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Seniors Take on Zoo Atlanta Hand-in-Hand with Pre-Firsters

Seniors and Pre First students enjoy the Giraffe exhibit at Zoo Atlanta. Photo: Emma Laura Gash

Seniors and pre-first students enjoy the giraffe exhibit at Zoo Atlanta.
Photo: Emma Laura Gash

A long-lasting tradition, one of seven years, took place on Sept. 28 at Zoo Atlanta with Pace seniors, pre-firsters, faculty and parents. Seniors were paired in groups with two to three “little ones” and a parent. With their group they were off to explore and take on all that the zoo has to offer.

While many think that this is a day for the seniors taking AP Environmental Science (APES) to show off their intelligence with regard to the animals and the environment, participants were pleasantly surprised when the pre-firsters knew more than anyone there. “The kids at the zoo were always talking about Africa and how they were studying it,” said senior APES student Nicholas Kratz. “Repeatedly they applied various concepts from Africa to animals that we saw at the zoo.”

Not only were they knowledgeable about the location of specific animals, what they eat, what they look like, and where they live, but they were also very patient and capable regarding reading and following maps.

The seniors, however, will be taking the zoo trip to another level back in the classroom. Pace APES teacher Jonathan Day plans on talking about the methods of conservation of species, relating it to the controversy of zoos, and the scientific roles that they play.

“I enjoyed being able to watch them ask questions, be curious about the environment around them and see their interactions with our seniors,” said Head of Lower School Syreeta Moseley. When students reach their senior year it doesn’t take much for them to get ahead of themselves. The little kids really look up to the big kids. At the zoo, seniors had the opportunity to reconnect with teachers, to remember where they came from, and that Pace is a K-12 school. “The biggest benefit, really, is camaraderie among the two spectrum ends of Pace students,” said Mr. Day.

“The memory that sticks in my head [recalling past zoo trips] is standing at the entrance of the zoo at the end of the day when all of the students are rolling out and seeing little pre-firsters up on the shoulders of 12th grade boys and little girls holding hands of 12th grade girls (happens every year),” said Mr. Day. “I think this is something special that is specific to a K-12 school.”