Winterim 2024

Winterim 2024 actually kicked off in 2023 for one group! This year we have groups traveling to South Africa, Greece, California, the Everglades, Boston, Hawaii, Disney, Tennessee, and a few groups are staying local to promote fitness, service in the community, studying art at APSU or taking in the history of our local area. Each Winterim is specially designed to offer the student the most experiential learning throughout the week. Check back daily for updates!

**Groups traveling out of the country are hours ahead or behind local time and their updates may arrive late. Please be patient with us on posting.

The adventure begins January 2024!

December 31-January 1

January 2, 2024

South Africa

A group of twenty-four students and three adults left for an amazing adventure on Sunday, December 31. They traveled over 30 hours to reach their destination. The group had a long two days, but are ready to prepare for the adventure of a lifetime beginning Tuesday, January 2.

The day dawned early for this group of travelers with many stops before many of you had even risen. The group visited Angel’s Cove/ Camp’s Bay overlooking the 12 Apostles. They then went to Haute Bay boarded a boat to Duiker Island to visit the seal colony and even got to see baby seal pups. They then boarded the bus and traveled to Chapman’s Peak. The next stop was the Cape of Good Hope and The Cape Point Nature Reserve. Lunch was had in Simons Town where many tried ostrich and other wild game. They traveled to Boulders Beach to view the penguin colonies where again they were able to see baby penguins! The day ended with a trip to the V&A Waterfront where the group enjoyed wandering shops and a more traditional American dinner. Each moment was filled with majestic views and new opportunities for these students to enjoy. There are even some budding photographers on the trip!

**Last photo of baby seal was taken by Zach Greer, Senior.

January 3, 2024


The day began at 3 AM as eighteen seniors, Mrs. Denise Walker, and Mr. Austin Wells departed for Hawaii. After catching a connecting flight through Las Vegas, we finally reached Honolulu after a 15-hour journey. Once we checked into our hotel, we enjoyed an evening at the beach, culminating in a serene sunset. Despite the demanding travel, the presence of our special guest Ms. Piper Bell made our arrival in Hawaii truly delightful.


Our day kicked off with a meeting in the classroom where we reviewed our itinerary for Winterim over some delicious breakfast. Afterwards we went to Trifecta Fitness to participate in either a cycling or strength training class. Students will alternate classes when we return to Trifecta Fitness on January 8th. Both classes did a great job and put forth good effort in both workouts! Afterwards, we took our lunch break and met back on campus before going to walk the trails at Dunbar Cave Park. Although it was a bit chilly outside, our time at Dunbar Cave Park allowed us to relax and enjoy nature. This wrapped our day before dismissal back on campus. 

History & Local Government

The History and Local Government group began the day with CA Alum, William Parker, the Historical Interpreter for Fort Defiance. Mr. Parker presented “The Soldier’s Burden, A Day in the Life of a Civil War Soldier.” Students learned about many of the daily trials that Civil War soldiers faced.

In the afternoon, students continued to learn more about the Civil War from Susan Hawkins of Fort Donelson National Battlefield, who prepared us for Thursday’s visit to the Fort. Students were able to try on and model actual Civil War attire and hear about the importance of Fort Donelson during the Union’s march on the South.

South Africa

Wednesday dawned another early day for our South Africa group. Leaving the hotel at 7:30 AM, the group traveled a short distance to Table Mountain, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. There they took a cable car to the top and spent time wandering the top of the mountain, taking in wildlife, scenic views, and of course getting those post worth instagram photos! Leaving the mountain, the group headed back to the V&A Waterfront for a quick lunch and then took a 30 minute boat ferry ride to Robben Island. This abandoned prison is where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for many years. An ex-political prisoner gave the groups two hour tour and told many stories of the men who were kept there. It was a fascinating day! The night was capped off with a leisure night of swimming and playing Code Names back at the hotel! Next up….water adventures!

**The top photo was taken by Senior, Rebekah Hass


Twelve Clarksville Academy students began working with artist Sarah Spillers at Austin Peay State University on Wednesday, January 3rd.  Students learned about fundamentals of art and applied what they learned to create five tone monochromatic color palettes.  Our CA artists created cityscapes using the palettes, and they had a free art creation period to practice with paint pens and tools. Famous faces and family members were selected as the subjects for the monochromatic acrylic portraits that will be created this week.  

