Winterim 2022

January 8, 2022

Aloha! Today we woke up bright and early to hit the road on the surf bus! We had the BEST driver who gave us lots of information about the history and geography of Hawaii. He also let us take pictures at some scenic stops! We headed north to Waimea Falls, where we began our 30-minute hike up to the waterfall. The water was freezing, but we all had so much fun jumping in. after we hiked down, we were able to stop at Haleiwa, where we ate some delicious burgers, amazing Hawaiian shave ice, and browsed some charming little shops. after this, we boarded the surf bus. We headed to a quick stop at the Dole Plantation, where we could shop in the gigantic gift shop and sample the iconic dole whip! We headed back to the hotel to get ready for our sunset dinner cruise, where we enjoyed a delicious dinner and a fabulous Polynesian show and took tons of sunset pictures! after we left the dinner, we went out for one final run to the ABC store and headed into our hotel to pack up for our early flight home. (Graysie ’22)

January 7, 2022

Southern Cities

Today began our last day of touring; we headed out to Patriot’s Point to take a self-guided tour through the USS Yorktown. We toured the flight deck, museums on the ship, and some of us sat in the Captain’s bridge seats and even saw a dolphin. We then had a picnic-style lunch on the bus.

After lunch, we boarded our boat for the tour to Fort Sumter. At Fort Sumter, we had a guided tour and some time to explore independently. The fort saw the first casualties of the Civil War, but interestingly not during the 34-hour bombardment. After the Union surrendered the fort to the South Carolinian confederate troops, two men were killed during a 100 gun salute. The Confederacy would hold the fort, under constant attack, until February 1865, when General William T. Sherman swept through the south, leaving a trail of fire, destruction, and fear in his wake.

We boarded the boat to head back to Charleston for a carriage tour. Our carriage was pulled by a draft horse named Gibbes, an old Charlestonian name. Gibbes just returned from a long vacation after the carriage company rotated their horses from work to open fields; they do this routinely. The draft horses in Charleston have usually rescued horses, and the adoption extends their life by approximately ten years longer than if they had been left in their previous conditions. While on tour, we learned about the city’s modern culture, houses and rode through the college campus. The students got to pet Gibbes before heading back to the bus for dinner.

Our final night on the trip, dinner was a relaxed affair at Andolini’s Pizza, where we shared (family style) breadsticks and pizza; we each got our bowl of salad, spaghetti, and a chocolate chip cookie. After everyone had time to shower and pack up for our early morning departure, some of us partook in a fierce hand of Uno. It was a great way to finish the trip! Once back at the hotel, we said goodbye to our phenomenal tour guide, Robin. In the morning, we will board the bus, with the talented Kenny at the helm, to head home full of stories, experiences, and great memories.


We started the day at 10:30 for pickup, and it was a lovely morning because we got lots of rest! Our tour guide was Earl, who we love, but he tends to make many stops, so the bus ride took a while. We stopped at many scenic spots to take pictures, and Earl informed us of each site and its significance. On our way to the Polynesian Cultural Center, we stopped at Fumi’s to eat. They only have eight items on the menu, and it’s all shrimp—except one chicken item. The shrimp was super fresh and yummy! There was also a live performer singing while we ate outside; his name was Woody. He made lots of jokes and was a good singer. After that, we were off to the Polynesian Cultural Center. We were greeted by our tour guide Lorran (pronounced Lohan), from Brazil, when we got there. He was an excellent tour guide and showed us each of the highlighted islands at the center. My favorite island was Samoa. The show we watched there was super funny and entertaining. We also went on a canoe ride through the “islands.” After going through each island and learning about their cultures, we made our way to the Luau. We were greeted with beautiful purple leis. It was an all-you-can-eat buffet. There was a variety of Hawaiian foods. My personal favorites were the poke, taro buns, pineapple smoothies, and chocolate gelato. We ate while we watched the luau show, it was very entertaining with graceful dancers. After the Luau, we moved onto the theater to watch a performance. I didn’t know what to expect going into this, and I thought we were watching a movie. But, it was a live performance, and it was spectacular! The story was captivating, and the performers were incredible. The coolest part was probably the fire performers. After the show was over, we headed back to the hotel. It was a long day, but probably my favorite day we’ve had so far. I learned so much about the islands’ culture and had fun while learning! (Molly, ’22)

January 6, 2022


The group started the day a little later than the previous days. We hopped on the bus that took us to the boat dock! Although we didn’t get to snorkel because of the waves and currents, we got to see sea turtles and whales! The whale put on a bit of show for us with his giant tail. We experienced our first full sunny day of the trip! After a few hours of lying in the sun, we were all hungry. The boat provided lots of good food for us. We had pork sandwiches, teriyaki chicken, rice, salad, and pineapples! After everyone finished eating, the captain drove us back to land. Once we got back to the hotel, we split up for dinner and said goodnight! (Katie Thrash, ’22)


The final dives were amazing! These students showed so much growth in the last few days and are wonderful divers. We cannot wait for our next experience!


We were up early and on the boat by 8:30 for our snorkel trip, after a 45-minute boat ride to the coral reef. At the coral reef, students observed marine life in its natural habitat. We even got to see the Christ of the Abyss statue on our snorkel trip. After snorkeling and a quick lunch stop, we went to the Mangrove forest for a kayaking trip. This was a 3.5-hour adventure through the Mangrove forests of Key Largo. We got to see numerous marine life to include starfish and jellyfish. We had to learn how to work together as a pair to navigate kayaks through extremely narrow tunnels and passageways, with lots of us running into the trees. After a 30 minute break to change, we went to dinner and then to Dolphins Plus for our night program. We learned about the ecology of the intertidal zones and the different phyla found within the Animal Kingdom. We touched and held numerous marine life to include stone crabs, lobsters, starfish, shrimp, sea urchins, and coral. After this, we broke into pairs and did a squid dissection. We learned about the anatomy and physiology of the squid. The squid used was sushi grade squid, so students could taste test if they wished.

Southern Cities

This morning we went to Boone Hall Plantation, the longest operating plantation in the country. Because of its more remote location, Boone Plantation survived wars and continued to operate through at least two depressions. It still produces a variety of goods from strawberries and blueberries to buckwheat and corn, and they even produce their own honey and candles. Boone Hall has also been the set of famous movies and tv series: North and South, Queen (the follow up to Roots), and most recently, The Notebook. The Avenue of Oaks, the entry to the plantation, is also one of the most photographed locations in the south, for a good reason; it is beautiful, and the oaks that line the drive have been there for almost two centuries!

Our next tour had us walking through historic Charleston, where we learned about the buildings, houses, and churches that give Charleston the nickname of the “Holy City.” Then we had the opportunity to shop in the famous City Market, full of local goods and artisans.

The next stop for the day was Fort Moultrie, known for many things, but specifically the posting of Edgar Allen Poe. The fort has seen several upgrades over the years and was a lookout point beginning during the American Revolution through World War II. One of the most interesting things we learned about was the disappearance of the first attack submarine, the Hunley. It is now in a museum, after being lost during the Civil War and rediscovered by an effort funded by author Clive Cussler. The Hunley was recovered in the harbor, just off the Cooper River, by joint federal and private company efforts.

