Washington D.C. 2023

Follow along as our eighth grade students continue the CA tradition of visiting Washington, D.C.! They are off on the adventure of a lifetime!

Sunday, March 12

First stop, University of Virginia! The students had a wonderful time exploring the University that Thomas Jefferson helped to create. It was a very cold and snowy tour, but well worth it!

Monday, March 13

After a night in Charlottesville, VA, the group set out to visit Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s beloved mountain top home.

Along with a docent-led tour of the house itself, our students were also able to visit Mulberry Row (enslaved people’s quarters), Jefferson’s garden, the north annex, and the Jefferson gravesite and family cemetery.

Following the tour of Monticello, the group boarded the charter bus to travel on to Chantilly, VA, and the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Center. Students were able to see many different types of aircraft, including the Space Shuttle Discovery, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress “Enola Gay,” and a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.

After a delicious dinner at Chevy’s Fresh Mex, the group crossed the Potomac River to see the Lincoln Memorial. This awe-inspiring memorial made a fitting end to our first full day of touring and sightseeing.

Tuesday, March 14

Our second full-day dawned clear but cold, but our intrepid group was undaunted! Tuesday’s first stop was Arlington National Cemetery, where students were able to visit the Tomb of the Unknowns, the JFK gravesite, and the Space Shuttle Challenger Memorial.

In addition to the Changing of the Guard ceremony, we also had two students who were able to visit the graves of family members interred at Arlington.

From the ANC, our group moved on to a truly rare experience. Through the assistance and connections CA parent Tee Fountain, a retired US Army service member, our students were able to tour the Pentagon! In fact, the CA group was one of only two tour groups in the building on March 14th. Our Pentagon-sponsor, Mrs. Joycinda Hinton, met the group at the Visitor’s Center and introduced us to our tour guides, who were led by Sgt. Hawkins. The guides– members of the US Air Force, Army, and Navy– took students through several areas, including the Vietnam War exhibit, the Eisenhower exhibit, and the Women in the Military exhibit. Perhaps the most-moving portion of the tour was 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Chapel and the 9/11 Quilts display, which were quilt beautiful.

After the Pentagon tour, we moved across the street to the Pentagon City Mall, where students were allowed to pick from the varied options of the Food Court for today”s lunch. After this quick repast, we again boarded the charter bus to travel back into D.C. for our next stop– the United States Holocaust Museum.

This museum is an unique, interactive experience that documents the history and horrors of Nazi Germany’s “Final Solution.” Throughout the entire visit, the CA students were attentive and engaged, frequently asking excellent questions and making connections between the artifacts and their own life experiences.

During the visit, Mrs. McQueen ran into former CA student Kadence Winters, who was in Washington, D.C., with her parents!

After leaving the Holocaust Museum, we traveled to the National Mall and took a group photo with the Washington Monument.

Continuing on from the Mall, the group stopped at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Although our stop was brief, the students had a terrific time in Natural History, exploring the many exhibits and the Museum Shop, which is the source of the “squid hats” seen in some of the forthcoming pictures.

Following Natural History, the group again boarded the charter bus to go to dinner at Good Stuff Eatery, where students enjoyed a dinner of hamburgers, pizza, or chicken sandwiches, along with some of the best french fries to be found. After dinner the group returned to the Tidal Basin area to visit the MLK, FDR, and Jefferson Memorials.

These last three visits of the day began at the MLK monument, which is one of the newest monuments in D.C. From there, the group walked around the Tidal Basin to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial.

Despite the setting sun and cold temperatures, the students were very attentive and asked good questions about FDR, his family, and his historic presidency. From the FDR monument, we made the short ride to the Jefferson Memorial, where students learned more about Jefferson and his monument.

While it was certainly a very full and somewhat long day, the students were absolute troopers and seemed to have a great time in the nation’s Capital. A short bus ride brought everyone back to the hotel to get some sleep before Wednesday morning’s visit to Mount Vernon!

To be continued ….

Wednesday, March 15

Wednesday’s adventure began with a bus ride to Fairfax County, VA, and the home of our nation’s first President, Mount Vernon. Shortly after arriving, the group viewed a short video about the site, its history, and the Mount Vernon’s Ladies Association, the civic group that owns and operates the facility. Since we had a bit of a wait until out tour started, the group moved to the Education Center to tour the Mount Vernon Museum.

Afterwards, we were able to a 4D film presentation about Washington’s role as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. The film highlighted the victories at Boston, Trenton, Princeton, and Yorktown. From the Education Center, the students walked up to the mansion to begin the tour. Highlights included the “New Room,” which is actually the last room added to the mansion. We also saw five bedrooms, including the room were George Washington died, and examples of authentic period furnishings.

After exiting the mansion, our group moved to the East lawn for a group photo featuring Washington’s view of the Potomac River.

From the East lawn, we headed down South Lane to visit the Washington mausoleum and the Slave Memorial, which we learned includes one of the earliest historical markers in the US to acknowledge the life and work of enslaved people from the Colonial Era.

After a box lunch while driving back to DC, the group visited the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, commonly known as “the Wall.” While at the monument, Cade Wallace had the opportunity to make a pencil rubbing of PFC Kenneth Lee Conner’s name; PFC Conner had served in Vietnam with Cade’s grandfather before being killed in a helicopter crash in 1969.

From the Wall, the group traveled along Constitution Ave NW to the National Archives Museum. Inside the Archives, we entered the Rotunda of the Charters of Freedom, where students were able to see original copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Additionally above these exhibits, visitors observe the Faulkner Mural, which were painted in 1935-1936 and depict an imagined version of Thomas Jefferson presenting the Declaration of Independence and of James Madison presenting the completed Constitution.

After leaving the National Archives, the group moved to the west side of the US Capitol for our official group portrait. Copies of this photo will be delivered in the next few weeks as a memento of the 2023 D.C. Trip.

After the photoshoot, the group walked to the Capitol Visitors’ Center to begin our tour. In the Capitol, students toured many areas of interest, including the Crypt, the Rotunda, and Statuary Hall. The Crypt is located on the lowest level of the Capitol, is the oldest part of the building, and at one time was intended to be the final resting place of President George Washington.

Wednesday’s activities concluded with a visit to Pinstripes (Georgetown) Bowling and Bocce. This unique establishment serves a delicious food and provides a full-service bowling alley and indoor bocce court! Students spent an honor on the bowling alleys before sitting down to a delectable Italian family-style dinner service. Before leaving for the hotel in Manassas, the students partook in several different games, including a “Telephone”-style storytelling game that was quite interesting.

All-in-all, Wednesday was another banner day for the Washington, D.C. 2023 Trip!

Thursday, March 16

What a way to bring things to an end …. Thursday was our last day touring in Washington, D.C., and if was a day jam-packed with activities. We began with the SPY Museum, where the group learned about basic spy-craft, ciphers, and disguises. We also participated in one of several simulated missions, which required students to make use of the skills they learned about in the museum.

From the SPY Museum, the group traveled back to the National Mall area in order to visit the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Before entering the museum, Mrs. McQueen issued the students a challenge: find at least one fact that was new information to you and that you think no one else on the trip would know. Our tour itself started with a viewing of “Old Glory,” the original flag that flew above Fort McHenry in 1812 and was the inspiration for Francis Scott Key’s poem that provides the lyrics for the National Anthem. Afterwards, the students were allowed to move freely through the museum to explore the many and varied exhibits. Several people mentioned be excited to see important objects of pop culture like Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz, Mister Roger’s sweater, and Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street.

Several of the boys also enjoyed seeing a bat used by St. Louis Cardinals’ great Stan Musial, Satchel Paige’s glove, and one of Babe Ruth’s bats. Some were also excited by an exhibit named “Dave’s Dream,” which was a customized Ford LTD lowrider.

After leaving American History, we traveled to L’Enfant Plaza, a unique underground shopping center with a large food court that game folks many options to choose for today’s lunch. After everyone ate, the group then walked about half a mile to return to the National Mall and the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). On the way, we stopped the English Garden, which lies behind the Smithsonian Castle. we enjoyed the warm sunshine as well as the many beautiful flowers and trees, and we paused for another group photo. Unfortunately, the Castle itself– the very first building of the Smithsonian Institution— was closed for renovations so we could not check out those exhibits.

