Marine Biology reschedules Florida Keys trip

Joe Pancerella

The annual trip has moved due to varsity sports and service trips.

The Honors Marine Biology class has moved their trip from spring break to Presidents Day week, February 12-18. The students that go on this trip have been approved to miss four days of school that week.

Students still have to make up all of the work they miss, but Marine Biology teacher and Director of Student Life Dr. James Fry is optimistic. “So far, I have not heard any bad news,” Fry said. “No news is good news.”

According to the Malvern curriculum guide, the class is structured around a full-year research project in which students conduct original research. The Florida Keys trip is noted as a requirement for the class. The class is open to student who have completed Biology, Honors Chemistry, and Algebra II, and is typically mostly seniors.

Fry decided to move the trip for a variety of reasons, but one of the main reasons was because a lot of the students were on varsity sports teams.

“We moved the trip because originally there were not many trips except for baseball, but that was for every other year,” Fry said. “But with the growing Christian Service Program and sports teams having spring break trips, [it] kind of prohibited students from taking the class, because they chose sports over academics.”

Instead of canceling the class altogether, Fry proposed moving the trip up to February, and Head of the Upper School Mr. Ron Algeo approved the change.

“My expectations is that the students are proactive, by letting the teachers know weeks in advance and handing in anything early if they have the opportunity to do so,” Head of Upper School Mr. Ron Algeo said.

Fry has been teaching this class since he started at Malvern in 2002, and the Florida Keys trip is a staple for the class.

“The trip is very much like our class itself, except it is a full day instead of an hour class,” Fry said. During the six-day trip in the Florida Keys, the class studies different ecosystems and tide pools.

Fry said the schedule for the trip is very intensive. Each day starts around 6:30 a.m. when they wake up at eat breakfast. Then, the class heads out to a reef to snorkel and look at different ecosystems. After lunch, they head out to the tide pools and other destinations for research. Sometimes they work as late as 10:00 p.m.

“At each stop we are collecting biological data, chemical data, and then just physical observations of what they see at each habitat,” Fry said.

Senior Matt Schellenger is a member of both the Marine Biology class and the varsity lacrosse team. The lacrosse season usually runs from February to the time the seniors finish school in May.

“For me, moving the trip was very beneficial, because now I will not miss any of the lacrosse season,” Schellenger said. “But also, missing a week of school is not very beneficial.”

Senior Tommy Wolfe took the class last year as a junior, and believes the trip was worthwhile. “The trip was really cool because we got to experience what we were learning in class firsthand,” Wolfe said.

Student enrolled in the class seem happy that the trip is still part of the curriculum. “I am very happy we still get to go on the trip,” Senior Jadon Diehl said. “It is one of the main reasons I joined the class. I’m looking forward to stepping outside the classroom and applying what I’ve learned.”