Week-long character trips take students to unique destinations to build essential life skills.
St. Louis, MO—Each year, Principia Upper School students embark on a week of outdoor expeditions designed to foster teamwork and collaboration skills while cultivating confident leaders. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors participate in activities such as canoeing, sailing, or touring new cities. Seniors travel to Michigan for their annual Senior Retreat to build outdoor and wilderness skills while bonding as a class and learning what it means to be an effective leader. The trips provide students with impactful experiences and profound lessons that reinforce Principia School’s character education program.
Principia partners with Outward Bound, a nonprofit organization that provides experiential education through outdoor education programs for youth and adults. Over the years, Outward Bound and Principia have created engaging trips to destinations all over the country. This year, freshmen went canoeing in Minnesota, sophomores explored the city of Boston and toured Harvard University, juniors sailed along Hurricane Island in Maine, and seniors embarked on their retreat in Northern Michigan.
“Character trips are designed to develop leadership and communication skills, confidence in overcoming challenges, and a strong understanding of what it takes to thrive as a team,” says Upper School Principal Samantha Dry. “Our students come from all over the world, and we must give them the opportunity to build bridges together and unite as one school to strengthen our community. These trips truly set a firm foundation for our school year.”
Students returned from their adventures with stories and examples of demonstrating courage, selflessness, and grit. One junior experienced doubt and fear during her sailing trip in Maine. “I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it through the week being out in the wilderness sleeping on a boat. On the last day of the trip, I wanted to stay on the water for another week! I never knew I could be capable of something like this.” the student shares.
“A primary goal of the trips is to put students in safe but challenging situations where they push themselves to exceed personal limits,” Upper School Trips Coordinator Lisa Johnson says. “The joy, accomplishment, and confidence they feel after pushing past boundaries shows them, they are capable of so much more than they think they are which helps them not only in the classroom but well beyond.”
Character education in conjunction with hands-on learning serves as the foundation of the Principia School educational experience. The Fall Trips exemplify one of the many ways in which students receive authentic opportunities to take their learning beyond the classroom, preparing them for college and beyond with future-ready skills, confidence, and new perspectives.