Post Oak High School’s Odyssey Trip
Every year after orientation, the whole school goes on a trip called “The Odyssey Trip.” The purpose of this trip is to build the community by having us socialize with the new students and teachers, but also to learn new things.
In the first year, we went to New Orleans and Mississippi, where we learned about the culture of New Orleans by going on a ghost tour and the swamps and wetlands of both. In our second year, we went to The Shumla School in Comstock, Texas. We learned about archeology, cave paintings, native peoples’ lifestyles and the environment.
This year, we returned to New Orleans but this time we stayed in New Orleans and tackled more than just ghosts. The teachers organized many different opportunities around New Orleans for us, from tours, to great music and even helping with a revitalization project.
When we got to New Orleans, we were split up into different groups with a teacher to go orienteering. What is orienteering? Well, before this trip I didn’t know! Orienteering is going around exploring an unfamiliar place with a map. That’s exactly what we did. We weren’t allowed to use our phones to look up anything; all we had were maps, trolley/bus tickets and a picture of the place we had to find.
The goal was to work together and people in New Orleans to help us find the places. Many groups used the trolley, but one took a ferry across the Mississippi River! That’s pretty awesome, if you ask me.
Before the trip, the students were asked to sign up for three different tours out of six, depending on their interest level. The tours occurred over two days to be done Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday morning and Wednesday afternoon. Tours included a swamp tour, a cuisine tour, an architecture tour, a history tour, a Hurricane Katrina tour and a jazz tour. Each tour had something new and different to offer to us. The tours I did were the swamp, architecture and jazz tours.
The swamp tour was a guided boat tour in a swamp 30 minutes outside New Orleans. We saw alligators, fish and insects, but mostly alligators. We learned about the importance of the swamp to New Orleans as a hurricane buffer, a source of natural resources and a home to many different living and non-living things in the swamp. We were able to ask all different types of questions to the guide about the swamp and the animals. At one point, we were able to hold a baby alligator!
On Wednesday morning, I did the architecture tour, where we went to the beautiful garden district and looked and took picture of many different homes. Since New Orleans has such a huge cultural mix, including Creole, French, English and Spanish, it’s incredible how many different styles of homes there are. We learned when these types of houses were popular and what their characteristics are.
Wednesday afternoon was the jazz tour, which started with a audio tour of Louis Armstrong park, then a sit down at the jazz history museum for some music and then we ended by going to Jackson Square park and interviewed different artists and closed it up by listening to a street band play.
Wednesday night was very special; we went out to a nice dinner and then walked to Preservation Hall to listen to some great jazz. Although the wait felt like forever and it was hot, it was totally worth it. The music was excellent and engaging, we even got to sing along with the band! Everyone agreed it was the best night of the trip.
The next morning, we got up early and headed out to one neighborhood that was hit hard by Katrina and met Joe, whose home is still in the process of being repaired from the storm and the Project with a Purpose team, who helped set up this opportunity for us. Our whole school, teachers and students, helped finish up his home. Everyone was busy at work, some worked on the balcony, some helped paint the home and stain the fences, put up fences and moved concrete.
We worked from 8 a.m.-12 p.m., and we got a lot done, and he was so happy and grateful, that he challenged all of us to do the ALS Ice Bucket challenge.
Friday morning we woke up early and filled up the bus, then headed out for some beignets at Cafe Du Monde, which were delicious, but super filling. Afterwards, we all got on the bus and said goodbye to New Orleans, sad to leave but filled with some great memories.
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