Eighth Grade Trip to Santa Cruz Island

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For eighth graders across greater Los Angeles, the first week of September meant it was time to be back behind desks; at Pasadena Waldorf School, it was time to embark on the annual eighth grade camping trip. Leading his students to Santa Cruz Island, class teacher Dennis Demanett oversaw evenings of song and stories as well as time to reflect on their adventurous days. Most of the students had been in class together for the past seven years and this was an opportunity to renew their bonds with one another.

Aside from the bonding experience, this was also an important opportunity to make contact with nature. In this pristine location, which the local Chumash Tribe considers their sacred ancestral home, there was no ambient light to spoil the guided stargazing in which the views of the Milky Way were incomparable. The students also went on a kayak trek to explore numerous caves around the perimeter of the island. Their kayak guide later commented that “in fifteen years, this was the best group of any age when it came to listening to instructions.”

At camp, the students all worked together to pitch tents, prepare meals and clean up. But whether it was revisiting all the songs learned from first grade through seventh grade over a hastily imagined mock campfire, or just hanging out together and being kids, the most important aspect of the trip was bringing the students all together as a tight unit as they embark on this final year of middle school.