At the NMAAHC, our group was subdivided into platoons of 10 students plus one chaperone. Each group was directed to a predetermined location to begin our self-guided tour of the museum. Two groups headed upstairs to begin in the “Culture” displays, while the other two groups went downstairs to go through the History of African Americans, Slavery, and Segregation from the 1500s to the 1960s.

In the lower History levels, students learned about the development of slavery throughout history, from the Ancient World all the way through to Europeans trading in slaves for their colonies. The next section addressed slavery in American how that practice related to the Charters of Freedom. The exhibit then took students along the historical trail of abolitionism, the Civil War, the Reconstruction and Jim Crow, early 20th-century African American culture, and the Civil Rights Movement.

On the upper Culture levels, students viewed modern works of art created by African American artists, and learned about the many ways that African Americans impacted America and American culture. We saw exhibits that discussed the contributions of African Americans to the US military, Sports, Music, and Film & Television. Although the students were not familiar with all of the artists, musicians, actors, and tv shows and movies, many of them found the artifacts quite interesting. Naturally, the chaperones were sure to point out Clarksville-native and Olympian Wilma Rudolph.

Once we left the NMAAHC, the beautiful weather beckoned us to spend some time outdoors, so students were allowed a “recess” at the base of the Washington Monument. Everyone, especially the chaperones, truly enjoyed this 45-minute rest period in warm, late afternoon sunshine.

After recess, the group trekked from the Washington Monument area up to Lafayette Park and the White House. Along the way, we passed the Treasury Department and the bronze statue of Alexander Hamilton. Upon reaching Lafayette Park and the White House, the group organized for a quick picture with the White House as a backdrop.

From the White House, we traveled to the Promenade to board the Odyssey for our nighttime dinner cruise on the Potomac River. The group enjoyed a tasty meal and more than an hour of dancing aboard ship.

For those not interested in the dance party, the decks offered lovely views of D.C. and its environs. We were also treated to great views of a couple of very important buildings, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Watergate Hotel and Office Building.

All told, we spent about 13 1/2 hours touring D.C. today. It was a full and exciting day, but it certainly took a toll on many of the kids, as one can see in today’s final photo. This photo shows Mrs. McQueen’s view of the bus on the drive back to our hotel.

Tomorrow is the final day, our return to Clarksville. While most of the day will be spent on the bus, we are planning one final tour at Virginia’s Natural Bridge State Park. It has been a wonderful week full of new experiences and great memories, but if we’re honest, most of the group is ready to get home, see family, and sleep in our own bed. With that said, we will see everyone in Clarksville Friday night.

Winterim 2023

Winterim 2023 kicked off on Sunday, January 1. Two groups boarded their flights for Ireland and Iceland. Monday, January 2 another group left for their adventure to south FL. Tuesday, all groups began their Winterim experience. Below you will find a daily recap of each adventure. We hope you will join us on this exciting journey! 

January 2, 2023


Fifteen students and two staff began their travels to the Emerald Isle on January 1. Their arrival to Ireland was early in the day on January 2. 

We began our adventure in Ireland on the morning of January 1, at 8:15, which is around 2:15 am, back in the United States. Our jet lag was terrible, and the flight was bearable, but we were encouraged by our guide Edwina to power through and go about our day. As we left Dublin Airport, we walked until we reached our coach. After that, we drove to our hotel, the Academy Plaza, around 20 minutes from the airport. During our drive, we learned a new term, “crack,” which means fun or to have great fun in Irish slang. Seeing the street signs with the Irish Gaelic written above and English below was interesting and very helpful for understanding the language (which would be nearly impossible for those unfamiliar with the language).

Our group checked in and, an hour later, set off on our walk around the city of Dublin. We walked around the amazing city for about 3-4 hours, learning about the memorials, architecture, statues, and history. In particular, the information about the National Post Office stuck out to me. The Irish soldiers waited and waited after commandeering their independence (albeit briefly) during the Easter holiday. Then after the holiday, when the Irish were waiting like sitting ducks, the British soldiers arrived, and to say the least, it didn’t go as planned for the Irish. Bullet holes from the bombardment are still visible along the street where the P.O. sits, particularly in the pillars at the front of the building and some street monuments.

After we grabbed our first Irish meal, we began our way to the Ireland National Gallery. This gallery contained some of the most exquisite pieces I have ever seen, such as “The Marriage of Stronghold” and “The Song of the Mad Prince.”

Then we walked around the corner to the National Museum of Ireland Archaeology and History, which held what I found to be highly fascinating bog bodies. Which outsiders may find odd, but Ireland sure doesn’t. Ireland has numerous bogs that contain artifacts, such as jewelry and, in this case, bodies. The bog preserved the bodies for centuries, kind of like Egyptian mummies. The bodies are now located in the museum, but only after years of taking a thick swim in the bog.

To fill our growling stomachs after a long day, we walked to, arguably, the oldest pub in Ireland, dating back to 1198, The Brazen Head Pub. I had amazing chicken and mashed potatoes, and others enjoyed traditional Irish Stew. Then we ended our night after falling asleep at the dinner table due to jet lag, with a 30-minute walk back to the hotel. — Ella Childers, 10th Grade 


Twenty-three students, two teachers, and three staff with UK International Sports Tours left Nashville yesterday for the trip of a lifetime! Upon arrival, the group immediately began exploring. Their adventure started with a ‘Golden Circle Tour.’ They first went to Þingvellir National Park and walked between two continents over the tectonic plates. Iceland is divided by the Mid-Atlantic Rift; some parts, such as the Westfjords and Reyjavík, are on the North American tectonic plate, while others, such as Vatnajökull glacier and the East Fjords, are on the Eurasian plate. Iceland is the only place in the world where this rift is above sea level, and nowhere can you see the edges of both plates as clearly as in Þingvellir… and walk between them.

They followed this with visits to the Strokkur Geyser and the amazing Gullfoss Waterfall. They ended the day with a wonderful meal and a good night’s sleep!


Arriving at the Nashville Airport, some of CA’s finest students started their Winterim trip at 5:00 am with a lovely flight to Orlando. Our Course Leader picked us up and off to Universal Studios for a day of fun and adventure! All had roller coasters and other fun rides. The adventure is only beginning!

January 3, 2023

Culinary Fun

Today in culinary, we made pizza from scratch! We were able to cut our toppings like mushrooms, peppers, and onions! We even cut lettuce to make our side salad! Then we would sauté the meat and the other toppings we cut, so they were cooked and ready to go on our pizza. We then had to roll out our dough. Each student got a piece of dough and used a roller to roll the dough thin or thick. You could even make it into any shape or form you would like! We then put sauce and toppings on the pizza, popped it into the oven, and enjoyed the yummy meal! — Neveah Brooks, 10th Grade

Music City 

Today was a fun day discovering Downtown Nashville. We hopped on a bus and began with a guided tour which included the Parthenon, Centennial Park, the TN State Capitol and much more. This tour also included stops at the Ryman Auditorium and The Country Music Hall of Fame. Our tour guide was so knowledgeable about the history and passed along great trivial facts we did not know already. Did you know that the number one industry in Nashville is the medical field with over 500 health care companies?! That’s right, the music and entertainment industry is 2nd to the medical industry. We finished the day with an amazing lunch at the Assembly Food Hall. The eatery was packed with a variety of food and dessert choices including Nashville’s famous hot chicken!

Culture of Crafting

Our local Winterim began today with a discussion about the difference between art and craft, questioning if there is a difference and if craftsmanship is as revered as it once was. The discussion then moved to the link between craft and culture.

Our focus for the day was on ink arts and Chinese culture. Students learned that the earliest examples of tie-dye come from 5th-century China. Students then created their tie-dyed t-shirts. They have to sit overnight. Stay tuned for pics!

Next, we began looking at kites in Chinese culture. There are kite festivals worldwide, but one of the biggest is held in Weifang, China which is believed to be the birthplace of kites. The first use is said to be in 200 BC by a Chinese general who used a kite to measure the distance his troops would need to dig to bypass enemy forces, and it worked! Kites eventually would help Americans better understand wind and weather from Benjamin Franklin and also help the Wright brothers on their path to flight.

Students used alcohol ink paints to decorate their nylon kites. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate, and we can try flying them Wednesday!


