Learning by Doing exemplified through diverse school field trips

Chantilly graduates Jack Thompson, Kristen Popham and Bre Cherry pose with a goat on a farm in Normandy during their summer trip to France.

Devika Raj, staff writer

Chantilly often plans trips for students to travel around the world to gather new cultural perspectives and foster new relationships. These trips encourage an environment where students unify through their passion for traveling. Teachers and organizations plan trips like these for students who prefer to have a hands-on education, instead of being taught from a textbook.

Social studies teacher Angie Rollet, who has been traveling with her students for 18 years,  enjoys giving them a once in a lifetime experience. China, Egypt, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, Australia and New Zealand are some of the few locations Rollet and her students have explored. EF tours, which is partnered with FCPS, organizes the trips Rollet takes with her students. This summer, Rollet and her students will take on Germany for the Influence of Technology on Society Summit in Berlin.

“I am eagerly awaiting the announcement of the keynote speakers for the summit, who will surely be top notch,” Rollet said.

Their tour includes travelling to Heidelberg and Freiburg in Germany as well as Lucerne, Switzerland. This trip is a fantastic opportunity for any FCPS students to interact with each other from all over the world, gathering memorable experiences and learning about real life issues. French teacher Elaine Gonzalez is coordinating another international trip for students that includes a trip to France, where students will be staying with a host family. Students will be offered opportunities to visit places such as Paris, Versailles, beaches of Normandy and the Castle of Chantilly. As this is an exchange program, 30 students from Chantilly, France will have the opportunity to come to the United States and stay with a host family, where they will visit several places in D.C. and experience American culture. Along with EF tours, A La Carte Travel, a business that provides educational travel services, organizes the trip for the French exchange students.

“I enjoy the individual moments of students when French and American students meet each other and when they come and tell me how they became such good friends, and how they learned so much from each other,” Gonzalez said.

This year, photography teacher Betty Simmons is planning several trips to provide a new learning experience for the visual arts students.

“One of the trips is to Baltimore with a large group of 40-50 students,” Simmons said. “They will take time to see the museums, aquarium and sailing the pirate ship in the harbor. They will  be focusing on gathering knowledge about the city and capturing its sights.”

Next month, the photography students will be taking a field trip to Cox Farms, as well as the National Harbor in November to see the Ice Show and take pictures of the unique ice sculptures. In March,  a group of photography students are traveling to Germany, Switzerland  Bavaria, Tyrol and Liechtenstein. While these trips encourage worldwide learning, they also inspire student artists to grow as photographers and become involved in the culture through experiencing different places, cultures and sights.

The choral department also has been on several trips with the intent to have fun through a choral clinic, where they learn techniques to become better singers and learn from professional actors.