Greece (Days 1 & 2)

After two arduous flights and a layover (beginning Monday and continuing through Tuesday), we finally started our adventure in Athens, Greece at 7:15 PM (11:15 AM in CST). Though we had time to sleep on the flights, jetlag was prevalent; so much so that I was told by the husband of one of the chaperones to smile as a lighthearted jab to my expression in the photo we took post-landing (he’s also one of my coaches- living vicariously through our photos). Despite this, our tour guide, Dimitra, brightened our spirits with her commentary and explanations of where we were and the history surrounding Greece as we were driven to our hotel.  

Our group checked into the hotel, and after a Greek dinner on the rooftop of our hotel with an amazing first view of the Acropolis (where the Parthenon is located) and a shower with intensely strong water pressure, most of us retired to our rooms to sleep. A few from the group were awake enough to take an evening stroll through part of the city at the base of the Acropolis.

Wednesday began our first official day. After we ate breakfast, we departed on a driving tour around Athens stopping at the stadium of the first modern Olympics, built completely from marble. Then the group headed to the Acropolis to embark on a hike up to the real Parthenon! We learned of the myths and motivations behind the temples, architecture, and structures. Our guide shared with us the reason why the temple of Athena Nike (dedicated to the patron goddess of Athens, Athena, and the goddess of victory, Nike) featured Nike without wings, despite her typically being depicted with wings. The reason being that the ancient Greeks feared that with flight given to the goddess via wings, she would abandon their city. Thus, they were removed.

After we thoroughly explored the Acropolis, and participated in a photographic challenge introduced by our guide, we made our way to the Acropolis Museum, where we saw many artifacts recovered from the immediate area. Notable to me was what had to be a couple dozen maiden statues that were left at the parthenon as offerings to Athena. Then, we ventured underneath the museum, where ruins of a Roman neighborhood and bathhouses were right under our feet. The rest seemingly spanning across the entire city, some unseen but in few places glass floors allowed pedestrians to view the ruins all over the city. Athens is like a giant, free museum of history!

We continued learning a little more about the history and culture surrounding Athens (both ancient and modern) as we walked after lunch. While we soaked up the opportunity to learn we also took enjoyment in indulging in food and shopping. In the evening, and what we thought was the final activity to end the night, we walked to the old town to sample traditional Greek dishes at Acropol. We were entertained by traditional Greek dancers and by the end of the night we were dancing to Greek music and got to break a few dishes to signify our happiness- Opa! Finally, we hiked to Mars Hill, or Areopagus in Greek, which was the seat of Ancient Athens’ Supreme Court. There’s not a structure there now, but the views were breathtaking! While we were exhausted, it was well worth the effort.



Greetings, CA family! Today kicked off with an Oahu cruise and snorkel tour, immersing us in the magical history of the islands and the captivating tales of the Waianae coastline graciously shared by our crew. As we sailed along the coast, relishing the island’s scenic beauty and keeping a keen eye on the water for marine life, the constant ocean breeze and the warm embrace of the sun created an idyllic and relaxing atmosphere.

We encountered multiple pods of dolphins and two large turtles during our cruise, heightening the excitement. Upon reaching our snorkeling haven along Oahu’s western coastline, we geared up and eagerly plunged into the pristine waters. Given that most of our group were first-time snorkelers, there was a slight learning curve; stories of “slurping up” saltwater became a fond part of our shared experience. The underwater world revealed an array of fish reminiscent of those in Finding Nemo—an adorable starfish even added to the enchantment post-snorkeling, we savored a delectable Hawaiian meal, where some students discovered the challenges of managing lettuce in the ocean breeze. A few of us are still trying to find our sea legs! 

The day continued with hiking Diamond Head at Diamond Head National Park. The unique profile of Diamond Head sits prominently near the eastern edge of Waikiki’s coastline.  This is Hawaii’s most recognized landmark and is known for its historic hiking trail, stunning coastal views, and military history. The broad, saucer-shaped crater was formed about 300,000 years ago during a single volcano eruption.  The trek from trailhead to summit is steep and strenuous, including a 225-foot tunnel. The panoramic view from the mountaintop was awe-inspiring, encompassing the entire crater, surrounding mountains, and the vast Oahu seascape. Estimated to be 300,000 years old, Diamond Head’s geological wonders provided a fitting conclusion to a day filled with adventure and exploration. After the hike, we indulged in some delicious food, capping off a day filled with unforgettable experiences.

January 4, 2024


Our day started off with breakfast and relaxation here on campus before heading to Rotary Park. Once we arrived at Rotary, we went for a nature walk that lasted a couple of miles. Some of the students checked out the nature center while others began outdoor activities. After we finished exploring Rotary Park, we made our way to NBalance Yoga. We had an amazing time of breathing, stretching, mindfulness, and relaxation. We wrapped our day up with lunch and a meeting back in the classroom before dismissal.

