One of Maclay’s most well known traditions is having a field trip for each grade of high school. The seniors have an annual beach trip, the juniors have the ski trip and the sophomores have Sophomore Safari. The first field trip for upper school students, however, is the Freshman Challenge. Last year, the freshmen did not get to go on their annual field trip because of Covid, but this year brought back the tradition once again. On Oct. 5 and Oct. 6, the freshmen class went to Camp Geneva for their yearly field trip in central Florida. The purpose of the Freshman Challenge is to enhance student relationships, encourage self awareness and promote positive attitudes. 

Around 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the freshmen class paired into groups of about five girls and five boys plus two or three upperclassmen or teachers who acted as counselors. There were a total of 10 teams with assigned colors ranging from red to lime green. After the teams were formed, each group loaded onto an assigned bus, where each student sat with their team due to Covid. The three buses left for the trip around 7:30 a.m.

“I got to know some new people in my group, and got to meet new people that I haven’t ever met before,” freshman Andrew Lunt said. 

The buses stopped at the Busy Bee for a restroom break and the Paddock Mall for lunch. On the bus ride, the freshmen received specialized t-shirts based on their groups. They arrived at the camp around 1:30 p.m. and unloaded their belongings. The rest of the day was spent doing five secret activities, indulging in free time and producing skits to act out. During free time, students could play volleyball, swim in the pool or lake and hang out around the camp. 

“I liked the shaving cream the most because it was very funny and unexpected,” freshman Sarah Cannon said.

On day two, the students competed in the “Olympics.” Each team had different challenges to try to win and get as many points as possible. The yellow team ended up winning against the other nine teams. After the Olympics, the students had more free time while the counselors made awards for freshmen who stood out during the competitions. After free time, students packed up and loaded back onto the bus. Before the bus departed, students received their awards and said farewell to Camp Geneva. On the way back, the freshmen once again got to enjoy the Busy Bee and arrived back at Maclay around 6:30 p.m.

“It was good,” counselor and history teacher Christine Piepmeier said. “I think past years the facilities maybe were a little bit nicer, but they still seemed to have a good time. I liked watching dodgeball and all the competitions between everyone.”

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