Students stand on an overhang with falls below them

Sixth grade students who are members of the Yorkers history group, had the opportunity recently to travel to Niagara Falls for a three-day historical trip.

Students conducted fundraising projects, worked with veterans, completed community service projects and collaborated on historical projects to be able to take this excursion.

On Wednesday, May 31, the twelve students and three chaperones, teachers Heather Robin, Amy Harris and Jordan Kramer, departed Arkport for Niagara Falls, with Letchworth State Park as the first stop. The group explored the new railroad bridge, the Autism Nature Trail, which is a first-of-its-kind experience in nature designed for visitors on the autism spectrum, and the Mt. Morris Dam, where they learned about flooding and funding for state and national parks.

After a picnic, the group traveled to the campsite in Niagara Falls where they disconnected from electronic devices. The students learned how to cook dinner and spent time playing cards, basketball, chess, racquetball and swimming. They even held some fierce cannonball contests! Before bed, the group celebrated the birthdays of a few members while enjoying the falls illuminated at night. 

The adventure continued the next day with a visit to the Cave of the Winds. There, the group learned about the historical significance of the Free Niagara movement, the contributions of Nikola Tesla and how the power of the falls can provide enough electricity for most of Western New York. 

No trip to Niagara Falls is complete without a good soaking by the falls and an excursion on the Maid of the Mist — and the Arkport Yorkers got to experience both!

The group also visited Fort Niagara where they participated in a STEM day that included historical presentations and a cannonball and musket demonstration. They balanced that educational experience with ice cream (before dinner!) and a movie night.

Before returning home, the group made a stop at the Niagara Aquarium for a talk about penguins, a sea lion show and an up-close visit with an endangered spotted turtle. 

All in all, the outing was fun and exciting for the group, however what impressed teacher Heather Robin the most was the students’ behavior. “Throughout all of the presentations our students displayed the utmost respect for others, asked great questions, cared for each other and those around us and showed what it means to have Arkport Pride,” said Ms. Robin. “We look forward to continuing our projects next year and maybe venturing further south!”