And just like that, it was done. Canada's Coolest School Trip is over and the students are on their way home.
At 4:30 a.m., the students were up and headed to the airport. Though it was early, they all seemed ready to sleep in their own beds. And rightly so — the past week had been non-stop activity, and last night, while sitting in front of the Empress Hotel by Victoria harbour, the students shared their favourite moments of the trip.
The circle of 17 students from École Antoine-Roy were sitting in the shade of holly bush, faces flushed from four days of bright sun. The list of activities was long, but a favourite was the weapons demonstration at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site, followed by the exclusive tour of the Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site.
Whale watching was also a hit. The juicy crab on Sidney Island was a treat for those brave enough to try it, and seine netting later that day gave students the opportunity to see the hidden creatures of the eel grass. The chance to walk around Victoria was a delight. But sea kayaking just outside of Victoria may have been the most popular activity.
The Grade 8 class bonded over the week. Their teacher, Steven Boulay, took a moment to tell each student something he learned about them during the trip and how proud he was. Their behaviour was fantastic, and they made the trip a success. They were wiling to try anything once and were quick to help each other. They approached each of the activities Parks Canada prepared for them with genuine enthusiasm.
As the students headed back to Quebec, there were no tears, just tired content sunburnt faces. Young minds digesting an intense week of learning, fun and nature, ready for a rest and a chance to tell their friends and family about Canada's Coolest School Trip.