Because we received four supplemental grants, Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math and Science had funds available to take our students on a once in a lifetime trip to San Francisco for Spring Break. In the early morning hours of March 12th we met at the schools and loaded the buses to begin our journey to the City by the Bay. We boarded our planes in Dallas on two different flights, one arriving in San Francisco and one arriving just across the bay in Oakland. Our first stop was to view the world famous Golden Gate Bridge where students had a little time for photo ops, then we headed to Muir Woods where we hiked among the giant, towering redwoods. We then took a guided bus tour through downtown San Francisco followed by check in at Hotel Zephyr. We ended the day with dinner at the traditional Swiss Louise Italian and Seafood Restaurant overlooking the Bay.
After some much needed rest, we began day 2 which consisted of a tour of Stanford University, followed by a trip to the Tech Museum of Innovation, Science and Technology where we had lunch and viewed the various exhibits. We then headed over to the Apple Visitor’s Center and got a peek at their newest products, and some even did a little shopping! We had a short break at the hotel to rest and get ready for dinner at the Hard Rock Café, then did more shopping on the iconic Pier 39.
Following breakfast on Thursday we headed over for a ferry ride to the historic federal penitentiary on Alcatraz Island. The students enjoyed an audio tour of the prison before heading back to the mainland for our next activity. We then visited Founders Space startup community where companies like Etsy and Instagram got their start. The students participated in a problem solving and innovation workshop where every idea was considered no matter how unrealistic it may have seemed. We ended our last night with a dinner cruise on the San Francisco Bay. Dinner was followed by music with a DJ and dancing. This was hit among the more lively students while some of the more reserved students found themselves taking in the serene sights of the beautiful bay.
After news of a flight cancellation, our staff scrambled to arrange alternate plans to get all of our students home in time to rest up on the weekend before going back to school. While half of our students enjoyed a visit to the Intel museum and a tour of Santa Clara University, the other half had an early departure flight. Our students and parents were very patient and understanding, even though for those who had rescheduled flights it meant a layover in either Portland or Seattle and an arrival in Austin. We then travelled by bus to schools, some students not getting home until as late as 4am. Oh, the stories they will have!