Best field trip ever

Barbara Bush Elementary first grade students visit Eagle’s Trace

Sara Martin
December 19, 2019

For eight years, volunteers from Eagle's Trace, the Erickson Living-managed community in West Houston, have worked with first grade students at Barbara Bush Elementary School.

"It's a great partnership," says Pat Osborne, who helped launch the initiative. "We have 12 volunteers from Eagle's Trace who spend every other Friday at Bush Elementary. The teachers prepare math activities to support their curriculum and provide all the supplies. We spend 20 minutes with each of the six first grade classes, working on these activities to develop their math skills."

The Eagle's Trace volunteers recently extended an invitation to first grade students and their teachers to visit them at the West Houston community.

"We had 149 children and their 6 teachers come for a field trip to Eagle's Trace," says Pat, who enlisted 35 residents to serve as tour guides and additional chaperones. "It was a chance to show the students where we live."

Childlike excitement

When the busses rolled into Eagle's Trace, residents were on hand to greet students and take each class on a guided tour of the community, showing them the amenities, such as the on-site bank, store, fitness center, swimming pool, library, putting green, and medical center.

"Do you all share this house?" asked one student in amazement, as he took in the size and scope of Eagle's Trace.

"The kids are so excited to visit their friends at Eagle's Trace," says Robin Brown, lead first grade teacher. "We have a diverse student population, with over 15 different languages represented on campus. Many students have grandparents living in other countries, so they've really bonded with the volunteers who come every other week."

Dorothy Baldwin is in her twentieth year of teaching at Bush Elementary and says the students look forward to days when the volunteers from Eagle's Trace are on campus.

"They'll see them walking down the hall and start calling out, 'They're here; they're here,'" says Baldwin.

Following the guided tour of Eagle's Trace, students assembled in the Audubon Clubhouse to perform a selection of patriotic songs, followed by cookies and lemonade in The Garden Room Restaurant.

"It's incredible to see the kids light up when they see our resident volunteers," says Stephen Aigner, executive director at Eagle's Trace. "I had a chance to visit Bush Elementary to see the work our residents are doing. It's a great partnership that we hope to continue for years to come."