Eighth Grade Visits Catalina

On October 6th, 2018, the middle school eighth-graders at McPherson Magnet School went on an overnight field trip for three days and two nights to Catalina Island off the coast of Long Beach, California. They took a small boat with other schools to a camp in Toyon Bay. The eighth-graders did many activities over the overnight field trip like snorkeling, hiking, and swimming on the beach side. They also took many classes and labs to learn about the ocean and how to protect it. They also learned about the ocean animals, from the ones on the surface to the ones that live in the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean. They got to touch sea animals like sea urchins and starfish and got to pet small sharks that were in an aquarium. Finally, they dissected squid to learn how squids live and how their body parts functions.

Students snorkeled during the day and went on a night snorkel to see the sea creatures at night and the bioluminescence of the Pacific Ocean. Students hiked in the early morning to see the sunrise.

The eighth-grade students were fed three times a day with a wide variety of food. They stayed in gender-separate dorms with about sixteen people in the boys’ dorm and about twelve in the girls’ dorm. The girls’ dorms all had bathrooms with showers while the boys had to go into a separate bathroom with multiple showers. The students slept in bunk beds and brought their own sleeping bags to sleep in. The nights were very hot due to having no A/C and the windows being jammed so no air could get in. The eighth-graders did many fun activities and learned a lot at Catalina and hopefully, they will remember it.


We interviewed three eighth graders about Catalina and their favorite parts about being on the island. The first person we asked was Katie Jao. We asked what her favorite part about Catalina was and she said, “My favorite part about Catalina was snorkeling.” We then asked if it was the day or night snorkel and she said, “The night snorkel was better [but] I didn’t see any fish.” 

We asked Caroline Vasquez what her favorite part of Catalina was and she said, “Night snorkeling.”

Cole Morgan said, “My favorite lab at Catalina was the plankton lab because we saw different planktons and tested them against other teams.” Most eighth-graders said that Catalina is the best field trip that they go on in McPherson and it is not hard to tell why.

Going to the small island of Catalina was probably a great experience for all who went and they did a lot of great activities and shared a lot of great memories. Many experiences were had at Catalina and there were many things to do. This is a trip McPherson takes every year in eighth grade.