Into the City


Julianna Seymour

Following their ethnography unit, the ninth grade class headed to downtown Los Angeles. While in downtown LA, the ninth grade broke into small groups to explore the city, talk to both locals and tourists to hear their

One of the stories that a student listened to was the story of a man who was in Pershing Square who was in LA on a business trip.

He was just sitting in the park and reading a book when the group of students approached him, he told them his story and showed them the book he was reading and said that this was his first time visiting LA.

This story is an example of the interesting people that the students met in the city. The reasoning for the trip was so that the freshman class could get a new experience with walking around downtown LA.

Experiential Learning teacher Ashley Tidey said, “The Downtown LA unit has been the hardest unit I have ever worked on because of its layers and nuances and because it was so exciting to work with biology teacher Amanda Whalen and do another interdisciplinary unit like we did in the Monterey Unit but this one took things to a whole new level.”

With this unit, we were connecting out of Steinbeck’s of “Mice and Men” looking at themes of vulnerability and transience and we were trying to take those themes to a real-life situation of downtown LA where people are experiencing vulnerability and there’s also a great deal of movement and change.”

Without a specific guide or itinerary, the students got to experience the city to see how people in LA live and how different groups of people come together.

The goal of his field trip was to have freshmen research homelessness and its effects in biology class and to research gentrification and how cultures have changed in

LA over the years in English class.
“What the unit was really about, in the end, is not

just about learning about others and learning about others’ vulnerability, but learning about how kids see themselves, about who they are, and what their levels of comfort are with others experiencing vulnerability; and to what extent do they feel comfortable making themselves vulnerable and reaching out to others and connecting with others,”said Tidey

While there are annual spring trips to various cities, there isn’t anything quite like going down to LA and interacting with the people wandering the streets and finding out their stories.

Students got to learn in a new way by talking to people that they had never done before.

This experience is different because students got to witness what they had been researching for the past month and got to see it in real life rather than just in a book or online.

The Downtown LA trip an eye-opening experience that allowed us to dive deep into a different society. It was a very interesting trip because it was up to us, the students, to learn as much as we could and to absorb the culture of Los Angeles,” said Sofia Anderson ‘22.