For Ben Carstens it was the community service. For Charlotte Malaroche it was the intense cultural day in Taos, New Mexico. And for Rachel Thompson, it was the Grand Canyon.
One by one, students from the Semester in the American Southwest 2013 told their stories as part of a final presentation about the trip on Thursday evening in Stafford Academic Building.
The presentation consisted of informative speaking, power points, and short video clips of the trip. At the end of their presentations, the students corralled together around professors Paul Derby and Liza Myers for a “family-group-hug.”
During the individual presentations, students explained the significance of various places, excursions or people they encountered.
Topics included community service, intense cultural experiences, and fabulous trips to places such as the San Juan River or the Grand Canyon.
Carstens was specially recognized at the presentation for a video he made about the volunteer work that was done by the Castleton students.
“It was really amazing to see what an impact we made on the community. Working side by side with people was really an awesome experience,” he said.
Students also made a point to specifically thank Derby, Myers, and professor Tersh Palmer, who spent a week and a half with students.
“This was an absolutely amazing trip, and it would not have been what it was without these professors. Not only were they our teachers on this trip, but our role models, and our inspirers,” Malaroche said. “You guys truly brought so much spirit and love to the group and really made us feel like a family.” .
After the group said their thank yous, it was time for Derby and Myers to have their say.
“This group of students was the most active and cooperative group we’ve had in the three trips we have taken. They really understood the importance of trip and what a tremendous teaching opportunity it is,” Derby said, “I will miss each and every one of you greatly.”
Myers continued with that theme.
“You said it perfectly, Derby. This group was eager and energetic and fun. We did so many new things and I am really going to miss this group.”
Once the audience began to exit, the students and professors were left to mingle with one another. Hugs were abundant at the end of this presentation.
When prompted by the question, “how do you feel now that it is over?” junior Emily Haley explained, “We are not hugging and sad because it is over, but because we got to share our amazing trip with everyone, and we are proud of ourselves.”