Why We Travel, or “Venture Out”, With Our Students


Travel is one of many things educators can do to help students grow into well-rounded adults with perspective that extends beyond their own neighborhood. This is why TLC has a robust “Venture Out” program that aims to weave literature, science, history, and art with travel and real life experiences. This cross-curricular travel-study program gives students a broader perspective through new experiences.


The VENTURE OUT program promotes trips to places and people of interest across the Mountain Region of North Carolina. Typical outings may include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Cherokee County:  Historic downtown Murphy including the trail of historic cemeteries; John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, including resident artist hands-on tour and the Rivercane Wall; a stop at the renowned “Clay’s Corner”; a step back in time at the old country store in the Peachtree community; Walker Inn, Andrews; study of historic area schools.

  2. Clay County: Finding fairy crosses, visiting the Ogden School as part of a study of historic area schools in the midst of scenic Clay County.

  3. Graham County:  Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, stopping along the way to explore a small portion of the Trail of Tears, Cherohala Skyway, Fontana Dam

  4. Jackson County: Forensic Studies Field Trip to Western Carolina University

  5. Macon County: Gem and Mineral Museum of Franklin, Civilian Conservation Corps, Wayah Bald, Nantahala Lake as a source of hydroelectric power, Glen Choga Lodge.

  6. Swain County: the abandoned sites of Hazel Creek and Proctor; Deep Creek area of Great Smoky Mountain National Park.


Additionally, VENTURE OUT works in conjunction with the annual Upper Grades Class Trip opportunities that are offered to Learning Center students on a three-year cycle, covering the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade years of our students. The three year cycle always includes 1) New York City, with in-route stops including Natural Bridge, Hershey Factory, or Gettysburg. 2) North Carolina Coast, with in-route stops in the Piedmont area. 3) Director’s Choice: This choice has included Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans.


Our students start their North Carolina studies in fourth grade. We like to say that we start Venture Out Junior at this point, laying the foundation for combining education with travel, using the world and people around us as a rich, educational resource.  Again, a cross-curricular approach is taken to social studies and history, expanding into a STEM to STEAM approach, including rich field work including such sites as Cherokee County Historical Museum, Heritage Park Cherokee Exhibit in Hayesville and the Clay County Museum. Students even venture into northeast GA to better understand the regional ties to a border state such as ours. An annual visit to Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center to experience the “Trees Program” is always a part of 4th grade adventures.


Seen here, students in 6th, 7th and 8th grade traveled to Atlanta in May for a rich city life experience that included CNN World News Headquarters, Center for Puppetry Arts, a fantastic tour of the labs, classrooms and inner workings of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, a performance of Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities, a tour the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University – focusing on the science behind art and artifact restoration, and Buford Highway Farmer’s Market, an incredible international food market featuring foods that many of the group had never seen before.


The 2015-2016 school year also offered 6th-8th graders an opportunity for a three day camping trip to Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Students rode horses, built fire, swam, fished, hiked and worked with Park Rangers on a water quality study of a local creek.  Outdoor learning is an integral part of a TLC education and tying it in with a further venture outward into our region taught students much about nature, science, community and self.


Traveling is an investment in education. It allows kids the opportunity to see first-hand the things they have learned and to put into practice the skills they have acquired. They gain a global perspective and a strong independence that no other teaching method can impart. Travel teaches tolerance, self-sufficiency, and resourcefulness. Without travel, students only see the world on a screen or in a book but TLC ensures they get to experience it for themselves.


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