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Michael Adams, PreUpper Instructor

We had a great first physical science class on Wednesday in PreUpper.  The 8th graders spent their time working on a get to know you student survey which opened up a conversation about a variety of things such as what the students did over the summer and what makes for a productive learning environment.  The students also completed a classroom scavenger hunt to get a feel for where classroom materials and lab equipment is in the classroom.  I am looking forward to a great year!  Pictured is Tom Leuder and Rayna Doniparthi exploring the science classroom.

Galapagos Islands - WLP
Galapagos Islands - WLP
Christian Kelm, U12

I enjoyed every bit of the Galapagos trip.The food throughout the trip was excellent, so good that I found myself reaching for seconds of things I would never touch back in the states. Our two tour guides, Alejandro and Pavlo, were both very friendly, funny, and knowledgeable about their countries. Quito was filled with many cultural, historical, and religious buildings, monuments, and works that absolutely fascinated me.The San Francisco and Santo Domingo churches were beautiful with ornate architecture. Quito was very clean, I dare say more so then Atlanta, and decked out in art, an all-round vibrant city. I loved the talks of Quito and Ecuador's pasts, from up to national revolution, to down to a specific engraving on a wall in an alley.I only spent about 4 days in Quito but now, it feels like I spent at least 4 weeks. The views in Quito will be emblazoned in my mind for years to come. Images of rolling hills, winding valleys, towering mountains, pristine lakes, and imposing volcanoes get stuck in my head as I look back now. The local market (pictured) stands out because of all the oddities, crafts, and trinkets. Everything from shirts, blankets, quilts, necklaces, rings, jewelry, wire sculptures, ceramics, belts, wallets, knives, masks, pencils, and even a few short swords made from animal bones.

When we got to the Galapagos Islands, I could instantly tell everything I had read about them was true.An archipelago over 800 miles off out in the Pacific Ocean with each island holding its own unique environment. On top of that, another standout was seeing how the ecosystem changed with altitude, from desert to forest, barren rocky bad lands to lush thick swamp.The animals too, blue footed boobies, finches, marine iguanas, and Galapagos tortoises. The diversity of wildlife got even better underwater. White and black tip reef sharks, sea lions, crabs small and grey, big and red, parrot fish, sea turtles, sea urchins, and sea slugs all close enough to touch.

The impressive lava tubes, island cutting canals, other environmental rarities made it hard to leave. I got closer to my friends who accompanied me on the trip and even made a few new ones.I learned a lot, and managed to have fun while doing so. The view that I saw overlooking Darwin's Bay will remain ingrained in my head for decades to come. All in all, the Galapagos trip was a wonderful experience that I'd do again in a heartbeat.