Featured Travelers

Noblesville, Indiana:  A Great American Home Town as shown by our Video Contest Winners!

(Spring 2016)

We at Academic Expeditions have been hosting a student video contest the last several years, and while the initial years we asked students to tell us why they wanted to go on their class trip to a historic destination, this year we switched things around and asked them to play the tour guide and tell us why we should visit their hometown. And hence, we created the Hometown Tour Guide Video Contest for the 2016 travel year.

One of our communities, Noblesville, Indiana has been sending their young people to Washington DC in the spring for years. The two middle schools in Noblesville, and their dedicated teachers partnering with Academic Expeditions, have built a tradition of doing this trip, and they keep expanding the number of students, parents, and teachers that come from year to year. It has also been from Noblesville where we have received the most submissions (and winners) to our Video Contest, and thus we wanted to make a special feature on this page of those winners.

It has been our pleasure to make this trip more financially possible for these handful of students who took the time and creative energy to tell us about themselves and their hometown. Enjoy your video tour of Noblesville, Indiana featuring these young hometown tour guides!


Jacob Shankland

Andrea Rexrode

Taylor Gregory

Austin Duncan
Thanks to all our student travelers who've shown us that "tour worthy" destinations are not just the famous cities of the world, but they can be found around the corner at home!


To view some of our previously highlighted travelers, please read below

Artist Karah Mayer (Washington DC, 2014)

Karah Mayer cropped webKarah Mayer is an AP Art student and junior at Capital High School. Born in Seoul, South Korea in 1998, Karah moved to the United States when she was young and began drawing at an early age. By 10 years old, her artistic skills were already quite advanced. Karah spent thousands of hours drawing, painting and practicing technique. She has produced art for local businesses and has competed in art shows for many years. Karah hopes to continue advancing in art, and to share with others the world of art and how wonderful and exceptional it is.

"My trip to Washington DC was most definitely a memorable one. I made tons of memories, met wonderful people, and saw amazing sights. I loved seeing all of the famous monuments including the Lincoln Memorial, which was definitely my favorite! I loved the Lincoln memorial because it honors our 16th president. Lincoln did amazing things; successfully preserving the nation and playing a key role in the thirteenth amendment, which helped abolish slavery. I loved seeing his memorial because it definitely gave him the credit he deserves. The Lincoln Memorial was exceptionally and beautifully done. The values and precise details in the statue are beautiful, and even though the statue is quite big, it is still proportional to the enhanced size. The details in the face are absolutely amazing. I would stare at it forever in awe of the talent and tedious time it took to go into creating the magnificent piece of art! I would love to go back to DC and explore even more places!

After I graduate art school I hope to continue my art path through a career of freelance art and hopefully work for a major movie company. I would love to work for Disney or Pixar as a digital designer, or even make a living just selling my art. I hope to influence and show others the amazing possibilities with art. I heard this phrase once, “Earth without ART is just EH” and I definitely agree!"


This is just a small sampling of Karah's work:

  Bicycle thumb      Capitol thumb         British Isles thumb     Lion thumb



The Philippines: History Teacher Kenny Sacht's on-going response to a Human Tragedy (Fall 2013)

As the world turns its attention to the Philippines in sympathy and humanitarian response to the natural tragedy of Typhoon Haiyan, we at Academic Expeditions are reminded of one of our esteemed colleagues, Kenny Sacht, who has had his attention there all along, in response to an on-going human tragedy.

Kenny, who taught social studies and coached basketball at Cole Valley Christian School in Boise, ID for 13 years, has made the annual 9th grade trip to Colonial Virginia, Monticello, Washington DC & Gettysburg a core part of his students’ experience at Cole Valley and life in general. We could write a whole article featuring Kenny’s passion and energy for our US history and his “kids” (he doesn’t call them students), his 98% trip participation rate, his fun and effective fundraising efforts, and his emphasis on gratitude for other's sacrifice for our freedoms.  But for now we’d rather feature the reason he stepped down last year from his beloved teaching position to focus his heart and energy in another part of the world.

“A new adventure has entered my life in coming to the aid of and rescuing precious girls and young women from the sex trade and human trafficking in the Philippines.” says Kenny. “In 2008, I founded Wipe Every Tear, a non-profit organization dedicated to setting free and bringing restoration to those captive to the sex trade.” Kenny had been administering the daily affairs of the organization in his limited after school hours the past five years, and it was finally time for him to put forth his full energies toward this mission.

Kenny further points out, “Allow me to mention the director and founder of Academic Expeditions, Andrew Selinka has personally accompanied me to the Philippines to assist Wipe Every Tear. Andrew is the REAL DEAL. He and AE have given of their time and energy to help change the world, both here in working with students, and abroad to the less fortunate.”

It is our pleasure to partner with Kenny in his efforts and to help promote Wipe Every Tear not only now during a time of environmental trauma, but amid its on-going mission to heal human trauma. He is the best person to communicate what has been happening in the Philippines, how Wipe Every Tear is involved in effecting positive change, and how you can help support and participate. Please watch his video below and visit Wipe Every Tear’s Website and their Facebook Page to learn more.

Kenny Sacht | Wipe Every Tear from Crash Eleven Productions on Vimeo.



Sharon Brewster, 5th grade teacher, discovers new meaning of the term "Founding Fathers."  (Summer 2012)

IMG 8471

Every year, 5th grade history teacher Sharon Brewster brings her class to Philadelphia and the Boston area so that her students can walk in the footsteps of our founding fathers. To reinforce their connection with these leaders and role-players of the past, Sharon has each of her students research a “patriot” before coming on their trip. During the trip, each student places a flag at a fitting location, such as a tomb or historic building, relevant to their patriot.

