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 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.

Educational Savings

By: Frazier Allen, Raymond James Financial Services

Saving for your child’s educational future is something we all do.  529 savings plans are tax-advantaged education savings vehicles and one of the most popular ways to save for college today. Did you know they can also be used to save for K-12 tuition?  Much like the way 401(k) plans changed the world of retirement savings a few decades ago, 529 savings plans have changed the world of education savings.
529 savings plans offer a unique combination of features that no other education savings vehicle can match:
• Federal tax advantages: Contributions to a 529 account accumulate tax deferred and earnings are tax free if the money is used to pay the beneficiary’s qualified education expenses.
• State tax advantages: States are free to offer their own tax benefits to state residents, such as a tax deduction for contributions.
• High contribution limits: Most plans have lifetime contribution limits of $350,000 and up.
• Unlimited participation: Anyone can open a 529 savings plan account, regardless of income level.
• Wide use of funds: Money in a 529 savings plan can be used to pay the full cost (tuition, fees, room and board, books) at any college or graduate school in the United States or abroad that is accredited by the Department of Education, and for K-12 tuition expenses up to $10,000 per year.
• Professional money management: 529 savings plans are offered by states, but they are managed by designated financial companies who are responsible for managing the plan’s underlying investment portfolios.
• Flexibility: Under federal rules, you are entitled to change the beneficiary of your account to a qualified family member at any time as well as rollover the money in your account to a different 529 plan once per calendar year without income tax or penalty implications.
• Accelerated gifting: 529 savings plans offer an estate planning advantage in the form of accelerated gifting. This can be a favorable way for grandparents to contribute to their grandchildren’s education while paring down their own estate, or a way for parents to contribute a large lump sum.
Although 529 savings plans are a creature of federal law, their implementation is left to the states. Currently, there are over 50 different savings plans available because many states offer more than one plan. You can join any state’s 529 savings plan, but this variety may create confusion when it comes time to select a plan. Each plan has its own rules and restrictions, which can change at any time. With so many plans available, it may be helpful to consult an experienced financial professional who can help you select a plan and pick your plan investments. 

Why is a balanced Pre-Kindergarten program best?

By: Shelley Holt, Pre-K Teacher

Parents are faced with many choices for their young children before they formally start kindergarten. Choosing a pre-kindergarten program which balances the structured and un-structured learning time will better prepare them on all levels for the more structured school years to follow.
“Early experiences affect the quality of that architecture by establishing either a sturdy or a fragile foundation for all of the learning, health and behavior that follow.”Center for the Developing Child, Harvard University
Play-based learning time or “center time” gives your child the freedom to make choices, explore, learn, and develop in an engaging and evolving learning environment with their peers.  This play-based time is a very important part of their school day. They will learn valuable social skills such as sharing, compromising, self regulation, and being a good friend. Whether they are mixing colors in the art center, weighing pine cones in the science center, or pretending to be an astronaut in dramatic play – they are practicing language skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, all the while exploring and learning through their interests.
Each child is unique and all develop, grow, and acquire skills at different rates. This makes small group time an integral part of the Pre-K day. Teachers use the small group time to individualize fun learning activities to target each child’s needs in one-on-one or in a small group of students with similar needs. These learning games can be adapted to each child’s interests and learning styles for better retention and success. 
Large group time, morning meeting, story time, and lesson times are also used to reinforce weekly and daily concepts. These times are also used to encourage them to raise their hand and wait for their name to be called to develop self control and regulation and better prepare them for their Kindergarten year. Although developing self regulation is important, teaching four year olds requires teachers to be flexible and aware that students may need impromptu brain breaks or dance breaks to get their wiggles out. Maintaining a fun, loving, and exciting learning environment is important to develop your child’s love of school.
These programs should also offer outdoor play time, physical education, foreign languages, art, music, and other sporting activities which can expose your child to many areas of interest and enrichment.
Choosing the right program for your child that will foster a positive learning experience during their pre-kindergarten year is crucial. Many studies have shown that early school experiences may impact a child’s perception of learning and the school environment for years to come. 
A balanced pre-kindergarten program will develop the whole child – socially, emotionally, and cognitively. This will provide a strong foundation for your child to be prepared for their kindergarten year and beyond.

Is Private or Public Education Right For Your Family?

By: Amy Burchett, Director of Admissions

As parents, we are faced with the weight of making many difficult decisions about what would be best for our children in a variety of different scenarios. Regardless of the nature of the decision at hand, we ultimately have to approach every topic by looking through the lens of “How would this affect MY child”. There is no blanket response to many of these scenarios that would apply equally to all children. Choosing the educational path that would be best for your student and family is no different.


When families begin to choose whether a private or public school option is the right fit for their family, there are many factors to consider. Typically, the first and most notable difference when comparing private and public education is the financial commitment related to private education. The seemingly out of reach tuition for a private school education can eliminate this avenue as a possibility to some families; however, many private schools offer either scholarships or tuition assistance to students who apply and qualify. This can help to bridge the financial gap for some.


For others, a driving factor in selecting a school for their child’s educational journey may revolve around smaller class sizes and the ability for individualized instruction. Any child, in any state, can attend public school. This could, depending on location and demographics, increase student population and thus increase class size. Private schools typically highlight smaller class sizes and lower student-teacher ratios in their classrooms due to their selective admissions processes.


It is also common that a family would desire that their children attend a parochial school. Many families value their religious affiliation and would like for their children to attend a private school that reinforces this through a religious-based curriculum. When considering public education, this would not traditionally be a part of the classroom curriculum.


A few additional considerations could be special education classes and services that may not be offered at a private school, proximity to home, and college preparation and counseling services for high school students.


Remember as with all things, it is important to do your due diligence in completing your research. When touring schools, be sure to bring a list of questions that you want to have answered. Sit down as a family, include your students in the discussions, and weigh the pros and cons of both. Keep in mind, you are choosing the educational setting that would benefit YOUR child most! Be sure to choose the school that you feel would best help your child reach their full potential.

Begin Your Journey.