Earlier this week, students in grades Pre K-8 participated in a fall scavenger hunt. Students were divided into mixed age groups and set out, with a teacher, into the woods. They looked for things that were round, sharp, red, the shape of a letter, and many other natural objects. A big thank you to students in grades 5-8 for leading out in the groups and making it a memorable experience for the younger students!
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This day started with a short worship and Mrs. Goorhuis outlining the day’s events in French, as had been her habit every morning. Visiting the magnificent Montmorency Falls, 272 feet tall, was agenda item number one. The students walked as close as they could to the base of the falls, feeling the spray on their faces and hands. A number of students chose to join Ms. Payne and climb up to the suspension bridge above the falls. A short drive later, the class explored the lower city of the Vieille Ville, trodding the same streets walked by Samuel de Champlain a mere four hundred years earlier. Hunger then drove them to study a myriad of menus to choose a restaurant, finally settling on a delicious Italian resto overlooking Place Royal and the true heart of the earliest city, the church Notre Dame des Victoires. At the meal’s end the curious Québecois clients surreptitiously cast glances as Mrs. Goorhuis, with her handy portable white board, explained to our students in French how the Canadians have not one tax, but two, on every purchase. Next came a sprint up the notorious Escalier Casse-cou (Break-a-Neck Staircase), where one could easily imagine breaking a neck on the winter ice, but not before our ears were treated to numerous street musicians and our eyes tempted by the attractive shop windows. Next, we received a quick history of Québec’s inevitable fall into the hands of the English (but not the Americans!) at Musée de Fort’s fascinating multi-media presentation. By now all the students were anxiously awaiting their chance to boost Québec’s economy, so the rest of the afternoon was spent shopping while winding their way through the age-old streets. The day drew to a close when we checked into our new hotel in Lévis and ate a late supper at Normandin, Québec’s equivalent of Denny’s.
Today it was homeward bound - but not before stopping at yet another waterfall of impressive proportions. They are so common around Québec City that even rest areas on the “interstates” sport waterfalls! The spectacular Chaudière Falls was only one of many challenges Benedict Arnold faced in the failed attempt to take Québec and Canada, Mr. Krueger, ever the historian, explained to PTA students. Jumping back in the vehicles, we followed the Chaudière River until we landed an hour later in the small town of Notre Dame des Pins to traverse on foot the1928-29 covered bridge. Crossing back into the USA an hour or so later, we tanked up in Jackman, where English signs seemed strange. Then we made our way down the gorgeous Kennebec River corridor, retracing the steps of Benedict Arnold’s disastrous 1775 campaign. Beautiful in any season, we were privileged to travel the corridor in the height of autumn’s folliage. There are not enough superlatives to describe this journey’s beauty. PIzza Hut was a welcome sight in Skowhegan to many a student. At long last we pulled into PTA’s circle. A safe arrival back at school at 6pm made parents and students alike happy.
Members of the Pine Tree Academy French II class began their first full day in the Province of Quebec by hiking St. Anne's Canyon. The fall colors were spectacular and the canyon and waterfall were breathtaking. After a delightful spaghetti lunch, made by the class, the students had a church service. Later in the day, they visited the magnificent Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupr, 30 kilometers east of Quebec. Continuing east, the students ended up at Le Petit Chateau, in the shadow of the grand Hotel Frontenac, for a cultural experience of the partaking of fondue. After dining, the group walked to La Citadel, a fort of historical importance and an active military installation, for an after dark tour. The students were engaged by fantastic and entertaining tour guides dressed as figures from Canadian military history. The students were also afforded a beautiful nighttime view of the old city from the high ground of the fort. After a stroll down the old streets, the class made its way back for a good night's rest.
What began as a harried tale ended like a fairy tale as seniors in Mrs. Goorhuis' Modern Languages: French II class traveled to Quebec City. After a brief stop at The Falls on route 201 to go a-walkin' in an autumn wonderland, the troupe made it across the border uneventfully and had a late pizza lunch at Le Saber. They entered the old city by the ferry crossing from Levis, then strolled the streets and ascended to the boardwalk in front of Le Chateau Frontenac. After taking pictures, singing worship songs, witnessing a proposal, and enjoying the sounds of street musicians, the troupe happily headed to the condos at Mont Saint Anne's Ski resort to slumber their way into sweet dreams.