But with each trip, Sharon’s own personal family research has revealed a deeper, personal and more literal meaning to the term “Founding Father.” Upon recently learning of her eleventh great-grandfather James Cole, Sharon said, “I may have to schedule a trip back to Boston just to visit the graves of my people. I can barely keep up!” James Cole (1600-1693) was born in London, England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. He married Miss Mary Tibbs in Devonshire in 1625, and together they emigrated to America and settled in Plymouth on Coles Hill in 1633, where he his buried today.

James Cole’s grave overlooks Plymouth Rock, where another of Sharon’s ancestors – Stephen Hopkins (1581-1644), another eleventh great-grand-father, arrived on the Mayflower in 1620. Hopkins, a tanner and merchant, was one of the 41 signatories of the Mayflower Compact. He was the only passenger on the Mayflower who had been to the New World previously, having been on the earlier expedition to Jamestown, where he lived between 1610 and 1614. It was in Hopkins’ house in Plymouth that the first meeting between the Pilgrims and the native Indians was held.

In the early colonial cemeteries of Boston, several of Sharon’s ancestors are also buried. At the Old Granary Burial Ground, Sharon’s seventh great-grandmother, Abiah Kornic Flagg (1676-1715), is buried. Abiah’s great grandson, Ebenezer Flagg (1756-1828), fought in the Revolutionary War. Also buried nearby, in Copp’s Hill Burying Ground on the Freedom Trail, are Sharon’s ninth great-grand-parents, Thomas Saxton (1612-1686) and Ann Copp Saxton (1630-1661). Ann came to America on the ship “Blessing” in 1635 when just a child, with her father, a shoemaker.

Another stop on the East Coast trip, Salem, also has great meaning for Sharon. Her eighth great-grandparents – Thomas Southwick (1594-1660) and Cassandra Burnell (1598-1660) – were devout Quakers who left England for the new world but found little tolerance among the Puritan settlers of Salem. As one historian notes, “Among the persecuted were Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick [who] were whipped and imprisoned in Boston because there was no jail in Salem at the time. The Southwicks continued to participate in Quaker meetings after their release and were promptly reincarcerated. Refusing to renounce their beliefs, they were banished under the threat of death and fled to Shelter Island, off the coast of Long Island, where they died in 1660.” Another Salem Quaker ancestor, Caleb Buffum (1650-1728) – Sharon’s seventh great grandfather – was born in Salem in 1650 and worked as a carpenter. Of Caleb, one historian has written, “He strongly opposed the witchcraft delusion and rendered all the help in his power to the sufferers, especially in assisting the relations to give those who were hung decent burial, which was done by stealth and at night. His land bordering on the North River, gave him great facilities in this respect. He is said to have made coffins and carried them down to the river by night as well as assisted in bringing the bodies from the hill where they were hung.”

Sharon’s curiosity and discovery of her personal history has helped inspire her in encouraging her students to become fans of the “patriots” they research. Just as her New England ancestors may not be house-hold names from the history books, she makes sure that her students’ “patriots” include a spectrum of men and women who influenced the formation of our country: some of their names are on our monuments and money, while countless others rest quietly under barely legible stones in overlooked burial grounds from long ago.


Patti Broshar-Foust,  8th Grade American History Teacher

PattiFoustPatti Broshar-Foust, an 8th grade history teacher at Noblesville Middle School, first encountered Washington, DC with her grandmother at the age of twenty years old. Even though Patti was the youngest individual amongst all the seniors on the bus, she fell in love with the city. “I love it all” is Patti’s first response to her favorite part of the Washington, DC area. But if she has to narrow it down to her top three favorite spots, she says the Jefferson Memorial due to him being her favorite individual in history, the Rotunda in the Capitol building because of all of the history, and the Lincoln Memorial at night to see the city all lit up with the Reflection Pool.

Patti’s passion for American history has led to growing her school’s yearly Washington, DC trip quite significantly. Over the past ten years as a group leader, the program has grown from approximately twenty-five student travellers to now around three hundred. She loves seeing the kids get so excited while on their trip and them saying, “Oh, wow, I remember learning about this in class.”

Her great engagement techniques have helped grow the program by developing a club program where the students meet once a month during the school year before they embark to Washington, DC in the spring. Every year she always has a Vietnam veteran speak to the group during one of their monthly gatherings. The students are always captivated when the veteran tells his story about returning to the states from war and being in an ambulance that was toppled over by protestors. It adds so much more meaning to the students when they are actually at the Vietnam Memorial on their trip. In addition, Patti aids the students with numerous fundraising activities so they are really earning their trip to add even more value.

All of Patti’s love and passion for history and Washington, DC led to her setting a notable goal that she has just recently accomplished. When her youngest of two sons began school twelve years ago, she began teaching but also wanted to remain a fulltime mother figure. At that point, she made the goal to become a certified Washington, DC guide when her youngest graduated from high school and moved to college. Well, that time has come and Patti just recently passed the exam and is a certified Washington, DC guide.

Harker Students are honored to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. 

HarkerANCwreathDuring their Academic Expeditions trip to Colonial Virginia, Gettysburg, and Washington DC, four selected students from The Harker School were honored to be able to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. At the request of visiting school groups, foreign dignitaries, and even the President himself, the US Army grants the privilege to select groups and individuals to lay a wreath at the Tomb in a revered ceremony performed with the same dignity and precision as The Changing of the Guard that also takes place at the Tomb. The Army is not able to grant every request it receives to participate in the wreath-laying ceremony, but they do their best and many of our schools have been able to do so.

Please contact us to learn what you need to do to request this privilege and visit our destination page for Washington DC to learn how to incorporate it into your larger itinerary.



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