Dinner at Hyman’s was an awesome experience, students tried fried green tomatoes, clam chowder, and some gave raw oysters a shot! The food was fabulous and the meal one of the best so far. After dinner, we met our tour guide Zach (with Bulldog Tours), for our ghost tour of the Holy City. To say that we got a spooky tour would be putting it mildly. One thing is for sure; the students can tell you the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery, a plateye and boohag, and what haints are!

January 5, 2022


We went and explored the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, FL. We were able to see surgery performed on a rescued sea turtle. We learned about the effects of water pollution on sea turtles and how human activities and human interactions harm the turtles. Students were able to interact and feed the resident rescue sea turtles and observe the rescued injured/ sick sea turtles. We then went to Seven Mile Bridge and Pennekamp State Park. At Pennekamp, we went over proper water etiquette and safety while snorkeling. Students learned how to use their snorkel gear properly and then practiced within the small coral reef. That evening we did a student activity on adaptions found in animals as a team-building activity.

Lifeguard Certification

Today our students worked on CPR training and responding to injuries and illnesses.

Southern Cities

Wednesday afternoon, after our walking tour of Savannah, we boarded our bus and drove to North Charleston to visit the Magnolia Plantation owned by the Drayton family. The Drayton family has owned the plantation for 13 generations without interruption, retaining ownership through both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. The tour we took was called “From Slavery to Freedom” and is told from the point of view of the slaves that worked the plantation. Students toured a variety of slave cottages that have been salvaged and reconstructed to display different periods beginning with an 1850 structure when the original 11 cabins were built until 1990 when the houses were vacated. Each cabin was a duplex that housed two families before the Civil War. Our guide was Joe McGill, originally from Kingstree, SC. He is currently working on a book, Sleeping with Ancestors (working title). Joe is the founder of a project called “The Slave Dwelling Project,” attempting to change the narrative of plantation history. Not erase it or stop it, but the behind-the-scenes history tells the story of those who provided the framework for the storybook, “Gone with the Wind” plantation life often told. After the guided tour, we split up into groups and explored the property, some visiting the animals, others the gardens, and all taking in the beauty of our surroundings.
Upon leaving Magnolia Plantation, the group cut loose and had dinner at Frankie’s Fun Park. We played arcade games, putt-putt golf, hit a few pitches in the batting cages and raced around the track in Go Karts. We had a wonderful time, some of us setting records on the arcade games: Mrs. Hotchkin and Connor played a game collecting seven character cards to win a jackpot prize of 2,500 points (in all, they won 3,700), while Coach Kretz set the new high score on the basketball “Hot Shot” game, and Colby and Miya racked up over 2,200 points on various games. While the games were fun, the prizes were even better and quite hilarious! It was a great way to end our day of travel and the first night in Charleston.


Yesterday our Scuba Winterim Group did their deepest dive to date. The Group embarked on a shelf dive of Planacar Cave Reef. Reaching a maximum depth of 80 feet, students swam through an amazing reef on the shelf off the island’s western side. Weaving in and out of canyons of coral formations and swim-throughs, they saw incredible coral formations, spotted eagle rays, and various tropical fish. The group went on their first night dive using lights swam around the reef and were able to see nocturnal aquatic life. Students saw many lobsters, small rays, a large lion fish and even got a rare squid and octopus sighting!!


Today students learned how to create a bust using red clay. After thinking about what to make and sculpting the piece, we had to invert the busts on a sponge and hollow them out for drying. Students created celebrities, cartoon characters, animals, and skulls. In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to tour APSU’s beautiful campus with a senior ambassador.

College Tours

Today our group travelled to Memphis and visited Christian Brothers University and the University of Memphis. It was a wonderful trip and they were so glad to experience a little bit of Memphis while there.

Local Government

Today we started off our trip early by driving to Nashville at 8 a.m; our first stop was to the Tennessee State Library and Archives. We got a behind-the-scenes tour of how historical documents are processed and shelved when we entered the library. One of the stops for books or paperwork would be in the blast freezer. We got to experience minus 30 degrees temperature in this freezer, which kills mold and other impurities that could damage the historical documents. Our second stop for the day was at the Tennessee State Museum. We got to tour artifacts from when Tennessee was first made a state and tour artifacts from World War II. Our last stop was for lunch at Farmer’s Market. While there, the girls on our trip got a ten scoop ice cream plate.

Learning to Coach

Students were able to see firsthand a behind-the-scenes look at the necessary planning it takes to properly deliver instruction or lesson as both a teacher and a coach. Following the development of their teaching and coaching plans, students would provide their instructions to the rest of the class as a taught lesson or practice segment of their choice.

International Food & Film

Day three of International Food and Film!! We discovered the sights and sounds of India! Dr. Booth cooked Chickpea Curry, Basmati Rice, Garlic Naan, and Chai Tea for the students! They watched the Indian Film Lunchbox!


We woke up early and went on the bus at 7 a.m. Our bus driver, Earl, was the best- he’s a native Hawaiian and drove us around and told us about all the landmarks we passed. We went horseback riding at the Kualoa Ranch for about an hour and a half. Many movies have been filmed here; we saw scenes from Jurassic World, Curious George, Jumanji, and many more. We then went to the secret island beach, where we took another boat out to the island. We kayaked, paddle boarded, and played volleyball after we went back to the hotel and then went to dinner.(Noah Goble ’22)


Today we went to Weakley Park and did team sports. We played seven on seven two-hand touch football and Spike Ball teams. After lunch, we went to Rotary Park and explored the several different offerings that they have there.

January 4, 2022


The morning saw us go for a guided tour of the San Gervasio Mayan ruins, approximately 10,000 years old. The afternoon has seen us back on the water for two boat dives, where the kids dove to depths of 70ft on the reef. They saw turtles, moray eels, and a few sharks. We will be back in the water for a night dive with the nocturnal octopus and fishes tonight.


Today we were on the bus at 7 am and headed to Pearl Harbor. We learned a lot about what happened on December 7, 1941. They repurposed most of the ships and turned them into a memorial. Next, we when to the USS Missouri. It was so cool. We were able to explore the boat and see the living conditions of the sailors. It started pouring down hard while we were there, but we managed to make it fun! Then, we went to the Iolani Palace, where the last queen and king of Hawaii lived. It was beautiful. After that, we went back to our hotel, and most of us went to the beach, ate dinner, and went to sleep. (Brooke Keifer, ’22)

Southern Cities

Tuesday was our last days in Savannah, GA. Tuesday, we started bright and early with a tour of Fort Pulaski. Our interpreter, Ranger Joel, took us on an exciting and very informative tour of the Fort. During the tour, we stood in the magazine room (the room reserved for gunpowder) and learned how close Fort Pulaski was to being nothing but a crater in the ground when the Union took the Fort during the Civil War. Initially, the brick walls we saw would have been covered by wood slats, but at some point, those were removed. Because of this, we got a chance to see a part of history that would otherwise have been missed: the fingerprints embedded in the bricks while they were being formed by the enslaved men, women, and children who constructed them. As Ranger Joel said, “History is in the details. The only reason we get to see this is because we never fully restored the magazine.” And he is so right; history is in the details, the personal lives of those that have come before. The thought is enough to give you chills, especially when you know you are walking in a place that housed not only people hundreds of years before but retains their literal fingerprints throughout time.

