End-of-the-Year Trip: San Francisco

Grace Cathedral

Students pose in front of Grace Cathedral, which is a replica of the French Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It also has a copy of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise made from the original molds used by Ghiberti for the Baptistery in Florence.

Teachers: Bryan Anderson, Paula Campanelli, Hugo Macario, Megan Nesland, Gordon Sichi, Suzie Sichi, and Dillon Yuhasz

Facebook Photos

Sunday, June 7, 2015Dancing

We left promptly at 6:00 am for San Francisco with our long-term, veteran Santa Barbara Airbus driver, David Harkness, at the wheel. Our goal was to arrive in San Francisco in time for Sunday Swing Dancing in Golden Gate Park. Traffic was so congested getting to Golden Gate Park that we ended up getting off the bus and walking through the Park, which was great on a sunny Sunday afternoon. After wandering around in search of the location, we followed the sounds of music and found a very lively and large crowd swing dancing to classic World War II-era music. Many students danced, and the Anacapa photography team had a field day photographing the lively and energetic scene.

The next stop was the nearby Haight-Ashbury District for a walk down Haight Street to experience the location of the Summer of Love and the Hippie Era. Staying on schedule, we left for a 4:00 pm check-in at the Fort Mason Hostel, which went very smoothly. Our dinner that night was at Marrakech Restaurant, a Moroccan restaurant, which was a fun way to follow up this school year’s Middle Eastern Synthesis Unit. Dining on low-cushioned couches with small brass tables, we were all spread out in clusters around the exotic restaurant. After our multi-course meal, the music and belly dancing began with students and teachers joining in the fun. Sam R. and Hugo accompanied the music with their powerful drum rhythms. Back at the Hostel, students enjoyed free time, playing board games and chess in the living room and playing pool downstairs in the dining room.

Monday, June 8, 2015

This was the big Walking VallejoTour day, one of the most popular San Francisco trip activities. The school was divided into seven Walking Groups, each with a senior in charge (Rufus, Lottie, Sam R., Diego, Ali, Kelly, and Grace). We departed at 9:00 am to begin our walk up the Vallejo Stair Walk from North Beach to the Russian Hill neighborhood, then down Taylor Street to the Nob Hill neighborhood to visit Grace Cathedral, which is a replica of the French Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It also has a copy of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise made from the original molds used by Ghiberti for the Baptistery in Florence. The sunlight was strong, and the Gates shone golden in all of their Renaissance brilliance. Suzie gave a detailed history of Ghiberti’s 20+ years of work to make the Gates and the Biblical stories that his panels represent.

Next up was a city bus tour of San Francisco through the Financial District, up Market Street to Twin Peaks for amazing 360-degree views of San Francisco on our very lucky clear and sunny day. Then it was off to Union Square for drop-off to begin our walking tours. Each group had the freedom to go at their own pace, find their own lunch spot, and walk through Chinatown, North Beach, and back to the Hostel. The weather was warm and wonderful—San Francisco at its best!   Everyone met back at the Hostel, safe and sound, and pleasantly tired from the fun adventures. Paula arranged for a special tour of Lyft headquarters, organized by her daughter, who works there. Four boys and two girls, who are all very interested in how start-ups work, had a really great time. In fact, they all said it was the best activity they did on the trip! For dinner that night, we went to the Old Ferry Building to have burgers and salads at Gott’s Roadside restaurant (formerly Taylor’s Refresher). Back at the Hostel, all enjoyed free time in the converted Civil War-era military barracks. For our evening entertainment, the Improvisation Class put on a number of very creative and challenging games and skits to the laughter of all.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

At 9:00 am sharp, we left the Hostel for Richmond to tour the Henry J. Kaiser Shipyards, which produced thousands of ships during World War II, including the USS Red Oak Victory, which is being restored by a dedicated team of volunteers and workers. After our thorough tour of the ship, we had our lunch in HGolden Gateold #4 before departing for the new National Parks Service’s “Rosie the Riveter” WW II Home Front National Historical Park, located at the old Ford Motor Company assembly plant, which was used during the war to make thousands of jeeps and military vehicles. Ranger Raphael gave us a personal lesson on propaganda and the war effort and challenged our students to think critically. The Upper School, which just completed United States History II, was very impressive in answering his challenging and thought-provoking questions. Clearly, the students knew the history well enough to keep up with him. On our way back to San Francisco, we were dropped off by David on the San Francisco side of the Golden Gate Bridge for our walk across the foggy and windy Golden Gate. What a difference a day can make, as the weather turned to being more like what is expected for San Francisco.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 For dinner on our last night, we returned for the third time in our school history to the private San Francisco Italian Athletic Club for our banquet dinner. Students were dressed up for the occasion and enjoyed the food and amazing views of Washington Square from the outside balcony. We invited Bekah Rogers, our fun front office worker last school year, and her boyfriend, Brian, to join us for the event. Students loved seeing Bekah again. Also joining us was Brookes Degen (Anacapa Class of 2008), who works as a political consultant in the Bay Area. For our Appreciations Ceremony, the Senior Class of 2015 bought a Rosie the Riveter doll to pass around—very nice touch! The appreciations were fun, light, and easy—definitely not as emotional and sobby as those on our last visit in 2011. We started the appreciations late because of the NBA playoff game, and some appreciations were long. As a result, we ran out of time for a night view of the San Francisco city lights from Treasure Island and went straight back to the Hostel, arriving a little after 10:00 pm. Everyone was in great spirits after our last night of this year’s End-of-the-Year Trip!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