History & Local Government

Today’s dose of local history took our group to the Fort Donelson National Battlefield.

Students had the opportunity to see The Upper and Lower Battery, which is where the Confederate cannons were located along the banks of the Cumberland River. Also, we enjoyed the breathtaking views throughout the visit. Students also had the opportunity to tour the National Cemetery and the Dover or “Surrender” House, which is where the Confederacy surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. Special Thanks to Park Ranger Susan Hawkins, who has guided many of these trips for CA students over the years!


Students are progressing on their monochromatic acrylic portraits. Each color in their palette requires 4-6 coats for every section on the portrait.  We will finalize the portraits and customize backgrounds tomorrow. I’m looking forward to sharing the final products! 

On Monday, Sarah Spillers will start the second of three projects for students during this CSA program. One will be a unique portrait in the style of artist Chuck Close, who had prosopagnosia, or face blindness. Our third project will be creation of a realistic chip bag. Stay tuned for more!

Job Shadowing & Community Service (Days 1 & 2)

Students have been hard at work on campus over the last two days learning about the do’s and don’ts of the job interviewing process. We’ve worked on handshakes, introductions, and answers to frequently asked interview questions to prepare students for their futures as young professionals. Students teleconferenced on Wednesday with a hiring manager at a local staffing agency to learn how to create and strengthen resumes. Today, students underwent mock interviews with Laura Hoppe, Stan Rozar, and Hunter Galbraith to practice and hone their interviewing skills.

Tomorow, students will assist at the Manna Cafe warehouse. More to come!

Boston (Days 1 & 2)

On the first day of our trip to Boston, we got to the airport bright and early. We got to Boston in time to see some of the wonders of the city on our first day here. We took a Freedom Trail Walk to explore a small slice of this historic city. There are many monumental places in Boston and on our first day we have already seen so many!

The first place we went was the Copps Burial Ground where many notable people are buried. While there we could see a beautiful view of the Boston Harbor. We also saw where Paul Revere once stood in Old North Church before his midnight ride from the burial ground. Revere hung two lanterns in the windows of Old North Church as a warning to the colonists that the British were coming by sea. During our walk we also saw the burial ground of Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Benjamin Franklin’s family.

After visiting the monuments, we went to dinner at Quincy Market. Quincy Market had a wide selection of restaurants for us to choose from to buy authentic food for our delicious dinner. After we all got finished eating and looking at the shops, we hopped on our bus to go to our hotel for the night and rest for the more fun to come.

South Africa

Some days in South Africa are just more beautiful than others…this was one of those days. We started the day with a leisurely drive around False Bay to Hermanus, where we had a nature walk along the cliffs and did a little shopping before lunch at the spectacular restaurant Bientang’s Cave.

This award-winning restaurant is situated on the shores of Walker Bay and is carved into the depths of a century old cave. This cave was named after Bientang, the last known indigenous Khoi Strandloper known to have lived in the cave around the turn of the 19th century.

After lunch we headed to nearby Voelklip Beach where the kids spent and afternoon swimming, sunbathing and exploring. 

Everglades and Keys

The Everglades and Keys group headed south early Thursday morning! We made it to our hotel and then went on an adventure to check out the local culture of South Beach. Students walked (perhaps the better term is hiked) nearly 2 miles to one of Miami’s legendary pizza places, Pizza Rustico! Students enjoyed their favorites with local south Miami flare. The were also very surprised at how large the pizzas were!

San Diego

Our west coast adventure started off smooth, albeit early, this morning with a 4 ½ hour flight. We landed in San Diego where it was a beautiful sunny day. We met up with our tour guide Kevin and hit the road on our way to our first destination, Birch Aquarium. Run by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the aquarium features several different species of fish, penguins, sea turtles, leopard sharks and sea dragons!

After some beautiful views, watching the sharks being fed, and petting a few sea stars, the group headed to La Jolla to admire even more stunning views and some wildlife in their natural habitat. We encountered a cliff full of pelicans, gulls, and cormorants! Then as we walked further down the coast, there were SO MANY seals and sea lions! A few of the students braved the chilly water and got a close up look at one of the sea lions. Next, we enjoyed a great meal at Joe’s Crab Shack and then headed to the hotel. The two-hour time difference and the early start has everyone ready to rest and get ready for tomorrow’s adventures.

