Surprises, Challenges, and Highlights from Outdoor Education

Amy Grace
Two weeks ago, our sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students left the comfort of their beds and the routines of the school day to venture to Catalina Island, Joshua Tree, and the Colorado River. Some activities they experienced were snorkeling, hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, and getting to know their classmates better. These Outdoor Education experiences are a favorite memory for many of our students and alumni. They are a unique and special aspect of the Harbor Day Middle School experience. When asked about the surprises they encountered, the challenges they overcame, and the highlights of their trips, the Middle School students had lots to say! Below are a few of their responses: 

What was a surprise you encountered?
I was surprised that I got closer with a lot of people in the grade. I've always had my group of close friends, but there were some other people that I felt like I got to hang out with. My group of friends expanded!
- Maggie K., 6th grade

I was surprised when I woke up in the middle of the night to coyotes howling. They were so loud at 2:00 a.m., but it was really cool!
- Siena N., 7th grade 

I was surprised we were all able to paddle as far as we did. I did not expect to be able to paddle 21 miles in one day! - Nick T. 8th grade 

What was a challenge you overcame?
A challenge that I faced was going snorkeling. I used to be afraid of sharks and swimming in the ocean, but now I am not.
- Blake F., 6th grade 

A challenge I faced was not taking showers.
- Ethan S., 7th grade 

It was challenging to paddle very far every day, but I managed to work hard and even took multiple hikes without complaining.
- Siena O., 8th grade 

What was the highlight of your trip? 
The highlight of my trip to Catalina was definitely night snorkeling. It was thrilling, exciting, and super fun!
- Sloane W., 6th grade 

The highlight of my trip was getting to experience new things with all of my classmates and getting to know them better.
- Luke D., 7th grade

The highlight of my trip was either stopping at the sandbars while canoeing down the river with my group or watching the sunrise after sleeping in my canoe.
- Ana C., 8th grade

Harbor Day’s Middle School Outdoor Education experiences are a great opportunity for our students to grow and develop positive mindsets as they face and conquer new challenges, strengthen and build friendships, and get to know their teachers and classmates in a fun, different setting! 

Mrs. Grace has been a part of the Harbor Day School community since 2011. Starting as an associate teacher, Mrs. Grace has been the School's math specialist since 2015. She was born and raised in Newport Beach, where she attended Andersen Elementary and Corona del Mar High School. While attending Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, she earned a teaching credential in elementary education. Mrs. Grace also has her master’s degree from Concordia University. Before joining the Harbor Day School family, she taught fifth grade in Santa Ana.


Harbor Day School

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Harbor Day School is a co-educational private independent K-8 school established in 1952.