We then boarded our bus and drove to Tybee Island for lunch and a tour of the historic Lighthouse and learned about its history and that of its keepers. The Lighthouse has seen some historical moments, from the town’s foundation, through the Civil War, to weathering storms today. During the Civil War era, Confederate troops, not wanting the Lighthouse to be used against them, decided to burn down the wooden staircase inside and removed the small lens from the light. To this day, no one knows where the lens is; it is believed to be quite valuable if someone were to find it! The current lens in the Lighthouse was installed as a replacement in 1867, and can be seen for up to 18-22 miles at sea.

Immediately after the lighthouse tour, we met with Dr. Joe for an ecology tour. We were featured on his Facebook Page, Tybee Beach Ecology Trips, and Tybee Beachcomber! Students had a blast learning about beach ecology and dove into the experiential learning (some literally, into the water).

The busy day wrapped up with a ghost tour through Savannah and dinner at the Pirate House. Duels and disease and murders, oh my! We had a blast learning the darker history of Savannah; we just hope we don’t bring any ghosts home with us.

College Tours

This group visited Lipscomb University and MTSU. The students enjoyed seeing both campuses.

Lifeguard Certification

We started the morning off by going over our drills, from jumping into the pool from the lifeguard stand to all the different methods of helping a drowning victim out of the pool. They were able to train using the backboard to get someone out of the pool. The most intense workout they felt was combining a deep dive rescue with the bodyboard to lift them out of the pool.

Local Government

We started early on today’s trip by going to Fort Donelson National Park. When we first got to our location, a bald eagle flew over directly over us and to his nest. We then toured where confederate and union soldiers would be housed. We then had an up-close view of the same cannons that were fired in the civil war, and there we learned how to shoot the cannons and the roles of everyone involved. Later, we went to Fort Donelson National Cemetery, and we got to see all of the fallen confederate and union soldiers’ graves. Around lunchtime, we went to Lance’s for pizza and subs and then headed back to the school to end our day.


Today we participated in organized kickball and soccer at Liberty Park. Afterward, our group traveled to American Pride Boxing on Wilma Rudolph Blvd. for a private boxing lesson. Students were challenged with a hard workout, but were praised by the coaches. They were excited for the days adventures and want to return to American Pride soon!


Students spent the day at Shark Valley in the Everglades yesterday. They got to have up-close interactions with the wildlife in its natural habitat. We learned why conservation is so important for our environment and how human impact has been so detrimental to our planet. Students took a tram tour through the River of Grass in the Everglades and learned that while the water looks stagnant, it moves about 100 ft per second. We finished the day with a sunset over the Keys and ice cream from the Key Largo Chocolate Shop. (Alyssa Ray)


Students are hand molding clay and returning to the potter’s wheel. In the afternoon we will learn from Dr. Kim about his professional experience.

College Visits

Eleven students kicked off a week of college campus visits with a brisk walk to Austin Peay State University. Despite the cold weather, they enjoyed a full tour of the campus. Some “Peay” worthy stops were the new Art+Design building where student artwork covered the walls, including a colorful display of hanging streamers, and the Sundquist Science building where the ceiling depicted vivid murals displaying the university’s history. Students had the opportunity to see inside student dormitories, which featured hotel-style rooms with their own showers and plenty of counter space! After the tour, they visited the Austin Peay bookstore — for Starbucks and some shopping —before returning to CA to prepare for a week of road trips.

International Food & Film

Day two was crepes and cappuccinos from Madeleine’s as Dr. Booth’s International Food Food and Film Winterim explored French Cuisine and Culture. Students learned cinema originated in France and watched Francois Truffaut’s 400 Blows!

January 3, 2022


We all woke up at 8:00, got ready, and headed to get some breakfast. It was very rainy today, so we did some shopping. We ended up going to get açaí bowls, musubis, and some fruit at a little restaurant on Kalakaua Street. Afterward, we all went back to the hotel to play some card games, and then the beautiful Hawaiian sun came out. We all came to the beach to swim and get some vitamin D. My favorite part was swimming, enjoying the clear Hawaiian ocean water, and listening to music on the beach with my friends. After the beach, we all went to dinner at the hotel. Many of our meals consisted of tuna bowls, fish, rice, and shrimp. We all have a big day tomorrow, and after dinner, we decided to go to bed earlier. (Written by Ayden Kujawa ’22)


Mrs. Alyssa Ray and Mr. Brian Kueter along with fifteen students boarded their plane to Florida yesterday. After an extended time on the tarmac, the students finally arrived and were ready for an adventure! The group went straight to the Everglades and it was an experience they will never forget. Students were able to experience the Everglades at night in complete darkness. They learned about invasive species that can be found there as well as the profound ecological importance of the Everglades. Students used flashlights to count alligators. Their eyes glow red at night reflecting the light.

Southern Cities

Today, we started off walking in the steps of Martin Luther King Jr. We visited the home he was born in, the Church in which he preached in Atlanta, and learned about the six principles of nonviolent protest while visiting the reflecting pool where MLK Jr. and his wife, Coretta, are buried. We then traveled to the Atlanta Aquarium. The group watched an amazing dolphin show and learned about training dolphins. Did you know that dolphin trainers work for at least a year with a dolphin out of water before ever training in the water? For lunch we visited a local Atlanta favorite, The Varsity. It has a long history and tradition of serving delicious burgers and hotdogs, along with a signature orange drink served as a soda or shake. Now that we are ending our second day of travel, we find ourselves in the beautiful city of Savannah, also known as America’s most haunted city! It is now time for bed to rest for a new adventure, in a new place, tomorrow. (Written by Kristen Kretz)

Local History & Government

Coach Trent’s began the week with a few guest speakers. Monday we enjoyed a presentation entitled “A Day in the Life of a Civil War Soldier”, presented by William Parker, CA ’84, who is the Historical Interpreter at Fort Defiance. During the afternoon session a presentation by park ranger Susan Hawkins, from Fort Donelson National Park. (Written by Lydia Ramos ’24)

Lifeguard Certification

Ms. Hardison’s group had a wonderful first day of lessons. They spent time learning how to enter the water safely and how to extract victims. They also had a lesson on how to deep dive into the water. At the end of this week the goal is to be lifeguard certified!


Clarksville Academy is partnering with the Community School of the Arts at APSU for a ceramics winterim.  Eleven students and Mrs. Lindsey are learning about different techniques from Dr. Wansoo Kim.  On day one they learned throwing on a potter’s wheel.  Students made mugs, bowls, and mushrooms for fairy gardens. When the items are dry they will be fired and glazed.  Students are already looking ahead to future projects, such as sculpting a head in clay. 

International Food & Film

Dr. Danica Booth’s group of twelve students enjoyed their first day learning about a new culture. Students explored elements of Japanese Culture, Cuisine, and Cinema in the morning and dined on Bento Boxes from Fujiyama while watching Ponyo in the afternoon. Students found the experience delicious and enlightening.


Shaine Walker’s Fitness jumped into the new year in a big way! This group of eighteen Junior and Senior boys began the morning with an overview of their week. The goal this week? Learn more about alternate fitness opportunities in our community and to develop a healthier lifestyle. Today’s stop was DEFY jump zone. The group enjoyed various team building activities while burning many, many calories! The week includes boxing, yoga, golf, and more!

