Written By: Julia Cooper

MAST is the first public school in Miami to participate in a travel education program called Outward Bound. From October 26th to the 30th, seven students and six teachers traveled together to an area just outside of Asheville, North Carolina along with students and teachers from Metropolitan International School of Miami.  

Outward Bound offers a wide variety of programs both nationally and internationally from backpacking, mountaineering, whitewater rafting, canoeing, sailing, and even dog sledding expeditions. The programs focus on team-building and classroom management techniques for teachers, as well as character development and team-building skills for students. Regardless of age and position, everyone that attended the trip came away having learned some valuable lessons.

“We went rock climbing and I got all the way to the top. I couldn’t get up in the beginning, but they encouraged me to keep going and I persevered,” junior Colin Drucker said.

Participants were also excited by the beautiful fall foliage of North Carolina. The group was there at the perfect time to catch orange and red leaves on the towering maple trees without catching frostbite.

“The change of scenery and being able to see the different colors of the leaves” was what AP Biology teacher Ashli Wright was most looking forward to before leaving for the trip.

It was not all idyllic and picturesque, though.

“I think everyone was really stretched in terms of getting out of their comfort zone and doing something entirely new and sometimes unpleasant, like sleeping on the ground in freezing weather. Other times it was fun, like hiking through the mountains with Lt.Phillips singing R&B to inspire us to march on,” Spanish teacher Lynn Paisley said.

Everyone in the group participated in hiking, rock climbing and other challenging activities.

“My favorite activity would be the ropes course. I got to face my own fears and do a 30-foot swing, which was really fun,” junior Emma Moise said.

Overall, students and faculty alike enjoyed the experience of getting to bond with each other in an unfamiliar setting while simultaneously increasing their endurance, strength and appreciation for nature and each other. It was such a powerful experience for those that attended that plans are already being set in place to have a larger scale trip for the next year of Outward Bound excursions.

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