BRONXVILLE, N.Y. Luke Marrone met his best friend in second grade on the traditional overnight trip to the Manhattan Country School Farm . Now completing his junior year at Bronxville High School , Luke expressed his sadness that the district 's trip was canceled.
At the Thursday, June 14 Bronxville school board meeting, community members pleaded with the administration to bring back the trip with 30 years of tradition. It allows the students to build new friendships, learn about nature, expand their community and earn a sense of achievement.
"I was heartbroken to hear of the cancelation, Luke said. "It was an experience better than Six Flags. That trip meant everything to us. It would be terrible to end that trip because it really is a life-changing trip."
At the farm, second-graders learn how nature works, where vegetables come from, how to milk a cow and the highlights of living rural life. They also form long-lasting friendships with classmates.
Nicole Lynch, a parent in the district, said that the trip was abruptly canceled without much community discussion. The trip was reportedly being reviewed in March and April before parents were informed, said Liz Lim-Dutton. In May, the elementary school administration reported that the trip was canceled.
The chief reason for the cancelation was apprehension, said Lim-Dutton, who has children throughout the district. The community noted "extreme levels of anxiety" and questioned "the emotional readiness of the student" to leave their parent.
"We are devastated," said Lim-Dutton, stating that the trip gives students an invaluable sense of independence, responsibility and consideration, as they return home with pride, taking steps toward adolescence. "This is a special bond that these kids have that they carry with them for the rest of their lives."
The trip to Manhattan Country School Farm is often mentioned in the Bronxville yearbook as a "most memorable experience," as well as during moving up ceremonies and high school graduations.
"I'm absolutely heartbroken that the trip has been taken away from not only these incoming second-graders, but all the children that follow," said Elena Geba, whose child is finishing first grade this month. "This is a priceless tradition. I can't imagine not having this farm trip. It's what makes Bronxville, Bronxville."
Superintendent of Schools David Quattrone, who, along with parents, heard about the cancellation in May, acknowledged the community's feelings of loss associated with the end of the 30-year tradition. He said the board will be inclusive and transparent about any replacement ideas. He added that perhaps this sense of loss can be balanced with a sense of hope that new traditions will start in the future.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.