In order to experience the history of the civil rights movement firsthand, 16 upper and middle school students took part in the school’s first civil rights tour, which Director of Diversity Janine Jones organized in partnership with Hemisphere Educational Travel from March 31 to April 6. Xenia Bernal ’19 said she participated in the tour to learn about the movement.
“I went on the trip because it is important for me to understand the foundation of American history,” Bernal said.
Students traveled across southern states including South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee and visited civil rights monuments, museums and memorials. At these places, students participated in group tours and interactive activities.
“My favorite site was Lorraine Motel,” attendee Spencer Flippen ’21 said. “It was a really long exhibit, but I feel like it had the most information packed into it and I really got to experience the Washington March, [essentially] all the way through, so that was really cool. It was kind of unfortunate that we had so little time to go through it.”
Attendees said they appreciated visiting the different historical locations because they were able to realistically experience the conditions during the civil rights era.
“You close your eyes and it is a two-minute simulation, so you just imagine yourself back in the sixties, what you would have experienced and [where you would] have sat at the lunch,” Jones said. “A lot of our students experienced that down at the lunch counter and were in tears after that.”
Students said they were also able to become closer with one another and gain leadership skills, Jones said.
“The students bonded on the trip and were able to get to know each other in a way they wouldn’t be able to get to if they were just at school everyday,” Jones said.
President Rick Commons approved the trip for future years, Jones said.