Destination: Virginia with Melanie Coefield & 8th Grade Field Trips

Melanie Coefield has been a highlight of the 8th grade experience at MGCS for 20 years.  Since 1998 she has worked tirelessly to equip our students with the writing skills required for success in high school and college.  Melanie coordinates the 8th grade trip to Virginia each spring.  Here are her thoughts about this year’s trip.

Before dawn on Monday, April 30, dozens of sleepy eighth graders, their doting parents armed with coffee, and eight teacher chaperones convened in the MGCS parking lot to board a charter bus and two SUVs.  Destination:  Virginia!  This was the beginning of our annual three-day trip to experience Colonial America.

First stop:  Jamestown Settlement, America’s first permanent English colony.  We were blessed with a particularly warm, sunny day while taking the two-and-a-half hour guided tour.  We visited a Powhatan Indian village and learned about the Native American culture that helped early colonists like Captain John Smith survive.  We also boarded one of the three re-created ships that sailed from England in 1607, where we learned of the harrowing journeys so many brave souls took across the Atlantic.  We also rambled around the life-size recreation of the colonists’ fort, where students watched a rather loud musket-firing demonstration.  A museum tour that focused on Pocahontas and a quick trip to the gift shop rounded out the day.  Weary bodies piled back on the bus that took us to a well-deserved dinner at Cracker Barrel. 

After a much needed night’s rest and breakfast in our hotel, we made our way to Colonial Williamsburg, the world’s largest living history museum.  We started with a grand guided tour of the Governor’s Palace, where the boys gravitated toward the musket and sword-lined entry and the girls admired the beautifully decorated bedrooms and ballroom.  Mrs. Ivey’s history lessons about the governmental struggles of pre-Revolution America were reinforced during the visit to the Capitol.  We then enjoyed a tavern lunch before roaming the colonial city, exploring shops and trades of the era.  Students recalled their reading class’s novel Johnny Tremain as they visited the silversmith’s and printer’s shops, among others.  After taking part in a colonial courtroom reenactment in the Court House, we headed to Charlottesville.

Our final day was spent at Thomas Jefferson’s beloved home, Monticello.  It was the sunniest and warmest day the teachers could remember atop that beautiful “Little Mountain.”  Guides took us through our third president’s personally designed home, and then we walked the scenic terrace gardens, which led to Jefferson’s grave site.  Mrs. Ivey pointed out his gravestone that proudly declares Jefferson’s critical role as principal author of the Declaration of Independence.  Then it was back on the bus for more fellowship and memory-making before returning to school. 

This is a really special trip for our sweet eighth graders–one that strengthens bonds and provides opportunities to make new friendships.  We all have loads of fun while managing to learn something new in the process!  Our history lovers really appreciate getting to walk in the very footsteps of trailblazers and Founding Fathers.  Our science lovers take notice of the important inventions and innovations made during these historic periods.  And everyone loves experiencing it all together!

To learn more about Myrtle Grove Christian School near Wilmington’s Monkey Junction area, please schedule a campus tour.