It Was Unreal
“We had to figure it out instead of everything being planned for us. We definitely had to step up and take responsibility all while building our confidence and communicating within another country. At first it was scary, but then I became more comfortable. For our second night camping, were able to go up in the mountains. We had a 360-degree view of the desert and snow-capped mountains. We met a group of local guys near our campsite and we played soccer together. It was unreal.” says senior Jake Eaves.
For one week in the spring, Upper School students are provided a unique opportunity to experience the world, explore our nation, discover our local community, or serve as interns. While there are many standout programs at Mount Vernon, Interim Term has exposed more than 2500 students to different nationalities, cultures, societies, values, religions, lifestyles, and experiences.
Through trips to Argentina, Australia, China, Costa Rica, France, Galapagos Islands, Germany, Greece, Italy, Peru, Scotland, South Africa, and Spain, among many domestic destinations, Mount Vernon students continue to expand the School’s footprint.
A Deeper Global Perspective
This year, one group of students traveled to Morocco to become immersed in a culture unlike their own, to lead, expand their boundaries, push themselves far beyond their comfort levels, and challenge their preconceived notions.
Together with World Challenge (WC) as their partner, students embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to Morocco through a unique student-led program. Betta Hanson of WC says, “By achieving goals and overcoming adversity during this Interim expedition, students were encouraged to reach their potential and to assume meaningful roles in society. This year’s Morocco program provided students these opportunities and a much deeper global perspective because the students took ownership of their experiences.
Filmmaker Kyle Sklenar brings us along on Mount Vernon’s interim trip to Morocco — trekking, camping, and experiencing a culture, a people and a land — more than 4,300 miles away.
Shaping Future Leaders
In addition to trekking, camping, climbing mountains, riding camels, and visiting villages, to encounter challenges they couldn’t have anticipated. Upper School Head of Student Life Krista Parker was proud to be a part of the adventure, saying, “I think about all of the unexpected moments that occurred on the trip. These kids had to build resilience when they encountered challenges such as sandstorms, building their tents in freezing weather, and sore feet after hiking 18 kilometers. They found it within themselves to make things happen. They always end up doing more than they ever thought they could. The most common response students share when asked about their Interim experience is how it has shaped them for their future, as leaders.”
One recent graduate took full advantage of the opportunity to seek a new adventure through Interim each year. As a freshman, Sarah Traurig ventured to China, followed by Australia in tenth grade, the Galapagos in eleventh, and finally, as a senior, she added a Morocco stamp to her passport. Each year, she has reflected and told her story through a picture blog she has curated. When asked how this program has impacted her life, Sarah says, “I am now obsessed with traveling, exploring, discovering and immersing myself in another culture. In my future I know I will travel and I will look for a job that has a travel component. Interim has directly impacted the way I want my life to look. Connections across boundaries and with people who are different than me, are what makes our world so special. We are all unique and I really celebrate that.”
The result of the Interim program is significant. With a chance to be seekers and explorers through a variety of opportunities, students are able to select their own paths to invest in themselves.
5 Travel Partners:
EF Education First, @EF
World Challenge, @weareworldchall
World Leadership School, @wrldleadership
Grand Classroom, @GCTravelTweets
EF North America, @EFNorthAmerica
15 Local Internships:
Breast Cancer Specialists
Cuentos Para Cambios
Faithful Friend Mobile Veterinary Clinic
Friends of Lost Corner Preserve
Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, Lower School
Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, Theater Department
Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, Brand/Communications Team
OneDigital Health and Benefits
Sandy Springs Police Department
Tower Interior Construction
CORE: A Collection of 26 Relational Experiences:
Behind the Scenes of Hollywood in Atlanta
Booth Museum inside and out
From Comics to Screen: Black Panther
Improv Comedy, Shakespeare and Puppets! Oh My!
Pour Painting and Collage
What’s Opera Doc?
BYOBG: Bring your own Board Game
They Say It’s All Happening at the Zoo
Urban Revitalization with White Water Rafting
Explore Buford Highway
Great Mount Vernon Bake-off
Build your own Guitar
Comics:Thinking, Reading, Making
The Dance Experience
Ice Skating in the South
Leadership Challenge and Ropes Course
Super Awesome Historic Neighborhood Run
In front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, students gather where notable historical figures such as Napoleon, Kennedy, Reagan, and Michael Jackson have stood.
Opting for local adventure, students raft on the longest urban whitewater course in the world at Chattahoochee Whitewater Park in Columbus, Georgia.
Explorers head down from Angel’s Landing, a 1,488-foot tall rock formation in Zion National Park in Draper, Utah.