On Friday, May 22, the Saugerties High School business education department took 52 students on its annual trip to New York City. I was lucky enough to be one of the four chaperones. The others included science teacher Dennis Skalla and business teachers Scott Wickham and Jackie Hayes (who is, in the interest of full disclosure, my mother). While the trip focused mainly on careers and marketing, students found themselves exposed to numerous invaluable experiences.
What began in 2004 as a trip for students of the sports and entertainment marketing and computer video production classes has since expanded throughout the whole business department. On this past trip, students of those courses as well as broadcast journalism and college computers had the chance to attend.
The day began at 8 a.m. when the bus left the high school on its way to Yankee Stadium. There, we were split into two groups and given a behind-the-scenes tour that senior Dan George said was his favorite part of the trip. “I really enjoyed the Yankee tour. Going behind the scenes, being that close to the field, it was like a whole different world.” The first stop was the stadium museum. It includes bats and balls signed by players such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio along with the jerseys they wore.
The next stop on the tour was Monument Park, where the retired numbers of Yankee players are honored. Last but not least was a visit to the Yankee dugout. Students sat on the blue-cushioned Yankee bench where the players would sit later that evening. “It was a great experience for a baseball player,” said junior Max Delia, a member of the Saugerties varsity baseball team. “It was awesome to feel like a part of the MLB.”
After stopping by Yankee Stadium, it was time to travel to the marketing Mecca of the world, Times Square. For an hour and a half, students went bowling at the Bowlmor. On the surface this may seem like just a fun time, but the Bowlmor is unlike any other bowling alley. It is decorated with different themes celebrating Coney Island, Central Park and Chinatown. The Bowlmor provided a fun way for the students to see how to set a business apart from competitors.
Sophomore Sissy Martinez expressed her appreciation for this opportunity. “I thought going bowling was a really fascinating experience because of all the famous people who’ve been there. It’s an amazing trip to go on; a once-in-a-lifetime experience, really.”
Next, the group ventured into the heart of the hustle and bustle. Immediately one is bombarded with thousands of advertisements ranging from giant billboards promoting Broadway musicals to men and women handing out small fliers advertising comedy shows. An enormous digital billboard allows people to Tweet pictures of themselves in Times Square to be displayed on the screen for the millions to see. Shannon Murphy and Isabella DeAngelis took advantage of that opportunity to the great surprise of the entire group.
It seems quite obvious that anyone interested in marketing must visit Times Square. But the trip was about more than just marketing. While talking with the other chaperones, Dennis Skalla told an interesting story. Someone he knew once visited the city with a friend from a very small town in Indiana. They walked around seeing the sights, but after a while the friend asked to stop and sit. It was too overwhelming. That trip changed her entire perspective of the world. It is fast-moving and full of millions more people than she ever realized. Some students have never really experienced life outside Saugerties.
With the day half over, the group made its way back to Yankee Stadium. First came batting practice. In previous trips, someone has always caught a homerun ball during BP, and this year it was Mr. Wickham. Senior Noah VanDerbeck was standing near him, so Wickham gave the ball to him.
Throughout the game, highlight reels and various videos are played on the Jumbotron in center field. The videos are expertly edited, giving CVP students the opportunity to observe something to which they can aspire. Junior Nick Perpetua exclaimed, “See those highlights? Someday that’s gonna be me!”
Ms. Hayes explained why Nick’s statement is so important. “The entire purpose of this trip is for kids to see the opportunities they have. If you’re interested in sports, you’re not limited to being Derek Jeter. You can make the highlight reels. You can work in the tour office. You can become part of the crew that takes care of the field. And those are just some of the hundreds of jobs and careers that are available in any sports franchise.”
Although the Texas Rangers unfortunately defeated the New York natives 10-9, losing did not diminish the experiences of the day. As we got off the bus at 12:30 a.m., kids high-fived Wickham and Hayes, thanking them for an experience they’ll not soon forget.