Disney Winterim departed in the dark and rain of Nashville and landed in the sunny warmth of Orlando! The group spent the day enjoying Animal Kingdom. Students rode Mount Everest and Avatar coasters and dined on treats from Asia and Africa! After beginning the day with a 4 AM arrival, the students (and teachers) were exhausted after a fun-filled day. We found making new friends (some were famous) and others strengthening their bonds with old friends. Wednesday begins our class and we are excited for the adventure! 

Physical & Mental Well-Being

Physical and Mental Well-Being had an exciting first day of Winterim. We began with a healthy breakfast while downloading fitness and nutrition apps. This was followed by some of our students first experiences with guided meditation. After a brief walk and stretch, we proceeded with a full-body workout in our fitness room. After lunch, we entered our data into our fitness and nutrition apps. We then spent time reading our newly purchased book, The Teenage Guide to Stress by Nicola Morgan. Our students also experienced several other activities throughout the day, including choosing books to read to lower school students tomorrow and blindfolded team games to emphasize ways to enhance mental health through giving back teamwork.

New Orleans

After arriving in New Orleans, our group jumped on the St. Charles streetcar and made our way to the lavish Garden District, where celebrities like Beyonce and John Goodman own homes. We got back on the streetcar, the oldest in New Orleans, and made our way to Jackson Square, where street performance, The Old Guys, entertained us with classic R&B. We walked around the French Quarter with our local tour guide, Milton, who taught us about the history of New Orleans as well as the Creole and Cajun cultures. (And languappe told us that St Charles streetcar #922 is the streetcar named Desire!) We finished day one of our New Orleans experience with dinner at the second oldest restaurant in New Orleans, Tujagues. 


Day Two began with an early morning ‘ThunderCat Scavenger Hunt’ around the City Center. The kids got around on foot and scooters in the early morning darkness (the sun doesn’t come up until after 11:00 am!), tracking down cryptic clues, finding famous landmarks, and having locals assist them with their tasks. They poured drinks and served cake in coffee shops, posed for album covers on the Rainbow Road, chased Geese, and geotagged and documented everything on their phones for a prize!!

After lunch, they undertook a 3-hour Whale Watching Cruise in the frigid North Atlantic Ocean, where we were lucky enough to spot playful humpback whales. A great dinner and fun time at the hotel with the kids and staff before they prepare for a full day of waterfalls, black sand beaches, Northern Lights, and ATV riding Wednesday!


We began our second day in Ireland by learning how to use public transportation. The public transport in Ireland is called the Luas, which is the Irish word for speed and is very clean and efficient. We took the Luas until we reached a decent walking distance from St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The Cathedral was initially established as a Catholic Church but was later reformed into a Protestant church by King Henry VIII. After a quick history lesson in St. Patrick’s Park, we headed inside to explore. The Cathedral was full of intricate stained glass and historical alters. Several of us wrote in the prayer book as we returned to the front to meet for our next destination.

After St. Patrick’s Cathedral, we headed towards Dublin Castle (more on that later), where we stopped at the Christ Church Cathedral. We got several lessons on the Cathedral’s history and some information about the Irish flag, which represents the unity between Irish nationalism, Catholics, and Protestants in Ireland. After that lesson, we headed off for a quick coffee break.

Following our coffee break, we got the opportunity to wander the halls of Dublin Castle. An interesting fact about Dublin Castle, the statue of Justice is neither blind nor balanced. She looks towards an upright sword, which is a symbol of aggression. We explored the castle for about an hour before making our way to the castle’s gardens. The Dubh Linn Garden is a large circle of grass and hedges, which add a nice pop of green to the stone-covered area we were in.

When we returned to the hotel, we listened to Irish music and learned some basic Irish dances. The music was very interactive, and we listened to several different tunes. We listened to several songs on the guitar, as well as jigs and reels. We learned our dances in two groups. We did partner and group dances, all of which used the same basic moves. We were all tired by the end as we headed back to our rooms to prepare dinner.

We had a very posh dinner at the Shelbourne in the constitution room, where the Irish constitution was penned. Our meal began with an appetizer of tomatoes, greens, and goat’s cheese. Following the appetizer, we had a chicken, potatoes, and greens dish. Our dessert was a plate with brownie, macaron, and opera cake, followed by tea or coffee with petit fours. It was the perfect end to a long day of adventuring. — Ashlynn York, 11th Grade 

Community Engagement

Students met on campus to work on resume building, college and career exploration and to prep for job shadowing placements. Students will spend the week visiting various business and professionals to learn more about their jobs. Today’s group talked with Sports Broadcasters, Therapists and Professional Photographers. 


We began our day on Tuesday morning by meeting in the classroom and having breakfast. During that time leading up to Defy (jump zone), we discussed what happened with Damar Hamlin in last night’s Bills vs. Bengals game. We talked about the mental impact on the athletes and how long it took the NFL to announce the decision to cancel the game.

We then went to Defy Jump Park and participated in everything they offered. The students had a blast playing basketball, dodgeball, rock climbing, and more. Afterward, we took our break for lunch.

Our afternoon activity was a class at NBalance Yoga and Fitness. The students participated in the private lesson, a mix of yoga, meditation, and mental resetting. This was a fantastic way to end our first day of Winterim.


Yesterday we were at the GIS center, which stands for Geographic information system. We mapped out either Clarksville Academy or the Sports Center. We could use Points, Lines, or Polygons, to represent certain things. For example, I used points to plot the parking spots and Lines to map out the roads. I used Polygons to map out the buildings, and we also made classes to classify specific points and Lines and distinguish them; for example, some points were green, and some were blue. Blue was handicapped, while green was a normal spot. — Cesar Ugalde, 9th Grade 


Twenty students and two faculty members left Nashville Monday on an overnight flight to Florida. After a brief night of sleep, the adventure began! 

On Tuesday, students went to Sombrero reef and snorkeled. Students were able to see jellyfish, snapper, and amazing colored coral. While the boat ride out was rougher than usual, students learned about the conservation efforts of the Florida coral reefs and the importance of protecting them.

After the snorkel adventure, students kayaked the mangrove forests on Big Pine Key. Students learned about the wildlife in the mangrove forest and found horseshoe crabs and the exoskeletons they had shed while growing. Students also learned about the different types of jellyfish found in the mangrove stream.

After an amazing sunset dinner and the Sunset Grill and Raw Bar, we ventured to Key West and went on a Ghost Tour. Students learned the history of Key West and the people who are said to haunt the island. Our tour guide showed us how to use paranormal equipment and allowed the students to experiment with it at the Hard Rock Cafe.


We set off on an environmental and ecological tour of the Florida Everglades in an airboat! Alligators of all sizes, all types of birds, and the beauty of the freshwater glades made for a beautiful ride and experience. Afterward, we had a great lunch and pet a boa constrictor and an alligator at the wildlife zoo. The next stop was Wonderworks for numerous STEM-related activities with cool simulator rides and hands-on events. We had dinner and a magic show there and were mesmerized by the magician’s act.

January 4th, 2023


Disney Winterim Day Two began with an early morning class evaluating the physics of Disney Theme Parks. The 29 students took a fast-paced, behind-the-scenes tour of how the three laws of motion are at work on the rides in Hollywood Studios. In particular, students evaluated the experience created by Imagineers on the Rocking Roller Coaster and the Tower of Terror! Students spent the afternoon exploring the remainder of the park designing light sabers, meeting Sulley, and capping off the evening watching the Fantasmic Fireworks Show!


Students were able to see their handiwork on their tie-dyed t-shirts this morning, and they were very cool! We then moved to pottery. Students created two styles: Mexican-inspired pinch pots and stamped bowls or dishes. These have to dry before painting.

The group broke out the paints today and created woven paintings. Students made two paintings of their choice, cut them into strips, and wove them together to create a fascinating new painting. Tomorrow we are starting paper crafts and will try our hand at quilling.


Today we visited Shark Valley in the Everglades. Students learned about conservation in the Everglades and the importance of the Everglades to our world. We also learned about invasive species and their negative impact on the ecosystem. After Shark Valley, we visited Robbie’s of Islamorada, where students fed tarpons and fought off hungry pelicans! We could see alligators and crocodiles since the everglades are the only place in the world to see the two together.

