Sunday, March 29, 2015

Cleveland Rocks, and Homeward Bound

I was torn between two songs for the last blog post of this great trip, so I went with both. We made it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, on the shores of Lake Erie. For a lot of people on the bus, including myself, 2 hours was not nearly enough time to spend there.

We made it back to Wild Rose around 9:15 tonight. I cannot express enough how grateful I am to this group of individuals for their help and cooperation this week. You were truly a great group to work with. 

I asked each student what their favorite part of the trip was, so as a sign off here is what they had to say...

Top of the Rock, seeing the city. - Tanner

Forcing Mr. Yeska into the pool -Nick 

Being in New York and seeing how nuts it was. Aladdin was good, being able to walk around Times Square, and Top of the Rock were the best, -Jeremy 

New York was pretty amazing, being on the top of the city was great and just hanging out with great friends. - Justin 

The best part of the trip was going to New York and feeing people spend their day in the big apple. -Jerah

Seeing the Statue of Liberty, and even though I was a little scared, going on the rock and seeing all of the city. -Jacob 

The best part was exploring New York, every last bit of it. -Faith

The whole trip was pretty amazing, but the best part was seeing how different we live. - Ari G.

The best part for me was Times Square and the broadway show. - Robbie

The best part was being on top of the rock to see the city. - Austîn 

The whole trip was a unforgettable experience! My favorite parts were seeing the geography of the east coast, and the rock and roll hall of fame. Also the amazing view from the rock. - Mary

My favorite parts were when we drove through New York, I'm not a city person, but it was beautiful! Then we went to the top of the rock! Oh wow was that amazing. Then the last was the rock and roll hall of fame. Every one of my favorite singers were there, well except Dolly. - Dani

My favorite part about this trip was to see all the sights on the on the way there and back, I loved seeing all the buildings in New York, but I'd never want to live there.  I liked walking the streets too. -Monica

My favorite part about the trip was going to Broadway! This part of the trip meant a lot to me because I am all about theater, and it'd be amazing to work up to something like broadway. - Allie

My favorite part about this trip was walking around Times Square. I was able to take a picture with a giant version of the sphere. The view of Top of the Rock was just as great! - Sierra

Most favorite part about my trip was Times Square & Top of the Rock. It was nice and I've always dreamed about going there. - Derek

My favorite part of this trip was going to Times Square. I loved seeing Aladdin on Broadway and walking around in New York City - my dream city (I hope to live there). I loved going to the Hard Rock Cafe and the Rock Hall, and I'd love to be able to go back (and maybe have more time in Times Square). - Megan

My favorite part of the trip was going to New York and exploring Times Square, and exploring Philadelphia. Seeing the architecture and the art within the city and historic buildings were breathtaking! I'm definitely coming back. - Katie

My favorite part of this week was definitely seeing all the new attractions that we didn't see last year. It was beautiful to see all the New York lights! - Haeleigh

My all time favorite part of this trip was going down times square and seeing all of the lights and stores. I loved going to see Aladdin. It was amazing, I love theater so much. - Ari D.

My favorite part of this New York trip was the experience. I mean I've seen pictures of the place, but you can only get ideas from pictures you can't really understand them until you have experienced them first hand. - Haley A.

Finally, over the course of the week we encountered several other school groups. After these encounters I was always left with one of two thoughts:
1) "We have a great group of kids in Wild Rose, very well behaved and respectful."
2) "I would be embarrassed if I was that kids teacher."

The students and chaperones did a great job all week, especially getting on and off the bus in NYC.

I hope to be able to take another group in 2 years!
Until next time,...
-Big Y

Saturday, March 28, 2015

On the road again

Yesterday we left Newark, and made it to the same hotel we stayed in the first night, in Ohio. We made a few stops along the way. Our first stop was at Hershey World, where many in the group stocked up on chocolate. After that we made our way to Harrisburg, the state capital of Pennsylvania, for a Capitol tour. Our tour guide thankfully did not ask us a lot of questions about the legislative process in Pennsylvania, she did however, make a lot of comparisons to the Capitol building in Madison. 

The Pennsylvania senate floor. 

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives those chandeliers weigh over a ton!

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Their Supreme Court is only there two times a year, otherwise they spend their time traveling the state to hear cases. Spending most of their time in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

After the Capitol building we detoured to see the Flight 93 Memorial, just outside of Shanksville, PA. Unfortunately I left my camera on the bus, so I did not get a picture. There is a boulder that stands in the place where flight 93 crashed into the ground. The plane made a 40 foot crater upon impact. The flight was 18 minutes from Washington DC when the passengers and crew tried to reclaim the plane from the hijackers. The famous last words from the passengers were "Let's Roll." 

Following that we made our way through western PA, and arrived in eastern Ohio through the snow. The students enjoyed a pool party and sub sandwiches last night. Today we have one stop before we make our way home....The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland. 

Overheard on the trip:
"Can we extend this trip another month"
"This was a great experience" 
"Wisconsin is portrayed on TV like we are a bunch of freaks" 

Movies watched so far...7 you can add 50 First Dates, and The Sandlot to the list. Also the movie I could not remember that we watched on the way out here was Night at the Museum. 

Before signing off I will leave you with what greeted me this morning, when I opened the door...

Friday, March 27, 2015

Down in Jungleland

It seemed fitting to pay tribute to the craziness that is NYC, by naming the last post about NYC, after a song written by New Jersey's favorite son, Bruce Springsteen. Also our hotel the last 3 nights was on Newark, NJ. 