January 2, 2022


The morning began early for our group traveling to Hawaii. We started our day very early, at 3 AM at the airport. We flew to Phoenix and then to Honolulu. After 14 hours in the airport, we had finally made it. We checked into our hotel and went to find somewhere to eat. We ate at an outdoor restaurant where everyone was glad to have an actual meal. We got to watch the sunset on the beach and walk along the shore. We ended our night by sitting in one of the girl’s rooms telling stories and just hanging out. After a long day of traveling, we were all happy to finally be inHawaii!Traveling with Ms. Piper Bell and Mrs. Lori Peay are a group of fifteen seniors. (Written by Bella Allen ’22)

Southern Cities

The morning began early for this group as well, boarding their charter bus at 6:00 AM. Ms. Kristen Kretz and Mrs. Amy Hotchkin will travel with ten students in a whirlwind trip of the south. Ms. Kretz sent an update on their first day: “Our Tour of Southern Cities began at 6:00am this morning as ten students and two chaperones boarded the charter bus to head for the first destination: Atlanta, Georgia. After a quiet, sleepy, and thankfully clear route we reached the National Center for Civil and Human rights. We spent time learning about the Civil Rights movement throughout the Southeast in the 1960s and 1970s (including the Freedom Riders and the Great March/The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom). We also spent time learning about a variety of human rights activism all over the world today, and the steps governments are and have been attempting to take in order to curtail atrocities committed against subjugated people.  We then had a quick lunch and headed to the World of Coca-Cola. Our group learned about the history of the Coca-Cola company, from the creator to its modern form we all recognize today. We were able to interact with displays, create our own bottle designs, smell ingredients of the different sodas, and taste Coca-Cola products from around the world!  Finally, we stopped for dinner at Mary Mac’s Tea Room, the last restaurant of its kind. Mary Mac’s has a unique history, in that it was once one in a collection of 16 Tea Rooms in Atlanta. These Tea Rooms, as explained by our server George, were started by war widows to feed their children during a time when it was uncommon for women to own and operate businesses (1940’s). Today, Mary Mac’s carries on the tradition of that era, and was their favorite part of the day. Everything in Mary Mac’s is made onsite and never frozen, from the bread and cinnamon rolls, fried chicken and mac-n-cheese, to the warm peach cobbler. Southern cuisine was on prime display and did not disappoint, neither the Sweet Tea! Students (all of us really) have been pleasantly surprised by the things we have learned so far, and we are looking forward to further adventures this week. Afterall, that is the point of this Southern Cities experience, to vacate the norm, branch out, learn and experience southern culture in a new way! Many in the group are from the south, but all of us have new experiences ahead and lifelong memories and stories to bring home.”

January 1, 2022


We are off! Winterim kicked off with our first group traveling to Mexico. Christie Burger and Tony Sonnabend traveled with ten students to Cozumel, Mexico for a week of scuba diving. Upon their arrival, this group enjoyed their first sunset on the beach.

Join us as we follow along with our fabulous 2022 Winterim groups on some amazing experiences!

  • Scuba Diving in Mexico – Christi Burger & Tony Sonnabend
  • Florida:  A Splash into Science – Alyssa Ray & Adam Welch
  • Tour of Southern Cities – Kristen Kretz
  • Hawaii – Piper Bell & Lori Peay
  • Ceramics @ APSU – Christine Lindsey
  • Local History & Government – Mike Trent & Bob Baker
  • Fitness – Shaine Walker
  • International Food & Film – Dr. Booth
  • American Red Cross Lifeguard Certification – Nicole Hardison
  • Building Coaches of the Future – Stan Rozar
  • College Campus Visits – Jill Sleigh & Sarah Perry

Winterim begins January 2, 2022.

Winterim–Lab Rats Disney

Clarksville Academy Students in the Disney Lab Rats spent the first week of Winterim learning robotics coding and learning the physics principles of roller coasters.

Yesterday, these 16 students traveled to Disney World to see the science behind the park.  Students will take courses in Exploring Careers in Zoological Sciences and Energy and Waves Physics Lab.  Like their Leadership counterparts, students will take course in the mornings and will be asked to document evidence of what they learned as they enjoy the parks in the afternoon.

Day 1: Today students learned about careers in zoological sciences at the Animal Kingdom.  Led by Abby, an educator with expertise in the field, began by telling students about the park and how each part focuses on conservation.  The tree of life is modeled after an oil rig.  We rode Kilimanjaro Safari and learned about the steps taken by Disney to function as a zoo and the many careers involved in the care of animals and development of their habitats. Student played games and participated in demonstrations before heading “off stage”. In this area no cameras are allowed. Students went to the Tembo house, where elephants receive care. We met ectotherm specialist Trevor and his snake, Siba.  Nutrition for the animals was discussed and preparation was observed. We even saw Disney veterinarians operate on an antelope!  Abby described the many careers that play a role in maintaining a zoo and shared her experiences with the students. Tomorrow we will head to the Magic Kingdom to learn about energy and waves, and development of special effects.

Day 2: Today’s lesson focused on energy and waves, and how both are used in the Magic Kingdom.  Our leader, Rusty, discussed types of waves and their properties.  Students created a human circuit to successfully power a light. We rode The Little Mermaid ride to demonstrate the manipulation of sound to enhance rides. Students rode the Haunted Mansion and then were taken underneath the ride! We saw how Disney uses mirrors and scrim to create the Pepper’s ghost illusion used throughout the ride. We were able to watch riders in “doom buggies” from the other side of the dancing figures in the haunted ballroom.  Forced perspective is used all over the park to trick the eye.  Our final stop was Mickey’s Philharmagic.  All of our lessons merged with this attraction that manipulates sound and light, in addition to using other sensory tricks to create a rich experience. For example, over 180 speakers are used in that attraction.  They range in size and direction to create a magical show.

Day 3: Today’s experience focused on the art of Disney.  We participated in two classes at the Contemporary Resort. Our first class taught the history and techniques of cel animation. Artists Gina and Lynn, who worked on “The Princess and the Frog” and “The Little Mermaid ” took students through the steps of creating their own cels. Our creations will be dried and shipped next week. Kevin, one of Disney’s professional photographers, led our second class. Students received a set of lenses to use with their phones. Kevin gave the students five tasks in and around the resort. He proceeded to demonstrate and discuss tips to take great pictures and had students use the tips to redo their tasks. We then compared the images before and after learning professional techniques.  Kevin was adamant that the type of camera is not what makes a great picture. The photographer’s choices are what can make a cell phone picture look professional.  After our classes we visited the Animal Kingdom. Tomorrow we return home.

Winterim–Leadership Disney

Clarksville Academy students in the Disney Global Leaders spent the first week of Winterim identifying their Strengths as Leaders and as Individuals and using these strengths to complete various challenges such as a Marshmallow Paper Bag Challenge and a Robotics Coding Challenge.

19 students  traveled to Disney World to learn even more about leadership as they take courses in Managing Your Personal Brand and the Disney Leadership Strategies. Students will spend the mornings learning the new curriculum and during their afternoons in the park, they will be asked to identify evidence that exemplifies these lessons.

Day 1: On Monday, the Disney Leadership students took a class entitled “Examining Your Personal Brand!” Students had the chance to self-reflect on how they present themselves through everything from dress to what they post on social media. They also set goals for the future! We then turned our perspective outward and evaluated branding and experience through the Disney Corporation in the Rock N Roller Coaster!! We spent the day exploring Magic Kingdom and capped our first day with phenomenal fireworks!

