The return of field trips: French, geoscience classes take first trips since COVID


Media by Elliott Jorgensen

Geoscience students observe a creek on their field trip to the St. Francois Mountains in Southeast Missouri. Kevin Koch, science teacher, said this is the first trip his classes have been able to take since the pandemic. “We were able to work with the administration to get coverage and get the trip approved,” Koch said.

After almost three years since the COVID-19 pandemic began, field trips have returned to MHS.

The French 4 and AP French classes visited the St. Louis Art Museum on Thurs

day, Feb. 2, and the Geoscience classes traveled to the St. Francois mountains in Southeast Missouri and additional field trips are scheduled for the future.

Ashley Eshelman, junior, went on the St. Louis Art Museum field trip with her French 4 class. This was her first field trip since COVID-19 and her first at MHS.

Her favorite part of the trip was visiting the City Coffeehouse and Creperie in Clayton after touring the museum.

Felicity Garton, senior, presents a painting at the St. Louis Art Museum. Garton researched the painting in her AP French class, and she presented it in French. Garton said this was her favorite part of the field trip, and she is glad field trips have returned. “I always feel like I’m more apt to want to pay attention if what we’re doing is exciting and new,” Garton said. (Media by Prashu Sidella)

“I definitely want more classes to take field trips,” Eshelman said. “It’s a great opportunity to get out of the classroom and explore more hands-on activities.”

Associate Principal Dr. Tracey Waeckerle said the ability to take field trips has recently expanded.

“We feel trips are a good experience for students, and staff like to expose kids to

real-world experiences,” Dr. Waeckerle said.

Due to the substitute shortage, district substitutes are not able to cover for teachers on field trips. The district substitutes are needed in case of unexpected absences, Dr. Waeckerle said. For teachers who want to take their classes on a field trip, Dr. Waeckerle said other teachers or staff need to be able to cover their classes.

“We’re trying to work it out so that classes that need to have field trips for their curriculum to be fully implemented will be covered,” Dr. Waeckerle said.

We feel trips are a good experience for students, and staff like to expose kids to real-world experiences.

— Dr. Tracy Waeckerle

Della Thompson, French teacher, said her classes had been going to the Art Museum for five years before the pandemic. She was able to restart the trip this year after the museum began allowing student groups to visit.

“I’ve enjoyed doing it all these years, and it’s really neat to be able to bring it back,” Thompson said.

The art museum trip is part of a larger project the AP French students work on during the semester. Students pick a piece of artwork in the museum and research its history and significance, Thompson said. 

“They’re always excited to see the artwork that they picked because they’ve never seen it in-person, and sometimes it turns out to be really little or really big,” Thompson said.

The AP French students present their artwork to the French 4 students at the museum, which helps the students practice their French speaking and listening skills, Thompson said.

I’ve enjoyed doing it all these years, and it’s really neat to be able to bring it back.

— Della Thompson

“This is a good, real presentation,” Thompson said. “They have to learn new expressions, new words and that really helps them on the AP exam.”

Kevin Koch, science teacher, took his geoscience classes to the St. Francis mountains in Southeast Missouri for the first time since COVID-19. The geoscience classes have been going on the field trip since the 90s.

“One thing about geoscience and the information we cover is it’s dealing with large-scale objects, and you can’t bring them into class,” Koch said. “You can bring pictures into class, but seeing it firsthand is a different story.”