Tennessee Natural Wonders (Days 1 & 2)

The Tennessee Natural Wonders group spent the first day of Winterim exploring the urban forest environment that surrounds CA and Downtown Clarksville. After practicing compass skills, we began our 16,000-step trek along the historic Cumberland River, through the Downtown Commons, and around the arboretum at APSU. We started Day 2 with Penny the turtle at the Wade Bourne Nature Center. After our turtle time, we learned how to do scientific drawings before setting out to explore the trails. We continued our hiking adventures at a local natural wonder – Dunbar Cave. We could not go into the cave (the bats are in hibernation) but were able to explore the mouth of the cave, a historical attraction, and to walk around the trails.


On Thursday, we traveled to Hollywood Studios where we got to experience behind-the-scenes attractions and first-in-line seats to The Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Rollercoaster. Also, through Imagination Campus, we took a physics class where we learned the science behind the launch and stop mechanics of the speed thrill Rockin’ Rollercoaster while also learning how the Tower of Terror elevators rose and fell. Throughout the day, some groups even spotted physics in many of the roller coasters, such as Slinky Dog Dash. Ending the night with fireworks and a show made Hollywood Studios a magical first day experience!


We started the day with an amazing Hawaiian breakfast. Our waitress was a local and shared lots of history about the island. After breakfast, we prepared to travel to the Polynesian Cultural Center. Upon arrival, they let us know we were their VIPs for the day. As VIPs, the students received a private guided tour through six island villages, were invited to attend the Luau, and had platinum seating for all events and shows.  

The students traveled through time and space at the Polynesian Cultural Center as we experienced thousands of years-worth of culture from six different island nations, each with its own flavor and appeal. After going through each island and learning about their cultures, we were told that we had earned our stripes and were tattooed! Don’t worry, they’ll wash off. Definitely ask to see their hula dancing, spear throwing, and fire making skills once we’ve returned to home! 

Oh, the Luau! How to describe it! Taste, sight, and sound united to bring the students the ultimate Luau experience.  We experienced authentic Polynesian food while enjoying an island extravaganza of song, dance, and celebration from across the Pacific.  Don’t worry, the night did not end there. 

After the Luau, we moved onto the IMAX theater to learn more about the culture passed down from Hawaiian generations and their connection with nature and their ancestors. We ended the night with the HA: Breath of Life Show and a quiet bus ride home. 

January 5, 2024


Our day once again began with some scrumptious breakfast and relaxation here on campus before heading over to Liberty Park. While at Liberty Park, we walked and did outdoor activities during our time there. Afterwards, we went over to American Pride Boxing for our class. The class was a great mix of cardio, strength, and mental training. It was a great workout as always. Once we got done there, we ate lunch and came back to campus for dismissal.


Γειά σου! We began today by boarding a bus to venture to Delphi, where the Temple of Apollo is located. Of course, on the way we had to stop by a quaint cafe in the mountains for some coffee and baklava. We all quickly fell in love with the local cats as we boarded the bus and set off to complete our journey. On the way, we passed through a village with very narrow streets. This particular village is popular with Greeks who travel to the mountains to ski. As we ventured through the labyrinth of streets, we learned that Spain and Greece are the two largest cotton producers in Europe. 

When we arrived at Delphi we were instantly in awe of the valley where the archeological sites are located, lined with olive trees and mountains towering above. We learned the story of how Zeus guided Apollo to Delphi by throwing the naval stone, and how he sent a dolphin to guide Apollo across the sea (this is one explanation for how Delphi got its name). Fun fact: the largest olive tree in Greece is located at Delphi, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site! After spending some time exploring the old temple, walking through the old amphitheater located above, and hearing the stories of the Oracle, we headed to the site’s museum to see the artifacts found at the site, including one of the best-preserved bronze sculptures from the era.

On the way to the Port of Piraeus, we stopped for lunch and to do a bit of shopping. At one shop in particular, we learned about the various types of rugs that are made by hand in the village. 

We ended our day at the Port of Piraeus and boarded our overnight ferry to venture to Crete. Of course, there was so much more packed into the day, but it would take far more time to share the unforgettable moments we have experienced.


The APSU Winterim group completed their portraits today. Students are selecting backgrounds and framing their pieces. Johnny Cash, Bob Ross, Paris Hilton and more are featured in the completed artwork.  Our next project is a snack still life. We will take a snack and use a grid pattern to make a life like painting!

Job Shadowing and Community Service

Today, we helped organize and distribute food at Manna Cafe’s warehouse. Manna Cafe is a local non-profit organization that assists anyone experiencing food insecurity in Clarksville and many of its surrounding counties. Despite the somewhat chilly conditions this morning, the students were eager to roll their sleeves up and get to work! Students packed bread and sweet boxes, loaded other essential grocery items into carts, and distributed the prepared goods to those there for assistance. After returning to campus, students reconvened about their experiences before dismissal.