Day 2: On Tuesday, Disney Leadership students spent the day at Epcot! The morning seminar was entitled “Disney Global Leadership Strategies.” Throughout the morning students evaluated three types of a Leadership and how they are actualized in the Disney Corporation. We rode “Soarin’” and learned the history of how one imagineer took on the Leadership to create the physics behind the experience! We spent the afternoon exploring the countries at Epcot and sampling way too many tasty treats! In the evening, students opted to head back to the resort and spend some fun time relaxing at the pool!

Day 3: Today, Disney Leadership has the good fortune to return to Hollywood Studios and to have a second course, from our new favorite instructor, Dave! Through hands on activities and riding a couple more roller coasters, we learned about how rollers coasters manipulate gravity and speed to function!! What better example of both gravity and speed than The Tower of Terror!! We also learned about how the science and set design interact to tell a story!! We are now in Animal Kingdom ready for yet another phenomenal day!!

Disney Leadership Winterim: Day 4

On Thursday, there was no seminar, and it was Hollywood Studios Day!! Half of the students elected to wake in the pre-dawn, to check out of the hotel, and to race with a mass of other Star Wars fanatics for a place in an electronic cue to ride the new Rise of the Resistance!! We were successful!! It was spectacular!! Students rode the Rockin’ Roller Coaster and the Tower of Terror repeatedly until it was time to leave for the airport. We arrived in Nashville at midnight and Clarksville by 1 a.m.! We were exhausted but elated after a 22-hour day!!

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

Winterim–History & Government

Over the next two weeks, students will explore local history and learn more about government right here in Montgomery County.  Each day will be filled with interesting presentations and local trips to visit historical sites.


Day 1: The group welcomed CA Alum Mr. William Parker from Fort Defiance. Mr. Parker discussed importance of the Fort during the Civil War. Our afternoon was spent discussing guest speakers and trips scheduled during our two week adventure.

Day 2: The group hosted Mr. Don Horton, Civil War scholar who arrived in full frontiersman attire carrying a 12 pound musket! He discussed Land Grants, local historic figures and important sites in the Montgomery County area. Susan Hawkins, Park Ranger from Fort Donelson briefed the class on the importance of Fort Donelson and the impact of the Union’s capture of the Fort and taking control of the Cumberland River. Ranger Hawkins brought a traveling trunk of Civil War memorabilia, including a Confederate Uniform and various accessories carried by soldiers in the day. Student Thomas Wilson was kind enough to model one of the uniforms.  The group begins preparations to visit Fort Donelson on Day 3.

Day 3: Our Local History Group had a beautiful day to be outside as we visited Fort Donelson National Battlefield! Our guide was awesome, and we had an amazing time. Tours of the National Battlefield, the Upper and Lower Battery sites where the Confederacy launched artillery attacks on Union ironclad ships was a real highlight. Also, a refurbished Dover Hotel on the banks of the Cumberland river was an interesting stop. The Dover Hotel was the site where the Confederates surrendered Fort Donelson to Ulysses S. Grant. What a great day!


Days 4 & 5:

The group toured Fort Defiance and learned of the Fort’s importance to Clarksville and the war effort. Earthen mounds, cannons and a breathtaking view of Downtown Clarksville were the highlights of the trip. Local Relics and Treasures presented by Mr. Collins gave students the opportunity to see “vintage” collectibles from days gone by. CA Alum, Mr. William Parker visited our classroom and presented “A Soldiers Burden”, which depicted a day in the life of a Civil War soldier. What a great first week! Looking forward to learning more about local and state government next week!


Day 6:

Dr. Dewey Browder, Professor Emeritus from Austin Peay State University, and WWII scholar visited our group to discuss WWII and the Holocaust. Thanks to Dr. Browder for his awesome presentation! After the lecture, the group returned to Fort Defiance to help clear brush and tree limbs from the Park entrance. We are having a great time learning about history and participating in community service!

Day 7:

The Local History and Government Group participated in a City/County Government presentation led by EDC Director Jeff Truitt, Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts, and County Mayor Jim Durrett.

Mayor Pitts and Mayor Durrett focused on City/County Government, and Mr. Truitt discussed the Economic Development of Clarksville and Montgomery County. Students learned how our local governments interact with one another to provide the people of Clarksville/Montgomery County the many services that we use and experience on a regular basis. Special thanks to Mr. Truitt for organizing this educational opportunity for our students!

Day 8:

What a Day! The group traveled to Nashville to tour the Tennessee State Capitol. The State House, Senate and Supreme Court Chambers were awesome. We were hosted by District 67 State Representative Jason Hodges, who extended the tour to include the Cordell Hull Offices and Committee Hearing rooms. As a special treat, each student received a copy of this year’sTennessee Blue Book, which honored the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in Tennessee! Many thanks to Representative Hodges for taking time out of his busy schedule to show our students around the State Capitol.

Day 9: Our group visited the Montgomery County Election Commission. Elizabeth Black presented information about the Election Process and how Elections are administered. Voter Registration and the upcoming elections were also discussed. After our visit to the Election Commission, we walked over to the Montgomery County Archives to learn about the many historical documents and manuscript collections that are housed within the archives. Students learned about the document preservation process as well. Finally, we toured the Public Library where students were shown the many services offered by our Library, as well as the many technological upgrades that have been installed. Many thanks to all of these agencies for the time taken to educate our group on the services offered by our County Government!
Day 10: The last day of Winterim. The group toured the Pratt Museum at Fort Campbell. We enjoyed seeing the many exhibits that focused primarily on WWII and the Vietnam War. We have had a great two weeks together. I hope that our students learned something about our local history, and understand the importance of all the many treasures that we have right here in our surrounding areas! Thank You to our presenters, students and parents for allowing me the opportunity to spend the past two weeks with these fine students.

Winterim—Hawaiian Islands

A group of seven CA students and one teacher are visiting the Hawaiian Islands as part of the Winterim experience. Each day they will have immerse themselves in Hawaiian culture and lifestyle.  You can follow their experience on Instagram: @CAHawaii2020

