FLAGSTAFF -- The Residential Hall students at Greyhills Academy High School took a quick and final fieldtrip into the big city May 11 to gaze into the universe and take a look at some neighboring planets in the night sky at Lowell Observatory.
It was a trip filled with a lot of silly laughter, some funny jokes, a lot of Chinese food, some down time, a lot of waiting, and some spending of cash for souvenirs.
When the time came for the students to view the exhibits of outer space and go through the panels of astronomy inside the visitor's center, they let loose their inquiring minds, and it was total seriousness from then on. The loud laughter that echoed through the pines outside in the parking lot disappeared.
Inside the center, it was quiet reflection as students read about the length of travel from one galaxy to another at the speed of light or clicked computer keyboards to study certain planets or view what lays ahead in the future for mankind and space.
It was a quick jog up the hill to the observatory to look through the giant lenses at Jupiter and four of its moons, and then a look at Saturn on the way back down through a mobile telescope set up along the sidewalk. A young girl who is a junior at Coconino High School and who volunteers her time to answer questions was there to provide information for Greyhills students.
Students then took the time to stop at the gift shop and purchase T-shirts, post cards, solar wands, geek-looking glasses for 3D view of the world and a few other odds and ends to impress roommates, mom and dads, brothers and sisters, and maybe even friends.
Then it was back to the bus in the chilly night air. The students dashed to the bus for the ride home. Oops, it was the wrong bus!
Where was the Greyhills' bus that was parked here? No one knew what had happened to it. As it turned out, it was downtown for a quick repair of a taillight that was faintly visible at night. Twenty minutes later, it came roaring back and to take them back to the Tuba City.
There was no laughter--just quiet talk all the way back. The bus rolled up to the parking lot near the dormitories at midnight.
As they took to the buildings, the sky was filled with sparkling and glittering stars, looking back down at the students who had peered up at them just a couple of hours before.