Tennessee Natural Wonders / History & Local Govt.

On Day 3, the TN Natural Wonders and the History & Local Govt. groups traveled together to Sweetwater, Tennessee, to visit The Lost Sea, America’s largest underground lake and Registered National Natural Landmark.  

We hiked 140 feet below ground level to the lake, which is located within the historic cave systems of the area.  Along the way we experienced “total darkness” and learned about the history of the cave.  At the bottom of the cave, we took a boat ride on a four-acre lake, and we had the opportunity to feed the rainbow trout, which swam near the surface.  



Students started the day by searching for the Liberty Tree. Once at the Liberty Tree, we discussed the significance of the tree and the meaning behind the lanterns which hang there.  Students learned about the Liberty Bell and the meaning of the words imprinted on it.  Students were divided into groups to explore Liberty Square and identify cultural differences in the area. They observed Paul Revere’s lanterns, people in colonial dress, stockades, and more. Students spent the rest of the day exploring Magic Kingdom, experiencing the different areas of the park. 


Our adventure took us to Pearl Harbor today, the final resting place for the 1,177 lives lost during the sudden attack on the harbor. We took a deep dive into what happened on the tragic Sunday morning of December 7, 1941. A ferry brought us to the remains of some ships that were attacked and had been repurposed into a memorial, such as the USS Arizona which had only the gun turrets and parts of the hull visible above the surface with the rest sunken into the murky waters of the Pacific. 

The Battleship Missouri allowed a glimpse into the living conditions of the sailors. Students were able to guide themselves through the ship and explore various nooks and crannies where the sailors worked and lived. As the noon Hawaii sun beat down upon the battleship, the students were reminded how things can change in an instant and the strength and resolve of our armed forces. 

The night ended on an especially relaxing, jazzy note as the students boarded the stunning Star of Honolulu cruise ship and were greeted with tasty Hawaiian drinks and charcuterie. The 5-star meal was accompanied by a jazz trio consisting of Oahu’s finest musicians, punctuated with views of the sunset and concluding with fireworks from the shore. It was a magical evening on the waves that would lull the students (and Mr. Wells!) into a deep slumber upon returning to the hotel!

South Africa

Friday the group traveled about 1.5 hours to Muizenberg Beach to learn to surf! Most of the kids (and adults) had never experienced this before and certainly never in this setting. After a short tutorial on the beach, we hit the waves for yet another adventure. At the end of the three hour experience, all the students and Ms. Kaleigh Goostree claim to have ridden the waves while standing! (Mrs. Allen only got to her knees, but had fun just the same.) The group then enjoyed lunch in the coastal town and headed back to the hotel for some much needed R&R. We then boarded the bus again for an epic adventure—-Mountain Climbing! This group of 28 people hiked up steep inclines, climbed over rocks, scaled mountain ladders to reach the summit of 2195 feet of Loin’s Head Mountain. This group showed their true grit and determination to accomplish this goal.

San Diego

January 6, 2024

South Africa

The day dawned early for this group’s first adventure. We traveled to Constanta, Western Cape, in wine country to zip line at 550 feet across 1680 feet of lines. The course was seven lines and an experience of a lifetime. Each child came and conquered. After leaving there we headed to downtown Cape Town and Greenstreet Market for lunch and shopping at huge street market. The kids all found the perfect African souvenirs to take home. Then back to the water front for a stroll and dinner before packing up to head off on Safari!


We disembarked for the Dole Plantation shortly after sunrise, ready to bask in the bucolic setting and savor the freshly picked fruits grown on the many acres of farmland. The Pineapple Express took us through each section of the farm, where the red soil, enriched with iron from centuries of volcanic pyroclasts, nourished the many decadent fruits, namely the signature pineapple. And of course, the iconic Dole Whip was a sweet way to conclude time on the plantation! 

We headed north to Hale’iwa, the historic surf town that is the cultural hub of the North Shore. Here students browsed the numerous surf shops, stocking items ranging from boogie boards and hula figurines to mother-of-pearl necklaces and hibiscus cologne. We punctuated our visit with some amazing local cuisine!

The day continued with a hike at Waimea Falls, which made you feel like you were in the actual rainforest. The hike ended at a beautiful waterfall!  We had so much fun swimming under the waterfall. The water was frigid, but the experience was worth it.  

We ended the night with time at the beach, where there was boogie boarding, pier jumping, sunning, and swimming! 


After our overnight ferry across the Aegean Sea, we departed onto the port of the city of Χανιά (Chania) on the island of Crete. Crete is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean and the southernmost isle of the Greek islands. When leaving the port, we quickly noticed the mountainous landscape of the island with large hills and mountains stretching right to the sea. 