Day 1 was a travel day and the group safely arrived in Hawaii!
Day 2, Written By: CA Senior, Akanee Angel,
Aloha CA family! After a long day of travel, we are writing to you from the beautiful beaches of Oahu, Hawaii.  Our first day on the island was filled to the brim with ocean water, pineapples, and cheeseburgers. We started off Winterim with a walk along Waikiki Beach, and right before we got on our tour bus, we met the most adorable dog named Breadfruit. (Seriously, go look at him. @alohabreadfruit) Our bus driver took us through the island of Oahu towards the district of Ko Olina. Here, we boarded the sailboat and started our journey of snorkeling. The constant breeze of the ocean paired with the enveloping warmth of the sun made the perfect relaxing environment.
The first part of the boat ride was focused on animal watching. We saw a mother and baby humpback whale and a pod of six dolphins! Once we reached our snorkeling destination, we dressed in our gear and jumped into the ocean. With most of our group being first-time snorkelers, there was a learning curve; we love to talk about how we “slurped up” the salt water multiple times. The one experienced diver on our trip––Dorothy––was even able to touch the sea floor. We saw almost every fish from Finding Nemo, and we were greeted by an adorable sea turtle. Following our snorkeling adventure, we ate Hawaiian barbecue on our way back. Akanee and Lily, overestimating their ability to control lettuce, lost much of it to the sea.
Driving back to our hotel, we decided we needed an outlet for all of our peers to see our adventures, so we made an Instagram, @cahawaii2020. Here you will see our rainbows and dinners of the day, along with the highlights of our trip.
At the end of the long day, we just wanted some comfort food, so we walked to a local restaurant called Rainbow’s Drive-in. This was featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. We talked for hours about snorkeling, airplanes, and crazy pet stories while enjoying our cheeseburgers and fries.
Our first day in paradise blew away our expectations, and we can’t wait to see what the rest of our Winterim holds.
Day 3: Written by CA Junior, Nicole Currie
Aloha, To start off our day, we went to Waikiki beach to watch the sun rise. Then, we drove through Ko’olau Mountain range, experiencing a beautiful view of the mountains.  We arrived at Kualoa Ranch for a horseback riding tour. This is the ranch where many movies and tv shows like Jurassic Park, 50 First Dates, George of the Jungle, Jumanji, Hawaii Five-0, Lost, and many others were filmed.  The land was owned by King Kamehameha III and it is considered to be one of the most sacred places on the island of Oahu. Over the hour, we saw lots of plants and trees, and the view over the ocean blew us away. Our horses had names like Napoleon, Monet, Blue, Cappuccino, and Waimea. After, we grabbed lunch at North Shore Tacos. Even though this was a little shack off the road, these fresh tacos were the best we’ve ever eaten. We went on after on a hike to Waimea Valley Botanical Gardens and Waterfall.   The park holds educational presentations and workshops on Hawaiian Culture and history highlighting the surrounding lands, animals, and different species of tropical plant life.  After our mile hike, we swam in a thirty foot deep waterfall. The waterfall was so beautiful and refreshing. We finished off the day by relaxing under the sun and watching the sunset at Haleiwa Beach on the North Shore.

Day 4 Written by Senior Lily Butler:
Greetings from Hawaii!
This morning we woke up to what locals call liquid sunshine. The sun was shining bright with heavy rain showers, bringing a new rainbow to the sky. We started the day off with a trip down the street to Leonardo’s Bakery where we bought fresh malasadas, which are Portuguese donut, for our car ride to Pearl Harbor. We all enjoyed the warm, sugary, fried dough and ordered different types, including cinnamon and custard-filled. I think we came to a consensus that they were not even comparable to our local Shipley’s! When we arrived at Pearl Harbor, the wind was strong as we waited for our tour to begin. Leah tried to trick the birds into thinking she had food when she threw leaves to them, and they actually fell for it for a little while! Our tour began with a moving film on the historical context and details of the tragic Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941. We took a ferry ride to go by the remains and monument of the USS Arizona, but we did not actually enter the monument, as the wind was too strong for the sailors to pull up close to the building. Instead, one of the Navy sailors narrated our boat ride and we learned about the architecture of the memorial. It’s shape (a rectangle with a dip in the middle) represents our country’s pride and ultimate victory, as the way it dips in the middle symbolizes the Great Depression and the upward slope signifies our return to prosperity. After this inspirational look at our nation’s history, we headed to the Dole Plantation. We boarded the Pineapple Express and learned about Hawaiian agriculture and Dole’s history. Specifically, we were fascinated by the origin of pineapples. They are believed to come from Paraguay before spreading into Mexico. Historians hold a likely theory that pineapples reached Hawaii due to a Spanish shipwreck off the Hawaiian coast that brought the tools and items necessary for pineapples to be grown in Hawaii. Today, pineapple is popular worldwide and is commonly known as a symbol of hospitality. We tried Dole Whip after our train ride, and it was basically summer in a cone! About 88% of us were immediate fans of the pineapple treat, but we still decided to stop for lunch at Uncle Bo’s as we approached the North Shore. After lunch, we browsed the surrounding shops and saw lots of cool stuff! So far we’ve noticed that Hawaiians are quite fond of SPAM, as there are SPAM recipe books in nearly every store. We rode back to the hotel and let down the windows to feel the soft breeze. Everyone planned to go to the pool, but the wind made it a bit chilly so we watched television together for a while. Later on, we made a light night trip downstairs for the hotel’s Taco Tuesday before turning in for the night. This day only made us more excited about the adventures to come on our Winterim!

Day 5:  Written by Senior, Skylar Baggett
Aloha! Today was our 5th day on the beautiful island of Oahu. We started our day by going to our favorite donut (malasada) shop, Leonard’s Bakery.  Check out Leonards story on their website, .  After that, we went to Hawaii’s largest open air flea market at the University of Hawaii football Aloha Stadium where there were rows of at least 300 local merchants with art, hand made items, Hawaiian local snacks and lots of souvenirs. There was sporadic rainfall throughout our time here, but fortunately we could stand under the vendors’ tents. While we were shopping, most of us decided to get Henna tattoos. Before our next stop, we decided to go eat at Popeyes. After we sparked a debate about the chicken sandwiches at Popeyes VS Chick Fil A, we went to the #1 rated beach in the US, Kailua Beach. We learned that ocean water is salty because acid in rainfall breaks down rocks on land, causing the particles to be carried away into the ocean. We spent the rest of our day body surfing, diving into waves and basking in the sun.
Day 6 Written by Junior, Leah Hayes

Aloha everyone ! Today we visited the Polynesian Culture Center in Lā’ie, Hawaii. When we arrived, our tour guide walked us through the different islands that make up the Polynesian triangle. The Polynesian Triangle includes: Tahiti, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Marquesas, Easter Island, and Hawaii. It is located in the Pacific Ocean and is approximately 16 million square miles.

New Zealand- This is a Western culture that is influenced by unique environments. We learned that one of their native hand shakes involve shaking hands and putting their foreheads together.
Samoa- There are three main parts in the Samoan culture, that is faith, family, and music. Our guide told us that the people of Samoa are very strict on what roles men and women have in life. Men are the ones who were in the kitchen. They produced fire and the food while it was considered disrespectful for women to be in the kitchen.
Tonga- Tongans are closely related to the Samoans and are located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. We learned that agriculture is the mainstay of the Tongan economy. Coconuts and bananas are the main cash crops.
Fiji- The Fijian culture is a rich and colorful culture. We learned that the kings temple had four entrances. Two of the entrances were for regular Fijian people, one was for the kings servants and guards, and the last one was only for the king. If anyone was caught coming in or leaving through the kings door, they would most likely be put to death.
Marquesas- The Marquesas Islands are home to a modest population of people. They are said to be the finest craftsmen throughout French Polynesia. We learned that they create large and excellent carvings along with tattoos and jewelry.
After we toured the different cultures, we went to a luau.  A luau is a traditional Hawaiian feast accompanied by entertainment. We tried Kalua pig which was cooked in the ground for many hours, lomi salmon, poi, ahi poke, and delicious desserts.  While we ate, we learned about Queen Liliuokalani the last monarchy of Hawaii.  The Polynesian dancers performed the hula to many of the songs that were written by the queen while she was imprisoned. After we ate we headed to the Pacific Theater where they performed “Hā: Breath of Life” which tells a story of soul, the spirit of aloha, and ohana which means family.

