The legend of the 2016 Southeast Senior Trip

It was your typical Senior Trip combining learning activities with fun activities. For 3 days, April 14 through April 16, Southeast seniors would visit Memphis then return home. Only, the return home didn’t go quite as expected.

Day one, Thursday, went pretty much as expected. Seniors and chaperons Principal Larry Malle, Senior sponsors Brad Coots and Ellen Harrington mostly arrived on time for bag check at 5 a.m. at Southeast High School. They left on a charter bus shortly after 6 a.m. and were in Memphis, Tennessee by around 2:00 p.m. A tour of the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated was followed by a visit to the world famous Beale Street, and a fun trip to Jump World.

Day two, Friday, consisted of a tour of Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, a visit to the Memphis Zoo, and a trip to Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid along the Mississippi River.

Day three, Saturday, involved a tour of Mud Island to learn about the Mississippi River, and the group was then scheduled to go to a Springfield Cardinals minor league baseball game.

Again, it was your typical Senior Trip combining learning activities with fun activities.

Then it got exciting.

A little more than halfway between Memphis and Springfield, the charter bus lost a plug in the back axle, lost oil, and a wheel started smoking.

Mr. Coots joked with a school official back home that if any of the kids reported a fire on social media, that was not the case. He even laughed that he’d take the blame – “This is the kind of stuff that always happens to me.”

“Just one of many adventures with Bryson (Spahn) over the past four years,” Mr. Coots posted to his Twitter account, also saying that as of 2:45 p.m. all of the kids and staff were relaxing safely at a McDonalds/Subway in Thayer, Missouri waiting for the charter company to either fix the bus or send a different bus.

The trip to the baseball game now off, the Southeast staff and students relaxed as much as they could and even “toured” the local Walmart.

“I must say, our seniors are handling our misfortune quite well – ‪#‎southeasthasthebestkids‬,” Mrs. Harrington posted to her Facebook page.

Nearly five hours after breaking down, around 7:30 p.m., the rescue bus was finally loaded; and, at 10 p.m. they stopped briefly in Springfield to eat.

An hour later, at around 11:00 p.m. Saturday night, a belt broke on the rescue bus in Joplin.

At 11:20 p.m. the students once again switched buses and finally made it back to Southeast High School around midnight.

“Thanks to the seniors for acting great on the trip despite some unique circumstances,” Mr. Coots tweeted out. “It is much appreciated. #finallyhome #SESrTrip16”

(Photos courtesy of Brad Coots)

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