After settling into our hotel, we began a guided tour of the city of Chania, which we quickly learned has a very layered history. On our walking tour we passed by ruins of Minoan houses which were thousands of years old alongside Venetian Roman Catholic Churches and ottoman minarets. We learned that the city of Chania was a port city under the control of Venice for hundreds of years before being conquered by the Ottoman Empire. The Cretan people would eventually gain independence until uniting with Greece. This deep history of conquest is evident in the architecture of the city, which has a mix of Greek, Italian, and Turkish buildings. 

After some walking we found ourselves in the center of the city, which surrounded a beautiful medieval Venetian port. Shops, restaurants, and historic buildings line the port; a large Venetian wall and an Egyptian lighthouse encloses the water from the Aegean Sea. We walked away from the port and toward a small section of beach to dip our toes in the Aegean. After the beach, we stopped by a cafe for a quick treat and a nice vista of the city and sea before heading back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. At dinner we tried a variety of traditional Greek dishes and ended off a spectacular day with an evening walk through the center of town to the hotel.

San Diego

We had a wonderful morning and some amazing guides at Torrey Pines Natural Reserve. The park is located within city limits and includes stunning views of the California coastline. This 2,000-acre park is home to magnificent the Torrey pine trees; the reserve is one of only two places in the world where these trees grow, making them one of the rarest pine trees! Our group hiked about a mile through the park, down to the stone beach and back.

Afterward, we headed to La Jolla beach for sea kayaking. The surf and waves were too strong close to the sea caves that we were going to explore, so our group paddled for about 2 miles just off the shoreline. Our students are now expert kayakers!

From there, we grabbed lunch on the way and went to the San Diego Zoo, which is one of the most famous zoos in the world. The zoo is 100 acres and is home to over 4,000 animals! We went with a “divide and conquer” plan so that everyone could see the animals and exhibits that they were most interested in. Finally, we went to Phil’s BBQ for dinner, just to see if it’s any good compared to Tennessee barbecue (spoiler, it’s not), but the food was very tasty, and we were quite hungry after our long busy day. We headed back to the hotel and are resting up for tomorrow’s adventures!


We left the hotel at around 8:45 in the morning to begin our day at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. There were seemingly countless exhibits displaying glass flowers, crystals, history, and different kinds of animals around the world. After this we walked to Harvard University and walked around the Harvard Yard for a little while. Soon after, we headed to a shopping district near the area for lunch. One of the main attractions found was The COOP which is Harvard’s official store.

At around 2:30 P.M. we arrived at Fenway Park and met our tour guide. The tour guide would go on and explain the history and significance of the park and how it’s the oldest field still played at. After the tour, we walked from the bus to the Fairmount Copley, a luxurious hotel found in the area. Across the street, we saw the Trinity Church, a significant landmark in post-Civil War Boston. Just down the street, we headed to the Boston Public Library which is the biggest library in the nation – it is filled with beautiful Renaissance art as well! Around the corner from the library was the Boston Marathon Memorial, a tribute that honors the victims of the domestic terror attack during the race in 2013. After paying our respects at the memorial, we headed to a local Mexican restaurant for dinner and called it a night as snow started to fall.


Our visit to Animal Kingdom was one of the best experiences we’ve had together! It was raining when we arrived at the park, which meant there were less people in lines. We were able to ride Kilimanjaro’s Safari twice! We got to see many species of animals from the African continent. There were loads of facts about the animals. While on the first safari ride, there were two rhinos that ran by our vehicle, and we observed a nearby lioness tracking the rhinos’ movements. 

On the second ride, we got a close-up look of the giraffes! It was awesome to see the giraffes walking around and grazing from nearby trees! We took notes about the animals and reptiles as the ride continued! For example, a herd of zebras is called a dazzle. Also, lions can see 6 times better at night! We took a break from learning to grab lunch and explore Animal Kingdom in small groups before meeting back up to visit Disney’s Conservation Station. We went to a petting zoo and looked at all kinds of domesticated animals there! The petting zoo also had other animals like frogs and lizards! There was also an animal hospital where they helped sharks recover. After visiting the hospital, we enjoyed the remainder of the evening exploring the park!