Music City 

Today our adventure was discovering the Opry Mills area. We began with a fun and entertaining backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry. Wow! There is so much history there, dating back to the mid-1920s! Seeing all the inductees plated on the walls and the dressing rooms where they prepare for shows was fun! Next, it was a short walk across the street to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. You couldn’t have told the students they did not meet the stars in person. The wax models look so so real! We got lots of fun photos with Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Michael Jackson, Beyonce, and more! We made our way to lunch at Paula Deen’s Country Kitchen and had more food than we should have. It was the best southern fried chicken we’d had in a while. Finally, the students were excited to finish the day at Dave and Buster’s. We can’t wait until tomorrow!

Physical & Mental Well Being

Today was another day filled with growth toward becoming physically and mentally fit. We again started with a healthy breakfast and guided meditation. Mid-morning, we fit in a beginner’s Yoga class between reading and playing games with our elementary friends. We introduced our PreK to the Library’s new box books. The books are read to the student while they track each word with their fingers. Thanks to Mrs. Swallows for allowing us to assist with introducing this new learning tool! After lunch, it was off to the City Forum for fun and games while learning to socialize positively.

New Orleans

We spent the morning at the Voodoo Museum, the only one of its kind in America, with New Orleans Nate, who educated us on the history of Voodoo — not Hoodoo — in New Orleans. After a walk through the French Market, our local tour guide Lewis took us on a Hidden History walking tour, explaining the aim, strategy, and targets of the 1811 Louisiana Slave Revolt. We concluded the day with an evening meal at the Hard Rock Cafe. Today’s lagniappe was a one-night-only performance by Adam Pearce, a 2017 contestant on The Voice. 


Our second day of Winterim started with breakfast in my classroom. During this time, we had a discussion, and then, since we were ready for the day, we made our way to Liberty Park. We worked on soccer skills, tried the workout equipment, and walked around the park.

After lunch, we walked to Sanctuary on Main to enjoy a Restorative Yoga class. The class was very relaxing and left everyone feeling rejuvenated. We then walked back to campus and ended the day in the classroom, discussing today’s events and our plan for tomorrow.


We started the day with an ATV adventure in the dark and snow before heading to the southern shore of Iceland. Did you know it stays dark in Iceland until approximately 11:00 AM and is only light for a few hours? Our students are slowly adjusting to this short time of daylight! We took in both the Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls before heading to the incredible Black Beaches of Vik. The day ended with us ‘chasing’ the Northern Lights!


The first stop is the Kennedy Space Center to see the Apollo Rocket Program and the Atlantis Space Shuttle. Students learned what it took for America to get our rockets and astronauts into “The Space Race.” Tours of these spaceships, Mission Control, and even the new rockets of Elon Musk’s SpaceX were viewed and explored. After a day of space, it was off to Disney Springs for dinner, dessert, and a little shopping.


We started the day by leaving the Capital city of Dublin and began our journey to the Powerscourt gardens and out west to the port city of Galway. Powerscourt is a large country estate dating from the 1700s with a large manor and beautiful gardens. The gardens are surrounded by gorgeous vistas overlooking the rolling hills of the Irish countryside. These gardens are filled with plants from across the globe and decorated with statues and small stone towers for a better view of the trees. My favorite part of the Powerscourt gardens was the sense of peace and serenity walking along the many paths. After we visited Powerscourt, we began the drive across the Island to the west coast of Ireland and the City of Galway. Once we checked into our hotel, we were greeted by our guide Liam for a walking tour of Galway. We walked through the winding city streets and observed old city walls, cathedrals, squares, and the rushing river Corrib. We finished the day at McSwiggans for dinner and then went to our hotel. My favorite part of Galway was our tour guide, Liam’s passion and pride for his city, which can only be described as uniquely Irish. — Aiden Jones, 11th Grade 


We finished digitizing our maps on ArcGIS and started making them printable. We then flew drone simulations. we also made 3D models with the blender. The first 3D model we did was a keychain. we then sliced the 3D model in Prusaslicer or Ultimaker Cura. After the model was sliced, we uploaded it to our thumb drives. Before we printed, we changed the filament in our printers. After the thumb drive was inserted, we could print our 3D model on the 3D printers. — Lexi Cruse, 9th Grade 


On day two of our culinary class, we made two kinds of dumplings, pork, and cabbage. Everything was super yummy! Everyone loved the cabbage with the sauce. We also had Asian cucumbers, which were very good but simple. A lot of people took that recipe home to make for the family. –Raegan Irish, 11th Grade

We also made one of my all-time favorite foods from scratch Scallion pancakes. To start, I made my dough with a flower and water mixture, and while my dough was setting, I made my filling using oil, water, and flour. After my dough sat for 20 minutes, I rolled it out into six balls, then 6×10 inch thin rectangles. I then placed my filling on one side of the dough, rolled it up, and rolled it back into a circular shape. Once I was finished with that, we put them in a frying pan with hot oil and cooked them to taste. We made a sauce using a mix of rice vinegar, soy sauce, and water. The process was a little tedious but worth it because they were elegant. Jackson Goyings, 12th Grade

January 5, 2023

Physical & Mental Well-Being

Today for Physical and Mental Well-Being, we had our normal healthy breakfast followed by a 20-minute Stress and Anxiety relief meditation. The following hours were spent at one of Clarksville’s hidden Gems, Mt. Olive Cemetery. There we learned lots of information about the physical and mental lifestyle lived during slavery and the health issues encumbered during the time period. Our students then rushed back to assist the library with the break out of our new box books to Kindergarten. In the afternoon portion of Winterim, we viewed a Ted talk on Social Health and discussed our field trip and information gained through the Social Health video. For the last segment today, our students were introduced to circuit training and performed a full-body circuit training workout. 


Today in our culinary Winterim, we made a variety of pasta taught to us by Chef Kris of Black Diamond Culinary. We first made potato gnocchi, an Italian-style dumpling made from potatoes. Next, Chef Kris helped us make fettuccini pasta, which was put through several machines to thin out the dough and cut out pasta strips. While this was taking place, other students were making fine sauces that would go along with the pasta and garlic bread. Finally, all the pasta was put into the pot and cooked, and it was delicious! For dessert, we had Tiramisu Cake and Italian Lemon Cake. Truly one of the most fun and interactive cooking classes ever! Sedge Waltmann, 9th Grade

Community Engagement

Today students volunteered at Manna Cafe during the morning helping to prep items for distribution. In the afternoon students helped with tasks around CA’s camp – moving the old cafeteria tables and chairs to storage, organizing the concessions area and helping in the Library. 

Willie Wilson shadowed Dr. Steven Zavers (Pharmacist), Kelvin Ladner shadowed Frazier Allen (Businessman) and Sawyer Barnes shadowed Erin Poland (Attorney)

Music City

Today began with a walking donut tour in downtown Nashville. It was 2 hrs of a little bit of sightseeing, history, and a whole lot of DONUTS! We enjoyed this one a little too much. There was something significant about each of the donut parlors we visited, and by the end, we all were able to decide which was our favorite. Next, we stopped to visit both the Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline Museums. There were so many things to see and many hands listening activities. We all were amazed at the length of Cash’s career and the things he accomplished even in his old age. On the contrary, Cline’s career had nearly just begun before she died too soon, but the impact she made in that little time is quite remarkable. Lastly, we visited Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, and we did not only tour his mansion but also participated in a special tour highlighting the lives of the many enslaved workers Jackson owned. Walking through what their lives would have looked like at that time was very enlightening. It was a great day!

New Orleans

Day 3 in New Orleans began at the National WWII Museum.  Once we were able to drag Coach Trent away, we walked over to Mardi Gras World and saw props being constructed for this year’s Mardi Gras parade — in 47 days.  The streetcar took us to the Jazz Museum before we met our local tour guide in Louis Armstrong Park.  David, a former teacher, entertained us with stories about Louisiana’s unique culture and music history.  Our lagniappe of the the day was Iko, a 30-year-old cockatoo, who lives on Burgundy Street in the French Quarter. Iko, named for Dr. John’s song “Iko Iko,” greeted us with “Hello,” and David serenaded her with jazz music.     


Today students worked on paper art crafts. First, we talked about quilling, a 15th-century French and Italian art in which paper strips are curled into different shapes to create varying designs. It is a very relaxing craft but can be a little tedious. However, students picked it up quickly and made some incredible designs. Then, we talked about Japanese origami. Students followed online tutorials to create birds, stars, and paper airplanes. Luckily, the weather was perfect for testing out our kites from Tuesday. Tomorrow we will get our pottery painted and wrap up our week with an art parlor game from the early 1920s.


