Flying Horses, Sandy Beaches, and New Friends: ACS Travel Club Visits the Vineyard
The day began early at the SeaStreak Ferry Terminal in New Bedford. 17 students and six chaperones boarded a ferry for a 45-minute ride to Martha’s Vineyard. The students are members of Atlantis’s Travel Club. This was the group’s first trip since the COVID-19 pandemic, and they had a full day of activities planned.
The group arrived in Vineyard Haven and took a bus to Oak Bluffs. They rode the famous Flying Horses Carousel and then explored the quaint island community and some of the local shops on foot before meeting back up at the carousel and walking to Oak Bluffs Town Beach for lunch. They spent a few hours at the beach, got ice cream, and then boarded the bus back to Vineyard Haven where they had a little more time to explore before taking the ferry back home.
“We had a lot of freedom on this trip,” said junior Julia Ribon. “There were things that we had to do, but we could decide if we wanted to stay somewhere longer or explore the next thing. We stayed in small groups and met back up with the full group at designated times.”
This trip was planned by the students under the supervision of the ACS Travel Club advisers Jolene Hamil-Cole and Andrew Hartman. At one of the first club meetings of the school year, students worked in small groups to come up with a list of places they would like to visit. The next time they met, students gave presentations on two possible destinations, Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island, and then voted to visit the Vineyard. They also planned the itinerary, deciding what they wanted to see and do on the island. They held a bake sale and a shake-the-can event to raise money to cover the cost of the trip.
“It was really amazing to see the students take ownership of this trip and work as a team,” said adviser Andrew Hartman. “They were active participants every step of the way. They did their research and knew just what they wanted to see and do on the island and then they raised money to make the trip a reality, reducing the cost for students and chaperones to just $50 a person.”
Students said the food was amazing, particularly the ice cream at Mad Martha’s. They were also impressed by the people they met. The group wore specially made ACS Travel Club t-shirts. The shirts were a conversation starter while they were on the island, prompting many people to ask them about their trip.
The Travel Club is open to any student in grades 9-12 who is interested in traveling. The club meets two times a month to discuss travel, learn about destinations, and prepare for future trips.
“Planning for these trips teaches us to be more independent. We’re going to go off to college soon and have a great life ahead of us. Having this opportunity to explore different areas and meet new people is preparing us for our future,” said junior Ayla Roias.
“I love the diversity of Travel Club,” said adviser Jolene Hamil-Cole. “The students joined the club because they share a love of travel. They don’t necessarily start as friends, but they leave as friends because of the shared experiences.
Members will travel each fall/winter on day trips to local destinations such as Martha’s Vineyard, Boston or Newport. They will plan a multi-day trip every spring, alternating between national and international destinations. Planning is underway for a 3 day/2 night trip to Washington DC next spring and a trip to Europe in Spring 2025. The Europe trip will include stops in London, Paris, Versailles, Milan, Florence, Rome, Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri.
Both trips are open to alumni, giving current juniors and seniors the opportunity to travel with the club after they graduate.
If you have any questions or have a student interested in joining the ACS Travel Club, contact Jolene Hamil-Cole (Jolene.firstname.lastname@example.org) or Andrew Hartman (Andrew.email@example.com).