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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The 10th Grade NOLA Trip Returns After Four Years

Sophomores enjoying their day around the French Quarter, New Orleans. (Courtesy of Cecile Nelles)

With the hopes of enjoying soulful jazz and perfectly powdered beignets, the class of 2025 traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA) from Monday, March 20 to Friday, March 24 after a four year hiatus. 

The trip was canceled for the classes of 2022 and 2023 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was switched to a trip to New York City for the class of 2024. 

Since the class of 2025’s advisors had previously gone on this trip, they shared that this iteration involved several new and unique activities. 

Co-Director of University Counseling Pam Joos mentioned that the lengthy stroll around the French Quarter was a new activity which allowed students to observe the one of a kind architecture.   

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“I definitely enjoyed [the walking tour],” Joos said. “I feel the students got some interesting history out of it.” 

The long-standing tradition of the NOLA trip was created for sophomores to participate in service activities and help the local community. This year, students had two service days where they contributed to cleaning up the massive damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

On the first day, they picked up trash and cleared drains in the most affected area, Ward 9, and on the second day, they trimmed trails where there was overgrowth of invasive plants and planted trees. 

“The service activities taught me a lot,” sophomore Cecile Nelles said. “For example, how [the] hurricane affected parts of the city more than others and what we can do to help.”

Besides community service, the trip creates opportunities for class bonding and cultural immersion. As a whole, NOLA seemed to be very well liked and enjoyed by students.

“It was so nice to just spend time visiting a city with friends rather than family,” Nelles said.

Most afternoons, students had free time where they could grab dinner and enjoy walking around the city on their own. 

“We were able to get a taste of New Orleans at night and how it’s different from the daytime,” Nelles said. “The ambiance was really good. Everyone was very excited and in a good mood.”

Additionally, the trip created an opportunity for students to interact with classmates that they normally would not collaborate with. 

“The way that the groups were split up forced us to talk to new people, which honestly was really fun,” Nelles said. 

Before tackling the rigorous IB diploma, Joos believes it’s important for the students to connect with each other in a tranquil setting. 

“I think it’s great for the 10th graders to be out of the classroom environment and bonding together,” she said. 

Nelles believes that the trip helped her grade build a stronger bond, which will prove helpful during the next two years. “Going into the IB next year, it’s important for our grade to be as united as possible,” she said. “This trip really helped bring us together.”

By Andrea Brudniak-Berrocal and Derin Kirtman

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