We started the morning off on Thursday at a local favorite, The Stuffed Pig, for breakfast. After we finished there, we went to Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters. Students had a guided tour through the aquarium, where they learned about the different species and the rehab and conservation efforts to protect them. Students learned about conch shells and why they are so protected in Florida. Students dressed in wet suits and got into the aquarium tanks, where they interacted with the sting rays and fish. They could free-swim and feed both the sting rays and the fish. They could also feed the sharks in the tank next to them! While at the aquarium, students were given a tour of the life support system (LSS) at the aquarium and were shown how they monitored the water quality throughout the facility. We were also able to dissect squids and learn about the anatomy of the squid!

That afternoon we ventured to The Turtle Hospital. The Turtle Hospital is open 24/7 and specializes in the rescue and rehabilitation of sea turtles. Students learned about the effects of pollution and human impact on our turtle population and what we can do to help with conservation efforts to protect all the different species of sea turtles. After the presentation, students were given a tour of the hospital and the current turtles that are there for medical care and rehabilitation. We were also allowed to adopt one of the resident turtles. Resident turtles were injured to the point where they will never be released back to the wild and are cared for at the facility.

We finished our night up with a dinner at Burdines Waterfront.


We started out the day funneling to our bus after leaving one of the best hotels in Galway and began the journey up the winding roads of the countryside in County Clare; one hill was aptly named “corkscrew hill” because the road bent back on itself. We arrived at the Cliffs of Moher to a breathtaking view of waves crashing against the cliffs, and we could go into a nearby 19th-century tower that gave us a better view of the entire cliffside.

After the cliffs, we headed back towards Galway, where we visited a schoolhouse and a castle called Thoor Ballylee, which are both funded and run by the local community. The schoolhouse was a significant meeting place for writers and, most significantly, W.B. Yates, who lived in the nearby castle when he wrote his most famous poems, interestingly after he had already won the Nobel Prize. The castle had a creek running along the kitchen window, which was picturesque (perfect for a poet), and had a relatively more recent addition of a house connected to the still-standing castle tower.

Once finished at the castle, we had tea and cakes at a cafe halfway between Galway and Dublin. The return to Dublin ended with a nice take on American BBQ for dinner, which was good for anyone feeling a bit homesick. Overall, it was a fantastic day with moments of awe while at the cliffs and moments of downtime catching up on sleep while riding the bus back to Dublin. –Connor Crain, 11th Grade


The Disney Design Winterim had an epic day at Epcot! Students took the staff-only entrance through the back lots of the park to the Disney Imagination Campus. Students experimented hands-on with the inner workings of animatronics and then crawled in the dark backstage. To see the technology firsthand at both the American Adventure and Ratatouille! Students spent the afternoon on a global adventure, sampling everything from scones to sushi. Students explored the rides at the park, and some even had the chance to ride the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride!


What a day here in Iceland with the Clarksville Academy kids!!

We started with a tour of one of the many lava tunnels around the island before we took things to a new level of adventure!!

We were snorkeling in the freezing waters at Silfra, in the middle of two tectonic plates. This is off-the-charts crazy and incredibly cold. The water temperature was 32, and the air temperature was 14. The kids and staff donned dry suits and braved the frigid waters for a once-in-a-lifetime experience they will never forget as they swam in the gap between the North American and Eurasian plates. We are now hoping everyone thaws out before dinner and our next adventures tomorrow.

GIS Center

We learned how to 3D print. We learned how to slice our figures to 3D print them. We also learned how to laser print photos onto wood. Next, we learned how to build a simple drone, which included screwing the motors to the drone’s base. Finally, we did the drone flying simulator to help us with flying drones outside competitively the next day. –Devin Cheek, 9th Grade


For our third day of Winterim, we met in my classroom as we have each day and ate breakfast while having a discussion. Shortly after, we went to Trifecta Fitness to participate in a strength training class. The class was a great workout and tested the whole body. After that, we took a break for lunch. After lunch, we took a break to get ready for a walk at Dunbar Cave Park. Dunbar is always a great place to run/walk, and it was no exception today with the great weather.


All had a super fun day with a trip back to Universal Studios and all things Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, and Marvel Comics! Our students were on a quest to ride all of the attractions as many times as possible with the roller coasters known as “The Hulk,” “The Velocicoaster,” “Revenge of the Mummy,” “Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket,” and “Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike” at the top of the list! Wow! Wow! Wow! These rides were fantastic, and the laughing and screaming were nonstop, except for the wait times in line. No worries, though, as that was a perfect time for students and the chaperones to get to know each other better and further enjoy each others’ company.

January 5, 2023


The kids spent the morning running around Reykjavik on foot and scooters, enjoying some free time, and shopping for souvenirs and gifts.

In the afternoon, we traveled to take in, and explore the Kerid Volcanic Crater, formed 6500 years ago by an eruption. After a quick stop for cake and coffee, we finished our week with what was undoubtedly well deserved, a soak in the world-famous ‘Blue Lagoon,’ Iceland’s largest geothermal hot spring. A week worth of fun and excitement leaves them with tired muscles that the Lagoon was able to soothe!!


Today students took a look at the Theme Park Design. Students analyzed the stories told by the Disney team. Students evaluated the various components of everything from Main Street to the backstage spaces that create the magic. Students then had the chance to work with a team, design their own three-dimensional theme park, and present it to the Disney Imagineers! We spent the afternoon exploring Magic Kingdom! We rode Space Mountain and Splash Mountain! We ate Dole Whip and purchased souvenirs! We’re heading home tomorrow!


When we first started learning how to use drones for mapping and operations, this led us to learning how to create a flight plan for the drone to plan to. This would give the drone its flight direction. This leads you to set the parameters so you can complete the pre-flight checklist you go through before the drone takes off. After completing the checklist, we would input the distance and images into the drone. It would take pictures or videos while the drone is in flight. After bringing the drone back, we set up an obstacle course to race between the two teams with the drones. –Jacques Wyatt, Senior

Music City

We wrapped up our fun today by visiting the beautiful Belle Meade Plantation, which has many of the original home furnishings from the 1800s. It was so cool to see! We learned much about the Harding/Jackson family and their great thoroughbred horse breeding business. We had a fabulous southern cuisine lunch right on the property. Finally, we stopped at the Parthenon. Incredibly, Nashville is home to the world’s only full-scale replica of the Greek Temple! It was vast and mind-blowing to see. We especially enjoyed the student art displayed on the second floor from the art contest winners. It was a gorgeous day out, so before we loaded up, we all could take one last stroll in Centennial Park to chat about our week of learning. We even fed the ducks and geese that live in the man-made pond “Lake Watauga.” This was one of the best parts of all week!


We wrapped up the week by painting our pottery and playing games. The students were so creative this week and seemed to enjoy the week. I think we will all miss being able to spend the days playing in paint and clay!


Today during our final day in culinary class, we created savory and sweet crêpes. Crêpes are ultra-thin French-style pancakes. They are very versatile and fun to use creatively. We made our crêpe batter and cooked each delicate pancake. Then, we made the fillings from scratch. We made a spinach filling for one of the savory crêpes. We also created a savory crêpe containing ham coated in breadcrumbs, then folded and fried. For our sweet crêpes, we used chopped strawberries covered in sugar and topped with fluffy whipped cream. To go along with our savory crêpes, we made a treat called popovers. Popovers are rolls made in muffin tins. Crêpes were a tremendous final lesson. It was interesting to have a dish that could work as dinner and dessert. I Enjoyed our class with Chef Kris and will miss learning and eating every day at Black Diamond Culinary School! –Nora Shea, 9th Grade


The culmination of our Winterim trip was our indoor skydiving lesson and STEM class with “iFLY”! This was one of the most anticipated events for our group, where the instructors gave us a course on the aerodynamics of free fall parachuting and proper body position while inside the air tube chamber. The Instructors did a fantastic job with all our students flying in a simulated free fall. Upon concluding, we had a late lunch at “Hard Rock Cafe” and then headed to the airport. It’s been a wonderful trip with awesome course leaders, and our CA students had beautiful weather and fun times. We hope next year’s Winterim will be just as fun!


