The saga of one class’s trip to the heart of New Hampshire history.
It was a perfect day.
The early May sun was out in full skip-spring-go-directly-to-summer force. The class schedule was wide open. And everyone was in a pretty terrific mood. Classroom teacher, Amanda, turned to her detachment of Paraeducators (and students?) and asked the question: “Should we go on our trip today?”
The response was unanimous: Yes!
Amanda’s class had been sitting on a sweet chunk of change for such an occasion. They had $107 in the pot to use for a field trip, but the opportunity hadn’t quite presented itself yet. Now, with the planets aligned and the money burning a hole in their collective pockets, the opportunity had not only presented itself, but seemed to descend from the heavens with the piercing blaze of the space shuttle re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
It was time to go!
But where to?
After a quick huddle, the crew zeroed in on their destination: the New Hampshire State House. They packed up their stuff, grabbed their cash, piled into their vans, and headed off to Concord. There was wholesome civic fun to be had and money to be spent and Amanda’s class was coming in hot.
THAT ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT
The funds for the trip weren’t conjured from the thin mountain air—they were the end result of several months’ worth of mixing, measuring, and marketing. Amanda’s class is geared towards fostering vocational and independent skills. Her students are typically out and about, working jobs or contributing volunteer hours.
Some work their own delivery routes (on and off campus), some run the weekly Meals on Wheels circuit, and all spend their classroom time fine-tuning their learning so they’re ready to hit the ground running in the community when they move on from Crotched Mountain School. Maximum independence—that’s the name of the game.
To stockpile the funds they needed for their field trip, the class would spend Fridays baking treats and Mondays selling those treats in their classroom storefront. Both days offered their own unique vocational takeaways.
Fridays tackled the culinary experience and all the ingredients (so to speak) that went into slinging brownies and the like (e.g., understanding cooking directions, manipulating utensils, measuring out the correct amounts of egg, powdered chocolate, sugar, milk, what-have-you). Mondays were devoted to pure capitalism, as Crotched Mountain School staff purchased the week’s baked delight, typically along with a freshly-brewed coffee from the class Keurig machine. (Joe, one of the students, was usually the pitch man for the cafe, drawing in potential customers with his trademark charm.)
Those Mondays added up. And so did the class cash cache. Until It was finally time to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
UNDER THE DOME
It’s not the easiest thing in the world to parallel park a bulky wheelchair van in the middle of downtown Concord, but thanks to a pleasant manager at a nearby bank who offered their lot, Team Crotched Mountain found a space, disembarked, and made a beeline for lunch.
And, afterward, with their hard-earned bucks spent and their bellies full, it was time for the next stop: the iconic golden dome of the New Hampshire State House.
As they entered, they were greeted by a state employee who immediately gave them the inside skinny on the best route to take through the building. Tour brochures in hand, Amanda’s squad set out and took in the sights.
The sprawling gallery of portraits of former New Hampshire governors; the cavernous Representatives Hall of the New Hampshire State House (the oldest chamber in the United States still in continuous legislative use) and then, finally, the marble lobby, where they were surprised by State Senator Kevin Avard, known as “the singing senator,” who regaled them with an impromptu concert.
And with that, the day was done. Teacher, staff, and students got back into their van, jumped on Route 202, and headed back to Crotched Mountain School.
It was a perfect day.