Eighth Grade Trip to Boston Heralds a Long-Awaited Return to Middle School Rites of Passage
An important part of the middle school experience is the burgeoning sense of independence - from changing classrooms each period, to going into town for lunch, and the excitement of taking overnight class trips. Bronxville’s current eighth graders have not been able to fully experience this freedom of movement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As sixth graders they didn’t change classrooms and in seventh grade their first scheduled trip to Williamsburg was canceled when Omicron swept the nation. It may have taken years, but this class finally went on an adventure together.
Through the determination of Principal Joe Mercora and Middle School Guidance Counselor Jim Agnello, a new tradition was born. On April 17th, the eighth-grade class boarded a bus to the historic destination of Boston, Massachusetts. The two-night, three-day trip was a celebration of American history and independence, the students’ included. “We wanted this class to have an experience that no other class has had. It meant so much to me to be able to tell them they are the first grade to do this trip,” said Mr. Mercora. “And to let them know that if they hang in there long enough, it’s all going to work out.”
It worked out indeed, patriotically and with more than a little fanfare. The group arrived on the biggest day of the year for Boston: Patriots’ Day. The holiday occurs on the third Monday of April each year, with celebrations happening throughout the city, including battle reenactments, the Boston Marathon, parade, and a morning Boston Red Sox game. Over the three days, Bronxville students explored the city, walked the famous Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile red-brick trail through Boston’s historic neighborhoods that tells the story of the American Revolution and beyond. They toured Concord and Lexington, birthplaces of American liberty and 19th Century literature, visited the Museum of Science and the New England Aquarium, and went on a spooky trip down memory lane at Ghosts & Gravestones of Boston. A fan favorite was Quincy Market where the students ventured out on their own for part of the afternoon for a little lunch and shopping. To cap it all off, the rising ninth graders enjoyed an evening on a historic boat tour and dinner cruise. On the way back home to Bronxville, the group stopped in Mystic, CT for the views and a visit to the Seaport Museum.
Mr. Mercora and Mr. Agnello wanted this to be a special year for this special class. “This is the grade of resilience,” said Mr. Mercora. “They have been through so much. There is nothing these students can’t handle.” Apparently, this includes how they handled themselves. According to the management at the hotel, they behaved so well that they recommended the students give lectures on how to act as a hotel guest. “These students conducted themselves extremely well. They were appropriate in every situation,” said Mr. Mercora. “This trip balanced history, hands-on learning, fun, and camaraderie at its finest,” said Mr. Agnello. “These students have so much to be proud of. One Hundred-thirty plus students and their teachers demonstrated excellent Bronco citizenship. Everywhere we visited staff and other patrons commented on how polite and well-behaved our students were. This gives me a great sense of just how promising this class will be in the future.”
In two-week’s time, these eighth-graders will be back on the road. Their next destination? Williamsburg, VA, the trip that was canceled last year. The team at Bronxville Middle School knows how to make time to make up for lost time.