Friday, April 8, three Clarksville Academy teachers and one Administrator embarked on a trip of the lifetime. They flew to Chicago and met up with a group of twenty more teachers and from there headed to Finland. They will spend the next week, immersing themselves in the culture, visiting area schools to experience new teaching techniques, and will even get to spend some time exploring. They are still adjusting to the eight hour time difference! Follow along as we experience their adventure with them! Sherry Cawood, Middle School, Gina Goostree, Head of Lower School, Shelley Holt, Lower School and Christine Lindsey, Upper School will fill us in on their daily adventures!

Friday, April 8-Saturday, April 9

CA faculty heading to Finland are full of anticipation for the trip. After many hours in O’Hare, we boarded for our 6.5 hour flight to Reykjavik, Iceland. We had a very brief layover.  In 0 degrees Celsius and gusty winds we boarded our final flight to Helsinki, Finland. We arrived at 2 p.m. for a tour of Helsinki to learn about its vast history and culture. Following the tour, we took a quick rest and joined our group for dinner. Tomorrow begins another exciting day! –Shelley Holt, Pre-K

Sunday, April 10

We began the week’s educational experience on Sunday by learning more about Finland’s history and culture. In the morning we traveled to the town of Porvoo, one of six medieval towns in Finland. Porvoo, We began the week’s educational experience on Sunday by learning more about Finland’s history and culture.  In the morning we traveled to the town of Porvoo, one of six medieval towns in Finland. Porvoo, which means castle on a river in Swedish, is 200 years older than Helsinki.  Finland’s long history with Sweden was evidenced here in the architecture, signs, and the number of residents (30%) who speak Swedish as their primary language.  After lunch we traveled to Suomenlinna Island, a World Heritage UNESCO site.  Here we learned more about Finland’s history with Russia.  On Suomenlinna Island (linna=castle) is a fortress built in the mid 1700s on one of 8 islands in an archipelago.  At this time the Swedish Empire was concerned about the developing city of St. Petersburg in Russia and built the fortress as a defense.  Finland was ceded to Russia by Sweden in 1809, and in 1917 Finland declared independence from Russia.  A few buildings still have the onion top design, though most were removed.  After we returned from Suomenlinna we had the opportunity to explore the waterfront market.  The evening was capped with a group meeting including the 16 educators joining us from Chicago and administrators from the schools we will visit tomorrow. –Christine Lindsey, US Science

Monday, April 11

Moi (Hello) from Finland! What an awesome day! Wow! We started our day at /Otaniemen Lukio Upper Secondary School for Mathematics and Natural Science in Espoo, a Helsinki suburb. The school mascot is the bear.

The school library at Otaniemen Lukio Upper Secondary School & a classroom at Otaniemen Lukio Upper Secondary School.

The school was designed in collaboration with the students. Students selected the colors, designed the mascot and were instrumental in deciding the layout and furnishings. One of the student’s top “wishes” for their communal space was the coolest indoor conversation swing set.  All morning, we were looking for a few spare minutes to try out those fabulous swings!

Our guest speaker, Jari Lavonen, Ph.D. and head of the Department of Teacher Training at Helsinki University, discussed design thinking and the innovative process of creating multidisciplinary learning modules and implementing and sustaining multidisciplinary courses. 
Mrs. Lindsey’s morning also included time in the high school robotics lab learning more about their program.  Mrs. Goostree, Mrs. Holt and Mrs. Cawood visited at nearby Laajalahti Elementary School. We sat in a third grade classroom as the teacher demonstrated how robotics is implemented in Finland for that age. Later, we watched the teacher start a project based learning activity on weather instruments with sixth grade students. 

Next, we headed back to the Secondary School to eat the school cafeteria lunch. Finland focuses on teaching healthy eating habits in children from an early age. Our menu was baked fish, boiled potatoes and other vegetables along with a salad and several toppings. 

Our afternoon was spent at Aalto University Junior. We observed high school students visiting the lab for the day to make and test  a compound of aspirin. 

Next, we headed upstairs to a classroom for our own hands-on activity. We assembled  a hydrogen-fueled model car as part of our discussion on the activities that Aalto does in their program. 

We ended our day with a breathtaking ride on the Ferris Wheel overlooking The Baltic Sea.

Our guide told us that the number one thing we should not miss is a visit to the Helsinki Central Library Public. She was right. It did not disappoint! When designing the library, a survey was sent out asking the residents what they would like to have in a library. The library’s second floor incorporates their wishes. This level offers everything from sewing machines, 3D printers, gaming rooms, oversized printing, meeting rooms, a demonstration kitchen, recording studios, green screens and video production equipment, and musical instruments that may be checked out with a library card. It was truly a fascinating place to see!   –Sherry Cawood, MS Social Studies

Tuesday, April 12

Greetings from Finland.  Tuesday, April 12, we ventured to the Eastern side of Helsinki.  We were split into two groups to pay a visit to two Finland schools.  

Mrs. Lindsey visited Vuosaari Upper Secondary School, (age groups 16 – 18).  As you can see, she had a close encounter with a unique Finnish guy…..

Puistopolku Comprehensive School, (age groups 7 – 15), welcomed Mrs. Cawood, Mrs. Holt, and me.  While there, we observed classes, held dialogues with teachers, and toured the school.  The Finns believe they are the world’s most impactful, equitable, and effective place for learning.  The government requires good schools for every student, for all to be respected as valued individuals, and a strong democratic school community.  We were amazed all the elementary schools are shoe free!  Notice the students, at their desks, are wearing only socks. 

Even visitors are required to wear shoe covers. Check out our fancy feet!

Our lunch, was at Luonnontiedelukio Upper Secondary School of Natural Sciences, in Helsinki.  The schools provide lunches for all students, and they are not allowed to bring lunches from home.  All students in elementary and secondary school self serve their lunches. 

The students are taught responsibility at an early age.  In some areas, groups of seven year olds and older walk home alone.  Parents are at work and homes are unlocked.

We visited Helsinki’s Design Museum for a dialogue dedicated to design thinking and learning in the Finnish education sector.  Finnish design has established a reputation as a flag bearer for equality.  Many of its most iconic design products have been perceived as having the ability to increase equality in daily lives.  The Design for Every Body exhibition addresses this idea.

The first unisex fashion collection was designed, for Marimekko, in 1968. The design was inspired by the American youth fashion trends and was hailed as a symbol of equality because everyone looked the same. 

Bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland, as well as Sweden, Norway, and Russia, Finland is the northernmost country in the European Union.  The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean enclosed by Finland, Estonia, and other European countries.  Upon an administrator’s request, (Guess who?), our tour guide was kind enough to stop the bus, so we could touch the Baltic Sea!  How intriguing! –Gina Goostree, Head of LS

Wednesday, April 13

For our last morning in Helsinki, we began our morning at the Olari School in Espoo, Finland.

Teachers shared about their programming and robotics program, mathematics, and science. We also watched a demonstration by the robotics club. After visiting classrooms, students gave us a tour of their wonderful school.

Next, we visited Code School Finland at the Helsinki Education Hub. Code School Finland works with schools and trains teachers to teach coding, programming, AI, and robotics. They walked us through the history of Finnish education, the unique Finnish approach, and the services they offer. 

Next, we were off to the ferry terminal. We travelled two hours across the Gulf of Finland to Tallin, Estonia.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by our Estonian guide and his family and given a very quick tour of the downtown Tallinn area. We checked into our hotel and set off on foot to explore the picturesque Tallinn Old Town. It is the best preserved medieval city in Northern Europe with  Gothic spires, winding cobblestone streets and absolutely enchanting architecture.

Lastly, Mrs. Lindsey stopped a couple of local police officers to complete a special request for Officer Dericho. These very kind officers gave a “challenge patch” to take back to Dericho along with their name and address for him to mail one back in return. –Shelley Holt, LS Teacher

Thursday, April 14

Tere (hello) from Tallinn! Thursday morning started with a visit to Tallinna XXI Kool, or Tallinn School 21. We were greeted by a beautiful performance from the choir. Silva and Michelle were our student guides on a tour of a first grade class, library, robotics lab, and music, physics, and math classes.  The walls are covered with incredible student art. Every year the school chooses a different country as a theme and the art reflects that choice. This year’s country is Egypt. The students were welcoming and answered many questions, and instructors shared the resources used to incorporate STEAM into as many classes as possible.Our second school is Pelgulinna Gymnasium, a grade 1-9 arts focused school with 850 students.  Pelgulinna’s motto is “Choose Create and Do”. We saw the school’s pool with a swimming lesson in session and were treated to a performance by the first grade music class. We participated in a robotics lesson with third graders before a presentation on the school’s mission and growth.The third and final school on our itinerary was Tallinn University. We learned about the Tallinn educational system and its history before spending time in the EduTech space.The evening will be spent exploring Tallinn’s beautiful Old Town. Good Friday is celebrated in Estonia so we will head to Lahemaa National Park tomorrow morning! –Christine Lindsey, US Science

Friday, April 15

This was a “Good Friday” in more ways than one! Today was spent learning more about the geography and history of Estonia. We started our cold, rainy morning with a visit to an ancient burial site.

