By: Alexandra Hess, a scholar at the Gateway campus
All of junior year and part of my senior year was spent anticipating my trip to New York and Boston on the 2018 History Tour and let me say, it was 100% worth the wait. From being delayed in Chicago for two hours, to getting stuck under a bridge on a freeway during rush hour in New York City, this six-day long trip was definitely one to remember.
Monday, October 1st of 2018, twenty-seven Heritage Gateway scholars dragged themselves out of their beds around four o’clock in the morning and rushed off to the Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. A few hours later, they are all flying across the country, antsy in their seats because of the excitement that is to come. Now, the original plan was to have a layover in Chicago, Illinois for only an hour or so… we were there for two, and it threw the entire schedule for the trip off kilter.
Everyone was freaking out when we finally landed in Boston even though we were being greeted by fog and continuous rain showers. The baggage claim was filled with tons of teenagers repeating over and over, “WE ARE IN BOSTON!” I wish I could personally apologize to everyone that was around us… we were pretty annoying. Then it was time to meet our tour guide and bus driver for the next six days, McGarren and Arnold, and we were on our way to Lexington, Massachusetts; off to the “Shot Heard Round the World”.
Now, I want to fast-forward to my favorite part of the trip… Ellis Island. The island was open for sixty-two years with millions of immigrants moving to the United States in plans of prospering and a new beginning. It is believed among my family that I have had a few relatives come through here. Walking through the Registry Room was a mind-blowing experience; knowing that some of my ancestors walked through that white-bricked room starting a new life was fulfilling because they made it. They had succeeded.
After that soul awakening experience, the next step was Wall Street and seeing the Charging Bull. The whole group was captivated by the slightly rib-tickling back story of the famous bull; artist, Arturo Di Modica, spent around $360,000 of his own money and then at dawn planted the eleven-foot tall bronze bull outside of the Wall Street Trade Market. No one asked for it there… not even the government. This now iconic symbol of Wall Street was a complete spur of the moment. Every day the stock market workers would pass the bull, giving them a good start to their day as the bull is the symbol of a good market (“The Story Behind The Legendary Charging Bull).
As the entertaining stories of Wall Street came to an end, we explored the rest of New York City’s history and finally came face to face with the bright heart of the city: Times Square. This was a huge favorite among the crowd. All of the die-hard Broadway fans spent their time running up and down Broadway itself and mentally preparing for seeing Wicked in a Broadway theater. Disney nerds lost their minds when they went into the largest Disney store in the world, and finally, the cluster of people who walked into M&M World was able to smell diabetes in the air. By the end, everyone was complaining of aching feet but still had smiles plastered on their faces.
Now, months later when asked what was the best part of the trip, practically everyone explained that they loved being able to create stronger friendships outside of school. Shea Johnson, 2019 senior said, “It’s so fun getting to know people outside of school and seeing that side of them” (Hess). Everyone wishes that they could go back and keep traveling with their friends but at least we have an unforgettable and valuable experience.