The day began with dipping their fingers in the Atlantic Ocean. Before midnight, they were touching the Pacific.
Two oceans in one day for a group of students from Gaspé, Que., and all because they seized an opportunity and won Canada's Coolest School Trip.
Canadian classes competed for the trip by creating videos that tell the story of a Parks Canada site's natural or historical significance.
A Grade 8 class from École Antoine-Roy beat out 38 other contenders with a video about Forillon National Park, which is close to their school in Rivière-au-Renard on the Gaspé Peninsula. The top prize is a four-day trip to Victoria to visit Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site and go sea kayaking, whale watching and camping on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
For some, it will be the trip of their lives, says principal Collette Malouin. Many of these students have never flown before and some have never been away from home. But these kids have learned that if you have a dream and work hard towards it, anything can happen. It's an inspiration for them, but also for the whole school.
Before embarking out west on the Coolest School Trip adventure, the 17 students, one teacher and three chaperons from École Antoine-Roy met Parks Canada mascot Parka and had their picture taken with the pilots of the small 24-seat plane. Gabrielle Tremblay, who just celebrated her 14th birthday, got to sit in the cockpit before take off.
The plane left the one-room airport in Gaspé, banked over the St. Lawrence and turned towards Quebec City. The flight attendant dolled out can after can of pop and by touchdown, the sugar-rush fuelled the excitement bubbling up. A stock up on candy in Quebec City ensured renewed energy for the flight to Toronto. After a quick dinner in Toronto, the class boarded the flight to Victoria. The plane landed at 9:30 p.m. and the students made their way to Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site to waiting tents. But before heading off to sleep, the students wet their fingers in the Pacific.