Day 7: Written by CA Senior, Dorothy Deeds
We started off our day with a beautiful hike at Diamond Head. Diamond Head was a volcano than went dormant and turned into a crator. The view from the top of the mountain was breathtaking. It is estimated the cone is anywhere from 400,000 to 500,000 years old.  We were able to see the entirety of the crator as well as the mountains and ocean surrounding O’ahu.  After the hike we enjoyed some delicious food.  Most of the group had pizza made in a hawaiian fashion and the others enjoyed fresh sushi. The next thing on our to do list was to snorkel at Hanauma Bay.  Hanauma Bay was also a volcano at one point but over hundreds and thousands of years was worn down by the ocean to create a bay that inhabits many different species.  It is a pristine marine ecosystem that is protected by the city of Honolulu. Every visitor must watch a nine minute video so they can learn about the marine life, preservation and safety rules for the park. After we laid out on the beach for a while, we headed back to our hotel in Waikiki. We decided to shower up and walk down the street from our hotel and and find some dinner. We ended up eating at OMG, Oahu Mexican Grill and had some delicious nachos, tacos, burritos, salads, and quesadillas. Now it is time to hit the hay and get some rest for our busy day tomorrow!

Day 8 Written by Senior Nadiya Stowe:
Before we start our journey to the museum , we go to Starbucks, the ABC Store, and the laundry mat. The laundry mat was either self service or drop off service. It was something new and fun for most of us. We went to the Iolani Palace. The Palace had many different rooms such as: the blue room, gold room, imprisonment room – which was the emotional room, a library, guest rooms, informal dining room, and more. This was the last of Hawaii’s kingdom because Americans annexed them to a U.S. territory in 1893 with Queen Liliokalani being the queen. In 1959 Hawai’i became the 50th state.   After the museum, we went out to eat and headed to Makaha beach. The beach had huge blue waves that swept us off our feet. There were surfers and people on boogie boards. It was quite a fun and funny experience. We stayed at the beach until sunset and went to our hotel to shower. We got dinner and we were in for the night!

Day 9 Written by Senior Akanee Angel:
Aloha! Today, we boarded a forty minute flight, and Kona and the Big Island welcomed us with some sprinkling rain and the outdoor airport. The Big Island of Hawai’i is about 4,050 square miles about the size of Connecticut but continues to grow every day from the very active volcano, Kīlauea. We boarded our second rental car, which we named the Yacht. On our way to the hotel, we drove down a road lined with black lava fields, goats, and mongoose.   The lava fields were made when the lava cools quickly it forms a extrusive igneous rock. Our resort, the Hilton Waikoloa, is incredible—there are three different wings with a lagoon and connected with a tram service. Once we checked in, we explored the shopping center near the resort. Then we got in the Yacht and drove around the island. The craziest view was on the main highway: it was once again lined with lava fields, but on the left was the ocean and beach, and the right housed a mountain, Mauna Kea with snow on top. Yes, snow in Hawaii! Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain on Hawaii at 13,803 feet above sea level.   After the tiring day, we retired early and enjoyed a good night sleep before an early morning. The Big Island is very different from Oahu. It is much less touristy, and there is so much open land. It makes it easier to admire the nature, and the calmness is a lot more apparent here. I love both islands for their own reasons, but I do feel a lot more at peace in Kona. Something that I can’t help but notice throughout our entire trip is the aloha spirit. In places like the Polynesian Cultural Center and even at the rental car center, people call us “ohana,” which means family. Everyone we have crossed paths with has simply been kind. And that has transferred to us as well. I have never been with a more loving and giving group of girls, and I hope to take this aloha spirit back home with me.

Day 10:  Written by Seniors, Skylar Baggett & Lily Butler

Aloha again! Today we woke up early to go on a snorkeling and sailing adventure. We rode out into the ocean for a while so the captain could take us to the best spot for snorkeling. We spent most of our time in Kealakekua Bay, which is an open cove backed by a magnificent cliff face of stone. The name of the cove directly translates to “passage of the gods.” In tribal days, chiefs and nobility lived in the west side of the bay while the commoners resides on the eastern section. During those times, the cliff was used as a mausoleum for chiefs. Early Hawaiian people believed that one could steal the talents of the dead through remains, so the bones of chiefs were hidden in the holes of the cliff. Young boys from eleven to sixteen would compete for the chance to be the person lowered along the cliff side to hide the bones, but once the bones were stowed away the rope holding them up would be cut, dropping them onto the sharp rocks below. However, this bay is not simply well known because of its significance to tribal Hawaii. It’s actually a popular spot because of its relevance to the story of Captain Cook, an English explorer. In 1796, the captain set off to find a northwest passage, but when he only saw icy waters he knew that no such path existed. Not wanting to return home in defeat, he decided to map out the Pacific and this led him to Hawaii. He discovered Hawaii and its indigenous people during their celebration of peace, and they welcomed him as a messenger from their god of the sea. Cook took advantage of their adoration of him and only gave the people some fishing hooks in exchange for all their hospitality. When one of his men contracted malaria and died, he was put in the pools that were used as a water source. As more people contracted malaria the Hawaiian people began to resent Cook, and sensing the tension he left. However, not long into his voyage his mast broke and he returned to the island for help. Unfortunately, the Hawaiians were in the midst of celebrating their god of war, and realizing he was no messenger of the gods, they refused to help him and asked him to leave. Angry, Cook made the error of stepping towards the chief, which was a crime punishable by death in tribal society. He was immediately killed, and his bones were put in the cliff so nobody could take his skills of cartography. Today, a small piece of land at the cove contains a memorial for him and the tiny area actually belongs to Britain. We remembered the rich history of the bay as we snorkeled and swam alongside beautiful fish and coral. When we were back on land, we went to a black sand beach. We enjoyed climbing on the rocks bordering the ocean and relaxing under the shade of the palm trees. As the sun started to go down we left to eat a nice dinner at the Hilo Bay Cafe. It was a nice dining experience and we returned to the hotel ready to rest up for another day in paradise!

Day 11, Written by CA Senior Lily Butler:
Our time in Hawaii has flown by and it’s so hard to believe it’s our final day! We started off the morning with a breakfast buffet at our resort and hurried to reach the bus for our volcano tour. There we met Warren, our own tour guide. We then headed towards the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and on the way we listened to Warren while taking in the natural beauty around us. We learned that Hawaii is on a tectonic plate that moves four inches a year, so in a couple thousand years the islands will most likely be right next to Japan. Warren also explained that there are 5 major volcanoes on the big island and one of them, Mauna Kea, is actually taller than Mount Everest when measured from its summit to its base below the sea. These volcanoes often cause damaging earthquakes. Our tour guide remembers his Grandma telling the story of how their family moved from the big island to O’ahu to avoid the many tremors caused by the nearby volcanoes. As we continued on our drive, we saw the surface of a lava tube cave system, the big island’s first church, and even some peaceful protesters. There is currently an endeavor to build a 30 meter telescope, which is 14 stories high, on one of the slopes, but many locals oppose this. They don’t mind the telescope itself, but think it should be in a more secluded location. They are reverent to the beautiful mountains, and hope to preserve the scenery of Hawaii. Even now, Hawaii looks far different than it must have before America’s annexation of the land and the arrival of early tribes. Before Hawaii was occupied, the people of other Polynesian civilizations noticed that birds migrated to their islands each year. Knowing the must derive from some other land formation, they would sail and follow the birds as far as they could. The Polynesians maintained this practice for many generations until they discovered all of the Hawaiian Islands and created new civilizations. After learning all of this fascinating information and more, we stopped to sample a wide variety of locally produced coffees and teas at the Royal Kona museum and coffee mill. While there, Skylar claimed she consumed the most coffee she’d ever had in her life. When we got back in the bus, Leah wanted to tell a story from our visit to the flea market on Oahu, and Warren let her speak into his microphone headset! Later on, we went to and ate Hawaiian style plate meals and sweet malasadas at the Punalu’u Bake Shop. Full and energized we drove along the Hawaiian countryside where there were once sugar cane farms. We reached the volcano park and when we were up to 4,000 feet in elevation we looked out over the Kīlauea Iki Crater. Being this high up, it was a bit chilly so we moved on after a few minutes. We went and saw craters from different viewpoints and walked on cooled lava rocks with hues of black, red, and orange. Just by the rocks we could see how the lava had once flowed through the land and some areas even had ash remaining on them. We went to the park’s visitor center and learned about how the Kilauea Volcano has changed from the events in 2018 where it drained lava into the island’s lava tubes. After leaving the volcano park, we went to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation and got to try samples of all the fun flavors they have— everything was so good! The shop is surrounded by orchards that contain 250,00 macadamia trees, which makes for a pretty drive. When we returned to the hotel a little while later, some of us went swimming in the resort’s gigantic pool before getting ready for dinner. For our final dinner together, we went to Macaroni Grill and reminisced on our favorite activities from our time in Hawaii— this trip has been such a fun, informative experience. Mahalo for keeping up with our Winterim!