Today we got up bright and early to go out to sea to snorkel however the ocean had other plans for us. While on our way to the snorkeling charter we received a phone call from the company informing us that the snorkeling trip had been canceled due to water conditions. We had winds blowing from the south at 14 knots which made it impossible to physically be in the water for snorkeling. They offered us a trip deep sea and coral reef fishing with their neighboring fishing charter boat the Marathon Queen. While it was bumpy and rough heading out, students had a blast catching all types of reef fish, one even caught an eel! The weather turned out to be beautiful on our 5-hour fishing trip–we caught well over 60 fish! The deck mates taught us about the different types of fish found on the reefs in the Keys. The also explained to us why the coral reefs were so important to maintain not from just an ecological standpoint but also an economic one. 

After leaving the fishing trip we headed to eat lunch and get ready for the tour of the Turtle Hospital. The Turtle Hospital is a 24/7 fully staffed veterinary hospital that specializes in turtles. They operate 365 days a year. Our tour guide was amazing! She taught us all about the different types of diseases turtles usually come in for, with the majority of them being boat strikes, and plastic injuries. They have a 75% survival success rate with their veterinary medicine and rehabilitation program. The other 25% either become unreleasable(meaning they live out their life there or at another facility) or they succumb to their injury/sickness. She taught us that if the sea turtles come in and they have 80% or less of their vision left they will also deem them unreleasable because the importance of the turtles needing to see. We learned that 5 of the 7 sea turtle species are found within the Florida Keys, with the other 2 being in either India or Australia. During our visit, students got to interact with the turtles and feed them. We also go to see the turtles that are currently hospitalized and being treated for injuries. They even had 2 hatchlings there that are around 7 weeks old that someone discovered and brought to them. 

After the Turtle Hospital we went to Burdines Waterfront Grills where we had a great dinner, along with Key Lime Pie, because a trip to the Keys would not be complete without Key Lime Pie. 

January 7, 2024


Our final day on Oahu began by departing for Kualoa Ranch, where over 200 movies and TV shows, such 50 First Dates, Jurassic World, and Jumanji, were filmed. We channeled our inner paniolo–the Hawaiian cowboy–on a horseback tour that took us across the Ka’a’awa Valley to see segments of the 4,000-acre nature reserve and the numerous settings where these movies were brought to life. The view at the summit spanned miles, allowing us to see distant islands and the crystal clear, waist-deep water stretching across all of the East Shore. 

A jungle tour was also taken by our group, where various points on the reserve offered a vignette into ancient Hawaiian life, complete with grass huts and wooden depictions of the Hawaiian gods. Multiple stops also took us to replicas of scenes from movies, such as a crashed (styrofoam) helicopter from the movie Kong! Wild boars and mongooses were seen skittering through the brush, and wild chickens perched in the many trees extending into the sky. A moment of respite was taken by a nearby creek to soak in the sounds, aroma, and verdure of our surroundings.

No trip to Hawaii could be considered “perfect” without dinner by the beach! Duke’s Canoe Club was the final stop of our trip, and the perfect conclusion to our Winterim journey. The salty Hawaiian air, aroma of coconut shrimp, and live music by the beach at sunset culminated in a picturesque ending that appealed to all of the senses – what a perfect way to get into the true spirit of “Aloha!”


The morning began in Chania with a brisk swim in the Aegean Sea. The water was beyond cold, so we had to move a lot in the water to avoid hyperthermia. Now the group can officially say that we’ve swam in the Mediterranean! After our swim, we dried off and observed the Epiphany ceremony. This ceremony is in remembrance of John the Baptist by the Greek Orthodox Church. The tradition includes a procession, a blessing of the waters, and a cross being thrown into the water by the head priest of Chania. The cross is then dived after by local Cretan men, and the man who grabs the cross is considered blessed. Most of the group was sitting just above the water and had a perfect view of both the ceremony and the fish swimming beneath us. 

Afterwards, we boarded our bus and headed to Rethymno for a quick view of the Venetian shipyards. We had a brief lunch before boarding the bus again. Our final destination for the day was Heraklion. Before a walk on the streets of Heraklion, we ate at our hotel. The meal was buffet-style, and the cheese pies are a delicious staple at most restaurants in Greece. The pedestrian-friendly streets were full of shops that are usually open during the summer; many of us grabbed gelato at an Italian gelato stand while others tried Bougatsa, a sweet pastry dessert covered with sugar and cinnamon, that a couple of restaurants in Heraklion are world famous for. After a long day of traveling and seeing the sights, we slept like rocks at our hotel that night.



Today we got up and traveled to Big Pine Key and met with Captain Bill and Sean for our 4.5-hour ecological kayak tour. This was a first for many of the students, so Bill and Sean walked everyone through how to get into their kayak and paddle properly. After our quick lesson, students were fitted with life jackets and off we went across the channel. It started off beautiful outside, 80 degree and sunny, but the weather does often change on a dime in the Keys.

