Pisgah Passages, Mount Pisgah Christian School’s annual summer enrichment program,
reinforces academic programs through travel experiences.
Mount Pisgah students have a unique opportunity to attend The Savannah College of Art and Design's
Hong Kong campus during the summer of 2017.
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A PISGAH PASSAGE TO EUROPE
By John Whitehurst, Upper School History Teacher and Department Chair
Picking a favorite memory from the May 2015 Pisgah Passage to France and Belgium should have been a simple task, but upon setting out to do so, I found it nearly impossible.
Was it the moment when—before we even left the United States—a group of soggy, tired, hungry teenagers burst into strains of the airborne infantry cadence while marching down the slopes of Mount Currahee? Was it the quiet breakfast filled with expectation on our first day in Europe as we sat and contemplated the adventure before us; a breakfast of bread so fresh that it was still warm from the bakery two blocks away, sliced meats and cheeses, Nutella and chocolate? Was it the dinner at a family-run restaurant in Bayeux, France, where we first boldly popped buttery escargot into our mouths? Was it standing on a bluff overlooking Omaha beach in Normandy with a gusting wind blowing a mist through the waist-high sea grasses and wildflowers while our tour guide told us stories that brought tears to our eyes; tears that we brushed away and pretended were caused by the salty English Channel air? Was it the hour of free time when we frolicked on the lawn above the moat on Ypres's medieval wall? Was it the twilight runs through the Norman countryside during which the Norman cows stared down the passing Americans interrupting their peaceful graze? Was it the moment, sitting in the tiny 11th century church at Angoville-au-Plain, when the mayor of the town came in to greet us, read a beautiful statement in French and took the time to shake our hands and take pictures with us? Was it the Sunday Mass in the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral; a service spoken in French but with a soloist who sang so beautifully as to transcend language and to fill the cold, dark space with notes that lit our spirits with the glory of God?
And there are so many more wonderful memories. I cannot pick a favorite, but one stands out as emblematic of why we take these trips. Our group took a train from Paris to Bayeux. French trains generally run on time because they show no mercy at stops. When the train halts, passengers have only moments to embark or debark with their luggage and other belongings. With 16 students and four adults spread out over three rail cars, this had every possibility to become a disaster. After a stressful bus ride from Ypres, the students had every right to be grumpy, hungry and tired, but without prompting from the chaperones, the students laid out a plan for getting everyone safely on and off the upcoming train ride. Several young men made an assembly line from the platform to the luggage rack. The rest of the students quickly passed off all of their things and the luggage was rapidly and safely stowed. When we got to our stop, they reversed the process. Nothing was lost, everyone got off the train in time and I realized that I wasn't even needed. Those rising seniors were life ready.
While the train experience may seem minor, I am proud to see the caliber of students that Mount Pisgah Christian School is graduating and am grateful to play my very small part in their journeys here. There were other moments like the train experience. Moments of students caring for others; of laughter, of tears, of sharing. Of moments too personal to share in a newsletter. Of moments too meaningful to share outside our group.
As each Pisgah Passage takes on the personalities of the individuals who embark upon it, I cannot guarantee your child will have these exact experiences and memories. But I think it is safe to say that your children will have unforgettable moments, unexpected challenges, new experiences and chances to grow in ways they can’t even imagine. Each Passage is designed to maximize these opportunities, and I ask that you prayerfully consider sending your children on one or more of them before they graduate.