Next, we toured two manor houses built in the 1700’s and learned the history of the families that built them. 

We traveled about an hour outside of the city of Tallinn to Lahemaa National Park. We hiked along the icy trail through the bogs.. Our guide stressed that if we accidentally stepped off the trail pathway, that our footprint would remain for 15 to 20 years due to the composition of the bog.

The trees in the forrest are about 150 years old. The guide had everyone in our group place a hand on the tree to focus on the tranquility in nature and the inner peace one can find when connecting with nature.

Our view from the scenic overlook of the bogs and forrest. 

Our next stop was in a quaint little fishing village on The Baltic Sea for the loveliest lunch of smoked salmon, boiled potatoes and rhubarb squares. We toured the Maritime Museum and got to touch the The Baltic Sea once again, but on the opposite shoreline from earlier in the week.

We ended the day back in the capital city of Tallinn exploring The Medieval Old Town. It’s a full moon and the 500 year old buildings looked like something straight out of a fairy tale. The night was absolutely magical! –Sherry Cawood, MS Social Studies 

Saturday, April 17

We began our long journey home! Thanks to all who followed along!

Winterim–Backcountry Camping

Our Backcountry hiking course is designed for the high purpose of experiencing and observing self and nature for the improvement and appreciation of both. Some excellent benefits of this course are personal health, maturity, and independence. We’ll also learn some practical survival skills and have an adventure. During our two weeks together we’ll spend time learning about gear, practices, principles and philosophies of hiking. We’ll also take several hiking trips, each one longer than the last, culminating with a 3 night backcountry hike in the Apalachicola National Forest in Florida. This year we have 7 young men participating and having a great time. Hammock camping is the way to go!!

Aside from on campus training, we had three main off campus events. First, we attended a training session at Dunbar Cave with ranger John Ball. We hiked at LBL, making a 5 mile loop to test our gear. Then we headed down to Florida and hiked 12 miles to a backcountry campsite in the Apalachicola National Forest.
We camped and hiked and learned about backpacking and prepping for survival in the wilderness. We got to know each other better and had a great time and got some great memories. This was a wonderful experience for our students. When asked about their trip a couple of the students commented,
“It was like a reset for my brain, so I can come back and I don’t take for granted the things I have.”
-Landon Bailey
“Keep your head up and look at the world around you”
-Tyler Lucas


Over the next two weeks students will learn what means to be an entrepreneur.  They will meet with local leaders, small business owners and financial advisors to learn what it takes to begin a small business. The culmination of their work will be to produce and sell a self crafted soda.


Day 1: Students began by getting to know one another, dream casting their ideas and learning about leadership theory.  We began by playing Jenga–with a twist; the task was to encourage one another so that all 15 students would get a turn, and on each block there was an icebreaker question.  Students were separated into three business groups by random draw and this will be their small business team for the week. Groups later toured campus to decide on the best use of the funds raised through their business venture–where and how can they give back to CA?  The afternoon was spent in a master-class in leadership theory led by CA Alumna Erica Christmas.

Day 2: Students traveled to the Escape Game in Clarksville to try their luck at problem solving, team bonding and identifying leadership skills of their group members.  After successfully escaping all four rooms, students travelled to the Ft. Campbell Outdoor Recreation center  to participate in the Odyssey Challenge Course, a ropes course activity.  This course was just another way to learn team work, community building and leadership in their groups.


Day 3: The group traveled to Thrive Creative Group to speak with owner Lorilee Rager and her team.  Mrs. Rager provided the group with a wealth of information on marketing and branding.  After lunch, students returned to campus to brainstorm product names, marketing strategies and branding opportunities.

Day 4: The group travelled to Project 2231 to tour Miss Lucille’s, Belle Hollow, ACME Athletics, and The City Forum. We heard from Clifford who told us the story behind each business venture, and the students came out with a new appreciation for all of the hard work that goes into the entertainment business. We bowled, ate delicious pizza, and played in the arcade before returning to CA to finish our work for the day.

Day 5: The group heard from three key figures in the entrepreneur community in Clarksville: Janie Manning, owner of NBalance Yoga Studio; Austin Cherry, CA alumnus and owner of Cherry’s Custom Concrete; and Lorneth Peters, Director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at APSU. The students listened to a panel discussion and an open Q&A session afterward. Later that morning the group walked over to F&M Bank to hear from Nelson Boehms about small business financing options for emerging entrepreneurs. After a meal at Blackhorse, they headed back to CA to work within roles to develop graphics, marketing strategies, sales plans, and more.

DAY 6:

We had a big time brewing our sodas at Kings Bluff Brewery! Dustin Brewer gave us lots of details about how his business operates and what they stand for in our community. The groups will brew Root Beer, Orange and Grape Sodas!  Stay tuned!

Winterim–Journalism & Media

The Journalism Winterim is exploring what Journalism and Media are, and what a Journalist does. Over the two weeks of Winterim, we will meet with journalists, photojournalists, and editors to ask questions and learn about their jobs. By the end of our class, the students will write, take photos, and edit a small CA newspaper.


Day 1 was spent brainstorming ideas for our publication and getting to know one another. Day 2 the group travelled to The Leaf Chronicle to speak with Editor, Chris Smith about the importance of the newspaper and the different aspects of journalism.

Journalism students met Jennifer Babich, an investigative journalist with The Leaf Chronicle, who also has experience in radio and TV. She spoke to us about her experiences and answered questions on various journalism topics.

Winterim–Web Game Development

A group of CA students and one teacher are spending the next two weeks immersed in a web game development and coding experience at Austin Peay State University.  This group of students will build their own computer game from start to finish.  Follow along as they explore the world of gaming, programming and coding!


Day 1: Mrs. Hardison introduced the group to the facilities at APSU and to their instructor for the course.  The students were eager to learn and found themselves designing the beginning elements for their game.

Senior Jacopo Manini– “I thought that the first day of the camp was really fun and interesting. I have never done anything with coding and am learning that I might be interested in a career with creating video games. We are learning a lot about the Unity engine and the C# language. These are key to know for anyone who might be interested in computer science and engineering. Thank you so much for offering this possibility and class!”

Junior Jackson Trotter–“This is Clarksville Academy’s first winterim, so I didn’t exactly know what to expect. I have had prior experience and interest in computer science but was unfamiliar with game development which motivated me to join this particular winterim. The first day was extremely interesting and was an excellent way to start off this experience. I am excited to see what the rest of these two weeks entail!”

In the first two days of coding camp the students have learned how to create a car in a virtual world using the Unity game engine. They were able to access the store to add features such as rocks, and trees to their game. The students have learned that it takes a lot of time to program a simple task such as moving a car forward. They also learned how to move their car in different directions to avoid objects in the road and apply different camera views to their games. They finished their first lesson and  Wednesday will start on their second project. The students are paired up in teams and will begin thinking about a game that they would like to develop.
“The camp is extremely insightful and makes me appreciate the amount of time and effort it takes to create video games. Even the simplest tasks are not so easy. “- Senior, Brennen Morrow

Day 3: Today the group began their second project where they learned how to install characters, animals, and food into a game. They also learned how to move these objects and eventually were able to have the player throw food at the animals. In the afternoon they were given time to work on their group game development.

“We learned multiple aspects of coding today, such as the use of prefabricated items by throwing them. It was quite informative and I’ve learned so much about coding in just this short amount of time.” -Silas Elder, CA Junior
“We learned how projectiles are created and how to allow other objects in the scene to move besides the player. I never knew anything about coding but I’ve learned and retained a lot in these 3 days.” -Dalton Daniels, CA Junior 

Day 4: Today they finished their second challenge in the Unity Gaming Engine called Fetch. In this challenge they had to attempt to get balls to randomly fall from the sky and then send their dog out to catch them before they hit the ground. We will start our next challenge tomorrow. The students are powering through and learning how it can take hours to complete a simple coding activity.


