Eagles to travel to Japan; spring break, summer


Jordy Meow

When asked what aspect of Japan she was most excited to see, Mrs. de la Haye replied “I really want to see the Shinto and Buddhist temples and shrines.” (Photo by Jordy Meow from Creative Commons)

As COVID-19 eases, schools have begun to return to a pre-pandemic state of normalcy. Activities that were rendered impossible by restrictions imposed during the previous two school years are now being reintroduced. School trips, for example, are beginning to reestablish  themselves as the staples of high school curriculum that they once were. Here at Atascocita, two ambitious trips to Japan are set to head off a new era of post-pandemic travel.

Animation teacher Ann Wehrman and AP World History/AP Psychology teacher Emily de la Haye will each lead their respective trips, with the former being in charge of the Spring 2023 trip and the latter of the Summer 2023 trip.

“We wanted to do something different, because a lot of the trips are Europe focused,” Mrs. de la Haye said. “We wanted to offer something unique and far, far away because people haven’t been able to travel for so long, and we thought it would just be a really fun way to kick off and restart our travel program at AHS.”

On July 10, Mrs. de la Haye and a group of more than 50 people will set off on a journey during which they’ll experience the many historical landmarks that Japan has to offer. In addition to sightseeing, Mrs. de la Haye hopes that her students will bring back with them a deeper appreciation for another culture.

“I just want them to get a wider understanding of humanity and understand that people are different from them, and that’s a good thing,” Mrs. de la Haye said. “I hope that they’ll develop a greater sense of empathy for others, and ultimately I think that whenever you experience something new that it changes you. I want kids to have that experience at a young age.”

The Spring 2023 trip, headed by Mrs. Wehrman, will have a smaller group than its counterpart and follow a modified tour plan.

“The main thing is that the two trips have different focuses,” graphic design teacher Mr. Saxton, who will be taking the trip with Mrs. Wehrman and her group of students, said. “Either way they’re both going to be awesome.”

Mrs. Wehrman is able to confidently modify her tour because of her past experiences in Japan. Having taken students to the country in 2017 and 2019, the trip next Spring will mark her third visit to the “Land of the Rising Sun.”

Mrs. Wehrman and her students visit a Buddhist temple in Japan in 2019. (Photo from Mrs. Wehrman)

“[We] saw all kinds of stuff there,” said Mrs. Wehrman. “[I] just had a fabulous time. I still hear from those people [former students]. They’re all grown up now, and they’ve used their experiences in job interviews and college essays.”

Both Mrs. Wehrman and Mrs. de la Haye are very excited for their students to experience the transformative power of travel. Several other teachers have already begun making plans for future trips, including Mrs. De La Haye who is working on setting up a European tour scheduled for 2024. Another trip is planned to Puerto Rico in June 2023 with world history teacher Mariah Webster.