As we worked our way through the mangrove forest, Bill and Sean talked to the students about the importance of the mangrove forests. The mangrove forests are the nursery for pretty much all fish species in the Keys because they offer shelter from predators and are easy, reliable food sources. We also learned that there are 3 different species of mangroves in the keys: black, red, and white; each species has a different way of filtering the salt out of their system. Mangrove forests can also withstand wind speeds up to 250 mph which is the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane. They protect the shorelines from the destructive forces of the hurricanes as well such as storm surge, and act as a wind break. They are extremely important to the ecosystem for not only this, but mangrove forest also help filter the water from pollutants. Also, mangroves will not sprout unless 7 seedlings have joined together–they enjoy having strength in numbers! Students also saw crabs, hermit crabs, jellies, horseshoe crabs, and sea stars while we were on our trip. A baby lizard also hitched a ride on one of their boats as well. 

As mentioned before the weather turns on a dime in the Keys, and our beautiful day turned stormy very quickly! On our last stop, we noticed that the sky was turning really dark to the northwest of us, and we had hoped that it was going to skirt around the island. We were able to work our way back through the river channel VERY quickly, but as we neared the main ocean channel to cross the winds shifted and the surf began to pick up. We were able to cross the channel just in time. As soon as we got on the bus it began to pour rain!

January 8, 2024


Today we started our day off with breakfast and relaxation. We then went back to Trifecta and swapped from what we did last week. The spin group was very energetic today! The strength training group’s trainers paid the group some fantastic compliments following their workout as well! After we wrapped up at Trifecta, we grabbed lunch and came back to campus to eat. Once we were done with lunch we went back to Liberty Park where students did outdoor activities until it was time to head back to campus and dismiss.

Community Service

Today our group helped out at YAIPAK, a fantastic local nonprofit organization dedicated to many different avenues of community service. YAIPAK collects donations for the homeless, veterans, foster children/families, and victims of natural disasters. Students helped organize donated clothes, load a truck with items bound for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and offloaded pallets of various household donations across their warehouse’s six different bays. Although there was a lot of ground to cover, our students were energized and ready to work! Crystal Gonzalez, YAIPAK Veteran Manager, gave us a tour of the entire facility and explained the organization’s history and mission before we left for lunch. After a stop at Chick-fil-a, we returned to campus for dismissal.

History & Local Government

Today, our first stop was a presentation by Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts. Mayor Pitts discussed the history of Clarksville and the structure of city government. Also, Mayor Pitts fielded questions from group members dealing with local issues and concerns. Shout out to the Mayor and his staff for making our visit informative and educational!

Our second stop was the Montgomery County Election Commission, led by Elizabeth Black. Mrs. Black discussed the election process and showed students how to vote on the brand-new voting machines. Thanks to Mrs. Black for always participating in our Winterim program!

The final stop for the day was Fort Defiance. Mr. William Parker gave students a tour of the Fort and discussed the background and significance of Fort Defiance during the Civil War. We appreciate Mr. Parker’s participation in our program!

Tomorrow, students will travel to Nashville for a tour of the State Capitol and Tennessee State Museum.


Our penultimate day at APSU was filled with activity.  Students completed their acrylic portraits and realistic chip bags in the morning.  After lunch, which has been catered daily by APSU, we took a full tour of the campus.  Students had the opportunity to go in two different dorms and get a feel for the regular and apartment style living options on campus.  When we returned, we started working on disco balls in the style of artist Sari Shryak.  Our final task was selection of an image for tomorrow’s final project, a portrait in the style of Chuck Close.

South Africa January 7 & 8

The group traveled to Aquila Game Reserve for a real life safari. The resort was beautiful and the weather perfect, just a little chilly. On the 7th we went out on a late afternoon safari and saw so many wonderful animals, from lions to rhinos, from hippos to baboons, from ostrich to zebra, and so much more. It was an experience of a lifetime. We headed back to our resort for dinner and star gazing around a bonfire. The 7th dawned early with a 7:00 AM ride. During this the animals were really on the move! The elephants kept walking and crossing right next to us! Less than 20 feet! They even had a friendly tussle in front of our truck. When we entered the lion’s area they were also up and roaming and Simba—as we liked to call him, came within 10 feet of our truck. He looked many of us right in the eyes and I have to say, it was a little scary! Afterward, we returned to the resort to pack up and head back to Cape Town for our final night. We enjoyed sunset on the beach with a late dinner. We are all exhausted and ready to come home, but oh so grateful for this amazing once in a lifetime experience.


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–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!

Begin Your Journey.