Seniors Everett O’Gorman, Morgan Payne, Andrew Neville, John O’Brien, Lauren O’Sullivan, and science teacher Kevin Ballard brave one of the many rapids. Photo: Ryan Vihlen

Soon after the chants of “2020” had faded in the FAC, the senior class boarded three buses on Aug. 15 and made the trek to the Ocoee River in Tennessee for some white water rafting and quality class bonding. While it was business as usual on the second day of school for the rest of the upper school students, the seniors spent three hours on the river for some pure (somewhat terrifying) fun. 

The drive up left many students starving and asking for a pit stop at one of the many Zaxby’s along the way. Instead, a delicious meal of sandwiches and chips were served upon arrival, setting the tone for what would be a great day.

“The meal was scrumptious, and it definitely put me in a good mood for some great bonding with my friends,” said senior Evan Duncan. After the lunch, the seniors were divided alphabetically, given a short safety presentation, and then dropped into the river.

“We dropped in on a dam with the water rushing behind us, so it was kind of scary,” said senior Jack Jacoby. “However, I had complete faith in our guide, and my faith was rewarded with a wonderful experience.” As the seniors traveled down the river, they dodged many rocks, and plummeted down rapids with nicknames like “Nosedive” and “Twister.”

Some rafts struggled more than others. “My raft got caught between a rock and a raft, and we were stuck for a very long time,” said senior Christopher Morocco. “Our boat was flooded, water got everywhere, I thought I would be there the rest of my life. But looking back, it’s just hilarious.”

One of the highlights of the trip was swimming, where everybody took a much needed break from the rapids to enjoy a dip in the Ocoee. “It was very relaxing, and a lot of fun to be just kind of floating and not have to swim to stay afloat,” said senior Rachel Wray. “The water also felt refreshing after being in the sun.”

Waiting for the buses back, friends were already comparing stories and rehashing memories from the day. “The class had a great day, it was a lot of fun, and it made me a lot more excited about my senior year at Pace and the people I get to spend my final year with,” said senior Ben Crawford.

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