Bruins Take Over Universal


Peyton Rabb, Staff Writer

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Central Hardin Universal trip that takes place every two years for students taking a business class during the year. It was a large trip, with 77 students and 13 chaperones going. The experience was unforgettable, creating friendships, memories, and having fun all the while.

When the trip was first introduced to me, I was not overly excited to go on a long trip with many people I did not know, to learn and take classes about the engineering and business side of Universal Studios. I could not have misjudged this opportunity more. 

One day last year, my freshman year, I was talking to Mrs. Spratt, the business teacher who organizes the trip,  in order to procrastinate my digital literacy project that was due the next day. As we got to talking, Mrs. Spratt, being the thoughtful, considerate person that she is, asked if I had heard about the Universal trip that they were taking the next year. I responded that I was not really interested, no thank you. That didn’t stop her. Mrs. Spratt told me stories of past trips, the memories that were made, and offered that I could hang out with her on the trip if I didn’t know anyone or felt uncomfortable being in this new situation. That night I put everything I had into convincing my dad to please let me go.

As it turned out, I knew a couple of people that were going on the trip, and immediately found some girls that welcomed me to room with them on the trip. Although I didn’t know all of the girls, the bonds that we formed made me forget that I wasn’t friends with them just five days ago. I met people that I had seen around but was never willing to introduce myself before, got to know some of my classmates that I knew only a little going into the trip, and met people I never even knew went to my school. 

The day of the trip was full of anticipation and excitement. I could feel that everyone was too eager to get to Orlando to focus on anything else that day. By the time we got to the resort, nobody wanted to sleep. Some went to the pool, some hung out in the lobby to talk about plans and anticipations for the week. We couldn’t wait.

Each morning, we were split into groups based on our interests of which ride we wanted to learn about. We were split into groups of about 20-30 people. My first day, I got to experience multiple rides in my class that were in the Islands of Adventure park. We first rode the 3-D Spider Man ride, but the instructor had us ride it first with the lights on, to how everything really looked and functioned. After the first ride, he explained to us the mechanics, engineering, and thought process behind every part of the ride. For someone who didn’t understand half of what he was saying, the half that I comprehended was so fascinating. The way they could take an idea and figure out a way to make it happen was inspiring.

After going back through with the lights off, the initial shock of the ride was the same. I felt as though I was riding it for the first time again. We then went through learning about other rides in the park before getting the chance to ride.

When classes finished for the day, everyone had from about 10:00/11:00 until closing to explore the park with a group of four or more. In addition to this, each person was given a small yellow envelope every day that withheld $15 for us to spend on lunch in the park. Mrs. Spratt was able to provide this extra money to students from her fund-raisin efforts over the last few months.  Everything about the trip was simple, planned, and accustomed to the students’ needs. The teachers and chaperones on the trip went out of their way every single time to make sure everyone was healthy and happy.

In the park, we all had time to ride every ride that we wanted, and then go back and reride the best ones. I must have ridden the Rocket seven times. The waits were never more than 45 minutes, except for the new Hagrid ride, that was three and a half hours long (which, by the way, we waited for and it was absolutely worth the wait).

The last day before we left, we spent the day at the water park that was conveniently located right next to our resort. In the park, we were informed of the system that was created for us to avoid waiting in lines, that proved very helpful in the long run. Each individual person was given a watch that they could check in to a ride with, and the watch would inform us when the wait was over and we could ride the rides. 

This past year, our group had the opportunity to see the Blue Man Group perform in the park. Going into the show, half of our group fell asleep in their chairs before it began, but as soon as it started everyone shot right up in their seats. The show was comical, interactive, and colorful, leaving the audience stunned in their seats. It was so incredible that we had this kind of opportunity, that could not have been possible without all of the leaders who coordinated the trip.

Telling my mom about my trip when I got home, I couldn’t help but smile telling her the countless funny stories, all of the people I met, and the great time that I had. From every inside joke, to each new relationship that I formed, everything about the trip carried over into school the next day. As I passed by people from the trip in the hall, they didn’t hesitate to say hi, share an inside joke from the trip, and leave me smiling. 

The group that went on the trip this past year was great, bringing school spirit all the way from Elizabethtown, Kentucky. And trust me when I say that by the time we left Universal Studios, there wasn’t one person in the park who did not know who the Bruins were.

If you were a Bruin that went on the trip this year, I encourage you to share some of your experiences and thoughts on the trip in the comments section below.