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DBA Gets Eclipsed: A Once in a Lifetime Experience

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8th Grade Students View Partial Eclipse as Totality Approaches

Over the past week, nine DBA students enjoyed a unique school trip across the state of Texas. The highlight was the special opportunity to view the total solar eclipse of 2024. Overall, our students made memories to last a lifetime as they learned valuable lessons and spent meaningful time together.

Sunday April 7th

First Picture of the Trip – On the Road!

We departed Sunday afternoon to head to a family’s ranch in the Texas Hill Country. After a quiet drive amidst the spring wildflowers, we reached our destination in Vanderpool, the very center of the zone of totality. We unpacked and got to work setting up camp for the evening. A highlight for the students was the opportunity to stargaze far away from the lights of the city.

Monday April 8th


The day of the big eclipse had arrived, but we had lots of other learning activities planned for this historic day. Our 8th grade boys woke up early to join Coach Lerch and our hosts for a morning hike to listen to the bird calls echo through the valley. Breakfast was followed by a discussion of the history of the Texas Hill Country, including the life and times of its most famous personage, President Lyndon Johnson. While waiting for the big moment, students played games and explored the natural surroundings of the area.

As midday arrived, we took our places at a great viewing spot, while enjoying tasty moon pies and listening to a cosmic playlist. Despite the clouds, the students had numerous excellent opportunities to view the moon gradually moving across the sun with their eclipse glasses. At 1:30 PM, the big moment arrived:

The high of experiencing totality was truly spectacular, but we were far from finished for the day. We soon embarked on an adventurous exploration of the natural areas nearby, led by our DBA parent host. We ducked under trees and scrambled up boulders, gradually climbing higher up the hillside. It was especially inspiring to see how the students worked together to assist each other in overcoming the different obstacles along the way.

Before long, we reached the top and enjoyed a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside that made it all worthwhile. After our return, we enjoyed a good old-fashioned cookout and some quality time sharing stories around the campfire.

Tuesday April 9th

After a couple of outstanding days, it was time to pack up and head to our next stop. After thanking our gracious hosts, we got on the road and enjoyed a scenic drive through the Hill Country. Enriching the lessons a few weeks before in U.S. History, we stopped at the Lyndon Johnson State Park. We visited the museum, walked around on the trails, and took the driving tour of the LBJ Ranch. A highlight for the students was seeing “Ari Force 1/2,” the plane used by the president on his trips to the ranch. After a great visit, we continued on to the next big stop, Austin.

Wednesday April 10th

After weeks of learning about the legislative process, students had the opportunity to visit the center of action for our state. We were fortunate to enjoy the enthusiastic and knowledgeable Miss Karen as our guide through the Texas State Capitol. A highlight for the students was being able to view the House Chamber. We also enjoyed a lovely tour of the Visitor Center from Miss Mariana, who led through the class through a primary source activity about land grants. The visit concluded with the Capitol Grounds Quest, which helped the students learn about many of the monuments there.

We then departed Austin for San Antonio and decided to have some fun along the way. Our group stopped off at a local park for a competitive game of kickball on a particularly blustery Texas day. After our arrival, we concluded the day with a farewell Tex-Mex dinner on the River Walk.

Thursday April 11th

The final day of the trip concluded with an immersive trip through Texas history at the Alamo. Students asked and responded to questions as Coach Lerch retold the stories surrounding this legendary historical site.

With our experiential learning complete, we loaded up the vehicles to return to Houston. The journey back to DBA featured both the obligatory Buc-ee’s stop as well as a lot of tired students. After 5 days, 739 miles, and over 18 hours on the road, we were home!


At DBA, our small size and flexible schedule allowed us the opportunity to plan an especially unique and memorable learning experience for the students. Unlike a cookie cutter big school trip, our class enjoyed trodding off the beaten path to explore nature and getting up close looks at history. In addition, from playing outdoor games to singing karaoke on car rides, they also had a lot of fun. In the end, this trip represents only one way DBA offers a transformative middle school experience like no other. If your child is interested in getting the most out these important years, contact us at and CLICK HERE to learn more about applying to our life changing school.