The world is getting smaller! Everyone can share a Coke and a smile, and everyone has heard of a certain major city due west of Georgetown via Columbia and Athens. But there was still mystery in the air when all the kids from grades 6-12 gathered outside of the school on Tuesday morning, March 26, eagerly awaiting their school trip.  Everyone exchanged their ideas and theories as to where they were headed and what they would be doing there.  Some students guessed Tennessee, while others had been fooled by Dr Gates and thought it was Alabama or Florida.  Only a handful of students knew the true answer: they were headed to Atlanta, Georgia.

The bus stopped in Columbia. TGS alumni Nathan, Zach, and Doug gave a walking tour of USC.  They shared stories of their time on campus, and gave some advice to future college students.  The group also ran into Elizabeth and Jackson. After the tour, students visited the Columbia Zoo.  They were challenged to find the animal that came from the farthest away, which led to large crowds at the kangaroo and koala exhibits.  Afterwards, they were off again, this time to Athens, where they had dinner at a dining hall in the University of Georgia.  “This is the best dining hall at the university,”  Dr Gates told students.  “They’ve got everything.”

After an early breakfast and swim time, they drove to Atlanta.  There, they visited the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial, where they read about his life, visited the church where he used to preach, and paid their respects at his tomb.  After a picnic lunch, they were off to the World of Coke, where they saw exhibits about the history of the product and got to sample different coke products from around the world.  While some were very popular– including a fruity Coke from Europe and a cucumber-infused Sprite from Russia–the real favorites were the less enjoyable flavors.  Students delighted in tricking their friends and classmates into tasting Chinese Sour Plum, which Dr Gates described as “burnt barbecue,” and European Beverly, which tasted like expired cough syrup.  After their short time at World of Coke, they were off to the CNN building.  Unfortunately, they missed their tour, but still had a good time exploring the bottom floor and looking at all of the shops.  For dinner, Dr Gates introduced the students to a  Mediterranean food called shawarma, which everyone enjoyed.  While the food was delicious, the drinks were less popular.  “What in the world is a Yogurt Drink?” students asked each other, before tasting it and immediately regretting it.  Brynn described it as “salty buttermilk,” and then went on to try the mint-flavored variation, which she said was even worse.

Students woke up bright and early on the third day, spending several hours at the Atlanta Aquarium.  They saw belugas, pirañas, penguins, and more.  Some students even got to see a dolphin show.  After a lunch at the CNN building, they visited the High Museum of Art, where they saw a wide variety of art.  “I love the Greek statues and the landscapes,”  Kendall said.  “I like art that looks realistic.”  Other students preferred the modern art, which included a grotesque tapestry of broken dolls, a green chicken-shaped rocking horse, and other creative displays.  They enjoyed dinner at a classic Atlanta restaurant, Varsity, where they had burgers and fries.  “It’s not bad,” Emily decided as she ate her onion rings, “but it’s not really worth waiting in that line.”

OneWorld was a fantastic trip.  Several students described it as their favorite trip yet, and everyone had a great time.  Despite a few interesting moments–the slightly terrifying homeless man who asked Dr Gates for drugs, the crowded MARTA trains, and the hotel breakfast that kept running out of food–it was a lot of fun.  When it came time to drive back home and return to everyday life, students were reluctant to go.  “This has been so much fun,”  Rebecca commented.  “I’m already looking forward to next year.”

By Ryleigh