Students Spend Two Days in Exploration, Expedition, and Enrichment

Chelsea Academy students and teachers stepped away from regular classes last week, not to take a break from school, but to enrich and expand upon their classroom experiences. The two-day program entitled E3: Exploration, Expedition, Enrichment allows teachers to share a personal interest with students who are invited to – as the name indicates – explore new ideas and new places with purpose and bring their enriching experience back to their classmates and families.

Students participating in Surf ‘n Turf: An Army-Navy Excursion toured the National Museum of the US Navy, at the historic Navy Yard in Washington, DC, where they learned about the facility and its roles in the Navy’s history. A tour guide showed students artifacts and told anecdotes from naval history. The boys also had a chance to see (and climb on!) retired naval guns, both indoors and out. The group then traveled to the Army Heritage Center in Carlisle, PA, where they toured the interactive museum and explored — in the falling snow — the outdoor Heritage Trail with its military hardware displays and recreations of historical military scenarios, from the redoubt at Yorktown, to the trenches of WWI, a WWII induction center, a firebase from Vietnam, to defensive positions from Afghanistan.

A Taste of Italy allowed students to begin their adventure celebrating the feast of Don Bosco at Holy Rosary Church, a beautiful Italian church in DC. They then trekked to the National Gallery of Art to appreciate a number of works by Italian artists, and returned to Front Royal to be treated to a tasty meal at Castiglia’s. On Friday the students arrived rolling pin in hand and spent the day learning about Italian cuisine and preparing a variety of delicious dishes (stuffed peppers! ravioli! tiramisu), and ended the day with a true Italian feast.

Even the polar vortex couldn’t stop intrepid Chelsea students from participating in the Winter Camp E3. Trading tents for backcountry cabins overlooking the beautiful Rapidan River in Madison County, the excursion began with a hike to Camp Hoover — President Herbert Hoover’s retreat in Shenandoah National Park. Returning to their cabins, the students kept the woodstoves fed, experienced camp cooking and built a massive outdoor bonfire.

Students in The Creator and the Creative E3 explored the beauty of the Creator in DC! Students took a bus to Washington, D.C. to tour the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, attended a piano concert by Catholic University piano performance students, attended Mass at the Basilica, and then had lunch at Chipotle. The following day, students expressed their creative side, spending the morning being artistic, having lunch, and then giving thanks for the gifts and talents they have been given by our Creator!

A double-hike in Shenandoah National Park with 5,000 feet of elevation gain and 12 – 16 miles traversed, was the beginning of an adventure for students in The Agony and the Ecstacy. The second day had students meandering into D.C. by way of the best tacos in Virginia (Taco Bamba). The group spent the afternoon in the museum and finally to hear the National Symphony Orchestra where Gianandrea Noseda joined by the sensational pianist Daniil Trifonov playing Beethoven’s most famous Piano Concerto – the triumphant Fifth.

Students in An Adventure in Spelunking learned about cave formation and safe navigation of unlit caverns. The group visited Shenandoah Caverns to get a tourist’s view of a lit cave. Then, they headed to Kees Cave in West Virginia in hard-hats, head lamps, and jump suits to navigate the muddy world of an unlit cave in its natural state. The caving experience was completed with a visit to Spelunker’s, of course!

The Winter Sports E3 students threw themselves into a winter wonderland adventure of skiing and ice skating at Massanutten Ski Resort and the rink at the Ashburn Ice House.

Behind the Scenes gave students an opportunity to explore what it takes to create the magic of theater. Students participated in a stage makeup workshop by a professional makeup artist, tried their hand at dramatic games, worked through staging and set design, and created costumes that make characters real. The students also designed and built a model for a set, and participated in acting games including stage deaths.

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