Students reflect on their summer adventures


A large passageway surrounds the great and aged temple of Sri Amman Kovil, in India. “It was my grandpa and his brothers who built the temple a long time ago. One of the cool parts of the structure is the staircase at its side, which is used to go up on the top for rituals and religious ceremonies,” Yuvan Shandalingam said. Courtesy of Yuvan Shandalingam

Reading stories about the daring journeys of renowned explorers like Marco Polo or Ferdinand Magellan entices people to replicate these experiences. Whether it’s an escapade through the Himalayas, or exploring the USA in an RV, students scatter the world to find their next adventure during the summer.

For students like Brady Gilchrist, seventh grade music major, traveling the country is certainly the highlight of the summer break from school. Gilchrist visited states like Utah, California and North Carolina.

“You could probably name any state, and I probably went to it,” Gilchrist said. “One of my favorite parts of the trip was visiting the mountains in the Carolina states. We used a vehicle called a rock crawler to travel on them. The crawler is basically an off-road vehicle on steroids.”

Some people could spend their whole lives traveling just the United States, due to its sheer size. However, some students wanted to broaden their horizons and set their sights on more international endeavors across the globe.

Yuvan Shandalingam, a seventh grade communications major, took this route. His 18-hour trip landed him at the home of the ancient temple of Sri Amman Kovil in Devakottai, India.

“I stayed in India for half of the summer this year. I reunited with my family. Only me, my sister and my parents live in America. We stayed in a city called Devakottai. It was the city that my ancestors and my grandparents built,” Shandalingam said.

To many students, the summer was focused on reuniting with family they had not seen for some time. Conversely, students like Gilchrist chose to explore via a road trip in search of thrills.

“One amazing place I went to is called the Carowinds Amusement Park,” Gilchrist said. “I was excited to go on the fifth-largest roller coaster, the Fury 325. I also went to the Grand Canyon as well as white water rafting.”

As for students like Chase Bauer, seventh grade theater major, they took the season to enhance their talents.

“I did a theater camp over the summer, which included a show in late July,” Bauer said. “We performed ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,’”

Many students embraced new experiences, while others found themselves paying homage to explorers of the past by yelling “Marco Polo” across the pool on a hot summer day.

Graphic by Landon D’Alessandro