis, Class of 2018

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