There is so much to do and see in NYC, that two days there just doesn't seem like enough. That said there were also a few disappointments along the way. We woke up to discover a heavy fog around lower Manhattan. This took away from some amazing views of the skyline, Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island. 

We took a ferry to Ellis island to begin our day, and discovered in the museum a picture from Wild Rose  dated around 1915. After that we visited the Statue of Liberty, and arrived in Battery Park in the heart of the financial district. I will let the photos do the talking of these sights. 

You can just barely make out the skyline. 

Ellis Island 

Inside Ellis Island this is the where the immigrants waited to be processed after getting off the boat. 

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-lost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door." - Emma Lazarus 1883

After meeting up with the bus, which was an adventure, we headed up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the next disappointment occurred. Having to go all the way from lower Manhattan up to 81st street took a lot longer than anticipated, after all it is New York. We were only able to spend 25 minutes at the Met. For the students that were excited for this, they had to quickly find what they wanted to see. 

Our day concluded with dinner at Ellen's Stardust Diner where the waitstaff sings while you eat, because they are hoping to make it to Broadway. It was a bit of a walk from 57th to 51st street, but the group made it and unloaded the bus in record time (32 seconds). One thing you learn quickly is that traffic does not wait for you.  After dinner we headed over to 5th avenue to see Rockefeller Plaza and the Top of the Rock. The top of the rock is another place where the photos will do the talking. You can actually feel the building sway in the wind when you are up on the 67th floor.

We made it back to the hotel in time to catch the 2nd Half of the Badger game and are currently on the bus headed to Harrisburg and Hershey, Pennsylvania. 

Overheard yesterday:
"This is amazing" -several people once we reached the 67th floor of Rockefeller Plaza

Interesting fact:
Many presidents have buildings, bridges, and highways named after them. Grover Cleveland has a rest stop in New Jersey, just south of Newark on the Jersey Turnpike, named after him...we didn't stop. 

That big area of green is Central Park.

The Empire State Building 

Panoramic view looking south towards lower Manhattan

The studios of the today show in Rockefeller plaza. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Empire State of Mind

Yesterday (Wednesay) was a long, but amazing day. We started the day at 8am, proceeded through the Linclon tunnel and spent a lot of time in traffic. Wee met out step on guide and had a bus tour of Manhattan. The most powerful part of the day was touring the 9/11 memorial. The really great part of the tour was meeting up with former Wild Rose Alum, Lori Pitzen-Doherty who works for the memorial. She explained her role with the memorial foundation and shared her experience of September 11th. 

Here is Lori and all the WR Alums that are on our trip. 
After seeing the memorial, we headed up town to see, well a lot. Our tour guide Meredith took us all over the city and shared not only history but information about where various famous movie scenes were filmed. Not only was Meredith great, but our bus driver Larry (also from Wild Rose) did a great job getting us through traffic all day. 

Highlights of the tour yesterday included, Chinatown, the Harlem district, a drive past Carnegie Hall, lunch and grand central station, Central Park and many other things. Basically we went Uptown (funk), then we went Downtown, because things will be great when you're downtown.

After the tour we had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe in the heart of Times Square, and the students and chaperones had some time to explore Times Square, before we saw the Broadway show Alladin. As I said it was a long day, we headed out at 8am,and did not return to the hotel until 11:30 last night. Thursday is our last day in the city, complete with Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, MOMA, and the Top of the Rock. 

Overheard on the trip: "What does this Schnook think he's doing" -Meredith our tour guide commenting on a few NY drivers. 

Enjoy the following pictures from day 1in NYC. Can you guess our locations from the pictures? Feel free to comment below to interact with us on the tour.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Streets of Philadelphia/ Philadelphia Freedom

KToday we were able to experience Philadelphia. The students, and chaperones were able to sleep in a bit because which is good because these next two days will be jam packed. We left the Hotel at 9am, made our way through Philadelphia traffic to meet our guide our guide for the day, who was dressed like a traditional continental solider from Pennsylvania. Our tour lasted 5 hours, and we saw a lot of great historical artifacts and buildings. This is where our country was created, the founding fathers sat, and our constitution was created. It was great to be apart of colonial American history. We finished our day in Philadelphia at the Constitution Center we saw a great exhibit on the importance of the constitution and civics. We began our time there by seeing a very powerful presentation about what "We the people" mean. Also at the center is the original Bill of Rights. 

Check out a few of the pictures from our day in Philly. Tomorrow we will be seeing as much of Manhattan as we can. (It will be a long day, we leave the hotel at 7:45) am. We are going to see NYC and finish the day at a Broadway show. 

Overheard on the trip...
"This isn't a meeting room,  it is a gym." -some lady in the hotel, who did not like the fact that we were using the hotel exercise area, which was pool side, and had a view of the pool for supervising students, while we met to discuss tomorrow. 

Biggest disappointment so far...
The fact that US Mint did not have "free samples"

This painting depicts what the signers room at Independence hall looked like when The Constitution was signed. 

Robert Morris (Who shares his name with my grandpa)

The old Pennsylvania Supreme Court room. 

This is where the declaration was signed in 1776, and constitution in 1787. It is very powerful when you consider that the founding fathers were all in this room at one time. 

Finally here is a picture of the group with Independence Hall in the background.