Winterim–Cooking, Fitness, Nutrition

The cooking, fitness, & nutrition Winterim is led by Mr. Shaine Walker.

Day 1:

Our group will spend the week learning at the UT/TSU Extension Center on Cumberland Heights Road. Today we learned about different safety measures for cooking and were able to to test this knowledge in their commercial kitchen. CA Alumna Amanda Pitt, led our program today.  Tomorrow we dive right into our cooking curriculum with a lesson on making pasta!
Day 2:
Tuesday our students work on different pastas that they decided to make. These recipes were chosen by students and made within their groups today. We made Ricotta/Pepperoni filled Jumbo Shells, Chicken Alfredo, Home-made Ramen, Vegetable Farafelle, and a Vegan Alfredo with Zuccihni/Squash noodles. These is pictures of most items above and will be more coming tomorrow. Along with these lovely dishes our 4H Agent Amanda Pitt helped students learn about the sugars in drinks and their effects. We also went over all the different types of pots, pans, knives, and what their purposes are.

Day 3: Today was Soup day. We had students try several recipes out while also getting a little adventurous with making bite size snacks for others. Today we had stuffed mushrooms, homemade garlic bread, chicken noodle soup with homemade dumplings, tomato based spicy potato soup, chicken tortilla soup, and a classic tomato soup with grilled cheese. All of the students did a fantastic job working together and learning more about what type of equipment to use. Some students learned more about cutting and prepping. While we had others browning beef for the first time. Overall another great day with some great food!

Day 4: Day 4 was more about smaller bites, so we made things like energy balls, sausage croissants, sliders with beef and sausage/egg, granola, and we even had a chance to make a meatloaf. The students have been taking initiative with making their dishes and making edits where needed. Tomorrow is our last day of cooking and we do not have a theme. I cannot wait to see what recipes they submit and make.

Day 5: Today all the groups made something they wanted to try their hand at. One group made the sausage croissants for everyone they were taught  yesterday. While another group did fajita steak, potatoes, and asparagus,  and another group made pork tenderloin. Other dishes included  Berry Smoothies, Chicken Enchiladas, Snicker Doodle, Sanwhiches, Brownies, Milkshakes, and French Onion Soup with Baguettes. I would like to put out a huge thank you to the 4H program at the UT/TSU Extension Center for letting us use that space for the week and Amanda Pitt our 4H Agent for teaching the students about nutrition and healthier decisions.
This week the group has explored Fitness around Montgomery County. We have visited local parks and Clarksville Climbing.

Winterim–Mt. Everest

On Saturday, Jan 4, nine students and one teacher embarked on the adventure of a lifetime.  Their goal?  To hike to basecamp on Mount Everest in Nepal at 17,598 ft and in the very shadow of summit.  Led by CA Parent, Tony Sonnabend this group of students will experience Buddhist Culture, Nepalese activities and hike more than six hours a day to make their destination.  They will visit Tibetan and Buddhist Monasteries that have been on the slopes of the mountain for generations, and meet and interact with the indigenous people that call the Himalayas home.  A complete blog of their trip will be available upon their return, but for now, check back often for photos and short updates!


After 24 hours of travel students have arrived in Luka, Nepal and are ready to take on Everest!

Students have spent another day hiking, hiking, hiking!  While we slept the students made it to just under 12,000 ft of elevation ( gaining 3850 ft in 10 miles of hiking). It snowed on them, but the kids, adults and guides kept going! Tonight they will spend the night in the Namche Bazar.

These are  morning views from our teahouse in Namche Bazar, before we hiked the kids up to the Norgay Tensing Museum.  Sherpa Tensing was the man who summited Everest first on May 29th, 1953 with British climber Sir Edmund Hillary. Another fantastic day in the Himalayas!

The students left Namche Bazar for a 9 hour hike ending in Dingboche. They visited an ancient and storied Buddhist Monastery. The students are getting closer and closer to Base Camp!

Nine Clarksville Academy Students reached Everest Base Camp on Tuesday, after a 8 day trek through the Himalayas. EBC is situated 17,600 feet up on the tallest mountain in the world. The students dealt with extreme cold, altitude sickness and challenging terrain. The trip was organized and chaperoned by CA parent Tony Sonnabend and his company UK International Tours. He was assisted by CA faculty member Mrs. LaurenDrake, along with a professional photographer, an English climbing guide and a team of local Nepalese Sherpa guides and porters.

Asked to describe his experience on the trip, CA Senior Garrett Burger said, “This past 8 days has been equal parts breathtaking and extremely challenging. I have needed constant self discipline to conquer each days challenges. I have come to truly understand the beauty in the struggle…”

The group is currently trekking back to Lukla, before spending a day in Kathmandu and then one more in Istanbul en route home to the United States.

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!

Going Back to School

By: Amy Burchett, Admissions Director & Christie Burger, Admissions

Whether you are new to your child’s school community or have been there for years, is it time for you to consider walking the halls again alongside your child? Research shows that increased parent participation at a child’s school directly effects student performance and emotional well – being.  So, grab your backpack and your sack lunch and let’s explore the importance of becoming, or continuing to be, an active member in your child’s school community.

Getting involved within your child’s school community can be much easier than you think.  From filling-in your name on a classroom sign-up sheet, to holding an office in your schools parent association, every effort makes a difference.  Here are a few ideas about how you can get involved:

1. Attend a home or away sporting event.

2. Visit your child for lunch or even volunteer to be a lunchroom monitor.

3. Become a member of your school’s parent association.

4. Offer your expertise for school events and fundraisers.

5. Become a club or team sponsor.

6. Volunteer to be a guest speaker or reader in a classroom.

Over time, you will begin to see and feel the benefit of going back to school. Chances are, your child will too. Not only will you have the opportunity to build new relationships with other parents and school staff, you will be showing your child the importance of school, community, and service. On average, students will spend 1,000 hours in school each year. How can you make just one of those hours better?

Begin Your Journey.