Organization 101

Kayla Morgan, FUSE Coordinator

When I was asked to write a blog post on organization, I giggled. Me? Organized? Yet as crazy as life on the hamster wheel can seem, the reality is that I am a very organized person. Without organization being present in my life, that hamster wheel would turn into the exercise ball, rolling down a set of stairs, with a loose lid… and no one wants a hamster loose in their house!

So where to begin? There is no perfect recipe for living an organized life. We all have our own routines, and things that we have found to work for our families. Some prefer mapped out methods, whereas others are more about day-to-day survival. One thing we all more than likely have in common is the desire to come out of each day with our head above water and the majority of our checklist complete.

Let’s Go Home

Who doesn’t love being in the comfort of a freshly cleaned house where everything is in its place? We begin and end our days at home; therefore, it makes sense that starting our journey to organization begins there.

De-cluttering is a must. Although I am not a follower of The KonMari Method, I do love the idea of asking yourself, “Does it spark joy?”. Periodically cleaning out different areas of your home, while asking yourself this question along the way, can really help begin the process. Before you can truly organize your belongings you need to know what you have. The ability to locate everything at home, even if that means inside of stacked and labeled Tupperware boxes, will eliminate stress and frustration in those moments when you just need things to come together easily.

Once you have cleaned out, have a yard sale with a goal in mind to get something that your family is really wanting or needing. If you are not up for the “fun” of having a sale, head to the donation spot of your choice. The weight of all of your “non-joy bringing junk” will instantly be lifted off of your shoulders!

It’s easy for organization to fly out the window in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life. Here are some of my personal tips for everyday organization at home.

  • Eliminate “drop-zones” by creating a family command center. Give each family member an assigned area to place their belongings as soon as they arrive home each day. This is also a great place for chore charts or a family to-do list.
  • Keep a family calendar visible so that everyone can stay up to speed on what is coming up.
  • Map out the week each Sunday so that you have time to seek out help or rearrange plans if necessary.
  • Plan out your meals for the week, but be realistic. Everybody needs a pick-up dinner or fend for yourself night at least once a week.
  • Keep a running grocery list. Quick stops at the store add up fast, and take up time that most of us don’t have to spare.
  • Keep extras on hand. Buy quickly consumed school supplies when it goes on clearance, and keep it for replenishing as the year goes by. I also keep essentials like paper towels, toilet paper, detergent, extra toothbrushes, hairspray, eyeliner, and obviously… coffee… in stock.
  • Have a designated homework area that is free from distraction.
  • School stacks are perfect for students. I tell my students to pick a

    spot near a plug, where they can stack their school items before bed, plugging their technology in right on top. This makes mornings much easier.

  • Pack lunches and lay out clothes the night before. If you are like me, you’re spinning out of the driveway on two wheels each morning to make it to where you’re going on time.
  • Establish morning and evening routines. Realistically, we all function better when we know what to expect. Set your family up for success by putting these plans in place and sticking to them.
  • Straighten up before bed each night. Something is to be said about waking up to a neat house. Although it may be hard to muster up that five extra minutes of energy once everyone is in bed, you’ll be glad you did it the next morning.
  • It never fails that our brains catch their second wind once our heads hit the pillow. To avoid the anxiety of forgetting something the next day, try sending yourself emails, setting reminders in your phone, keeping a list in your notes app, or simply keeping a notepad by your bed.

    In the Midst of the Grind

    Outside of home, in the middle of your daily grind, what are things that you can do to try and stay on top of it all? This is a question with unlimited answers. It’s really all about trying different things and picking what works best for you. Realistically, what works in one phase of life, may not in the

next. What works for one family, may miserably fail for another. It’s okay to mix it up and to do it your way. Here are a few ideas you can try.

  • good old-fashioned daily to-do lists
  • use post-it notes to leave reminders where they can’t be missed
  • prioritize tasks and have a daily/weekly routine to meet goals
  • use a paper planner or a planner app
  • set reminders for important deadlines or appointments
  • use Google Docs (good for running grocery/to-do lists)
  • use family organization apps that can be shared on devices
  • follow organization blogs for new and fresh ideas
  • Pinterest boards for storing ideas/planning events
  • keep a neat and organized work space
  • keep a trash can/bag in your car and necessities in your console

    I hope that through reading this post you have gained at least one idea you feel could help you in your quest for organization. I’ll leave you with words from the insightful Benjamin Franklin, “For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.”

    Now, I’ve got to go get my life together!

Homework–Do we need it?

By: Patrick Miller, Intermediate Math Teacher

Why is Homework Important? What does my child gain from doing work outside the classroom?  These are questions parents often ask when it comes to assignments outside the classroom. Homework should be positive in the eyes of the children.  It should be short and to the point. The goal is to practice on the concept that was just taught in class and to be a review of previous concepts.  Also, if a student feels confident about the homework assignment, it will translate in the test scores on the particular concept.  If a student struggles on the concept, it gives the student a wonderful opportunity to reach out and ask for help.  Homework teaches children major life skills they will need for the rest of their life.  Three major life skills are time management, problem solving, and self-discipline.


The time management piece is one of the most difficult for children.  If a student learns about time management and how to prioritize all of their tasks, deadlines will be met on time.  Learning to complete assignments on time and prioritizing assignments based on length of assignment and due date will help them in the future. Time management has a real-world connection, such as, paying bills as an adult.


The problem-solving piece is a wonderful way for students to overcome challenges at an early age. Having students think through a problem to reach a solution is valuable and beneficial in the childhood development. Every challenge is not going to be a one-step process.  Challenges in life often require multi-step problem solving.  Also, another valuable life lesson in problem solving is every challenge is not going to be solved the same way.  For example, 2 x 1 = 2 and 4 x ½ = 2.  One person might have said that the correct way to solve the problem was 2 x1 while another person may have said 4 x ½.  If students get the correct answer and justify how they arrived at their answer that is most important.  If there was a minor mistake, a student can learn from their mistake if work is shown.


The self-discipline is another challenge that students face each day.  Do I want to go to the movie with my friends or stay at home and finish my homework?  We all know what is probably the most fun choice.  However, if we teach self-discipline at an early age it makes all the outside distractions easier to work though.  This will be very beneficial for students later on in high school and college.   Also, this self-discipline will equip everyone to being a life long learner.


Homework isn’t something teachers take lightly.  The goal isn’t to punish the students or to give busy work. Homework serves a purpose in your child’s education and one that will help them throughout their life.

Fitness & Weight Training

By: John Crosby, Fitness Instructor

At the high school level, the importance of fitness training through use of the weight room should be strongly emphasized.  Fitness classes offered to students in grades 8-12 is a strong trend in education today. Many classes are in session 5 days a week, with an emphasis on weight training 4 of those days, separated by an active recovery day in the middle. Several scientific studies in recent years support the idea that fitness groups during the school day can greatly enhance the learning abilities of a student in the classroom. Alongside this, athletes see great improvement on a weekly basis for their respective sports. 

The first thing that is emphasized in weight training classes is safety. Students are taught the importance of correct exercise form, as well as weight room etiquette. Once these practices are effectively managed, students will demonstrate the ability to warm-up the body through pre-workout exercises. These exercises are done for both short term and long term injury prevention. For example, rotator cuff strengthening is a point of emphasis for upper body days that involve pressing from the chest and shoulders. Active dynamic warmup exercises are done at the beginning of each workout as a way to prepare the body to be at its best for the workout to come. 

Once the workout is in session,  a goal should be to improve several aspects of the student’s performance. These include, muscular strength, muscular endurance, explosion, mobility and flexibility. Some workouts are more focused on a strength building/ low repetition approach, while others are primarily focused on a high repetition/ endurance approach. There is an equal amount of targeting the anterior chain, as well as the posterior chain of the body. Each student should be pushed to reach their full physical potential regardless of the focal point on a given day.  

The end goal of a fitness department at any academic institution is to teach and promote how to live a healthy/active lifestyle after high school. If a student can take any of the ideas that are taught during their time in a fitness class and apply them to their life outside of school, then the instructor’s goal has been accomplished. 

Begin Your Journey.