On Thursday, November 13, 2014, 55 students and 6 chaperons departed on a road trip to visit four college campuses. All students were told to meet at 4:15 a.m. at the school and by 5:00 a.m. we were on the road to University of Central Florida in Orlando. Four hours later we had arrived at the beautiful university. From its unforgettable fountain to its breath-taking buildings, UCF was captivating. After getting to explore the campus for a little while, we headed into one of the building for a presentation by a program called LEAD. This presentation was led by six UCF students who were a part of this program, including our very own Miami Springs alumna Katherine Ceballos. During this presentation we learned valuable information about the LEAD program, how to become a part of it, and the advantages of being a member of the program. On top of that, we learned about daily life at UCF from actual students. After our presentation, we were served lunch and headed out to visit the enormous and beautiful UCF gym which included a track, swimming pool, basketball, and volleyball court.
The next stop on the list was University of Florida in Gainesville. Gainesville is the definition of a real college town with a surrounding forest and the feeling of being at home. UF, unlike UCF, had a very traditional campus, which some students disliked and others loved. We were given a tour of the huge campus by five UF students themselves. On the tour we met up with some Miami Springs alumni who gave us some advice on how to succeed in high school and how to get into a great college like UF. After the tour, we went to dinner in the UF cafeteria and shortly thereafter it was time to head back to our hotel. Around 9:00 p.m. all students were in their rooms getting ready for bed; we had another big day ahead of us. At 6:30 in the morning students were up for breakfast in the hotels. Being from Miami, none of us were ready for the cold-weather of northern Florida; it was a frigid 47° when we woke up.
After breakfast it was back on the road to Florida State University. FSU was truly marvelous, nothing could ever compare to the awestruck feeling of walking in and seeing the enormous statue of their culturally rich mascot the Seminole. FSU like UF was a relatively antiquated school with the traditional campus. We were given a tour by three Miami Springs alumni who showed us all the amazing opportunities that FSU had to offer. After the amazing tour, it was off to lunch in the FSU dining hall. As we waited for our bus to arrive, we were given an opportunity to play a game of football. We were then on our way to the last stop of the tour, the University of Southern Florida. When we arrived at USF it was late in the evening therefore we were unable to view the campus as much as we would have liked. Despite this setback, we were given a bus tour by two professors at USF, one being Mr. Smith’s uncle himself. The USF campus like UCF is very modern, full of new buildings and never ending opportunities.
Our last meal of the tour was dinner at the USF cafeteria. One five hour bus ride later we were back at Miami Springs Senior High at 12 a.m. I can truly say that the college tour was a life-changing experience for me, really opening my eyes to all the hard work I need to put in to get into any of those amazing schools that we visited. Special thanks are in order to Mr. Smith, Mr. Saunders, Mr. Jackson, Mrs. Mills, Mrs. Martinez-Camino, and Mrs. Ceballos for providing such an amazing opportunity.