After a timely and well-executed check-out, students and teachers said goodbye to our cool Hostel and took off for our tour of Alcatraz Island. Because we had enough time, we made a quick stop at the amazing Palace of Fine Arts, built for the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. The Greco-Roman columns and huge dome made a great setting for our last all-school photo. With a light rain and gray skies, we departed for Alcatraz Island for a short tour. Students always really like visiting Alcatraz, and the new audio tour brings the dramatic history to life with captivating stories of The Rock. After arriving back at our bus, the lunches that were prepared by the Hostel staff were expertly divided up by the senior leaders and Suzie (and thanks to Amy’s pre-arranged list).

Our last stop, and by all accounts the mosInternet Archivet amazing, was the Internet Archive for a tour arranged by Anacapa parent Kathleen Ross. We really didn’t know what to expect, and what we discovered was beyond our wildest imaginations. Greeting us at the Internet Archive—a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, and more—was its esteemed and brilliant founder, Brewster Kahle, who walked us through the main operations of the Archive. This extremely ambitious enterprise is driven to be the modern “Library of Alexandria,” using the Internet Archive’s super-powerful computers to record archival books, films, music, and more and to offer free access to all. Located in a former Christian Science church built in Greco-Roman style, the Internet Archive houses its computers in the former church sanctuary. Brewster challenged the students to name obscure bands to see if the Internet Archives had the music, and he sampled the music with the great sound system of the sanctuary. Also in the sanctuary were amazing lifelike and individualized ceramic statues of all of the volunteers who have spent countless hours recording the books, films, and music of human history. At the end of our hour-long tour led by Brewster Kahle, he explained how the Internet Archive is also trying to shake up the financial world with its own Internet credit union and currency, and he shared his vision for strategies for fair rents for workers. Students had the opportunity to address their questions to a truly visionary, self-described geek. This was our last critical-thinking opportunity of the school year—always good to save the best for last!

Students and teachers are to be commended for the extraordinarily positive teamwork shared on our best-ever San Francisco trip! Go, Team Anacapa!

Student Testimonials from Trip Surveys

“Going on a trip with your school, which also happens to be filled with many of your closest friends, is always brilliant. Getting to see new places, like Alcatraz, was absolutely amazing.” – 12th grade student

“An experience I will never forget was walking the Golden Gate Bridge… I found it fascinating walking across this bridge and seeing how beautiful the city is. This made me feel so grateful that I go to such a wonderful school that not many people have the opportunity to go to.” – 8th grade student

“On basically every excursion I was able to ask questions and gain knowledge.” -10th grade student

“My favorite trip experience was touring Lyft HQ. My interest in business and start-ups made this a great opportunity for me. It made me even more excited about studying business and potentially creating a start-up.” – 11th grade student

” On the trip, we had a fairly tight schedule so learning how to manage our time in each place was critical.     – 8th grade student

“While we were touring around we learned that we need to be respectful of, not only the people around us, but of the environment… After all, we were the ones visiting San Francisco and we wouldn’t want people coming to Santa Barbara and disrespecting it.” – 7th grade student

“I think the whole trip in general was a great learning experience. Many of the places gave me a better understanding of San Francisco’s history.” – 10th grade student

“When the ranger spoke about the Rosie the Riveters, I remembered some things I learned in American Society and Literature that helped me understand the situations and diverse points of view.” – 8th grade student

“I had to practice cooperating and collaborating with others in my walking group. We needed to agree on stuff and listen to each other.” – 9th grade student

“When you are in groups, you aren’t always with your best friends, but you always get to bond with new people and see them in a new light.” -10th grade student

“As a Senior this year I was able to be a group leader and really work on being the best role model I could.” – 12th grade student

“Something on this trip that was special to me was seeing and hearing about the internet archives. It was so amazing to me that someone would dedicate so much of their life to something so selfless. It made me think about how much information is available to me and how much it has changed over time.” – 9th grade student

“During appreciations on the last night I realized how much everyone contributed to Anacapa’s society and how, with many contributors from this year graduating, how much Anacapa will change. Each one of our characters alter Anacapa and have affected my life in small or big ways and I hope that Anacapa stays the special place it is.” – 9th grade student