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Rich Abrams

Vol. 40: American Education Week

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In 1948, Winston Churchill famously said “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. In today’s turbulent times, it is vital that students travel to America’s great cities and learn first-hand the lessons of the past.

Whether you plan a trip to Washington D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta or New York City- there is so much to be gained. Students will not only absorb historical knowledge but also develop essential skills for global citizenship. They will learn to appreciate diverse perspectives, understand the impact of historical events on the present, and cultivate a sense of responsibility toward shaping a more just and interconnected world.

Reflecting on Power and Diplomacy in Washington D.C.:
A visit to our nation’s capital allow students to witness the mechanisms of power, diplomacy, and governance. Touring the Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the various monuments and museums, students gain an understanding of the responsibilities and challenges of being world citizens. Exposure to the international community through embassies and cultural institutions also fosters a sense of interconnectedness and the importance of diplomacy in addressing global challenges.

Understanding the Roots in Boston:
Boston is where the seeds of the American Revolution were sown. Visiting landmarks like the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, the Old North Church, and walking the Freedom Trail, students gain insights into the birth of a nation. The city’s rich history instills an appreciation for the struggle for independence, the importance of civic engagement, and the enduring impact of democratic ideals.

Discovering the Birthplace of Democracy in Philadelphia:
Philadelphia, often referred to as the birthplace of American democracy, offers students a firsthand look at the foundations of the nation. From the Liberty Bell to Independence Hall, students absorb the spirit of the Founding Fathers and the principles that shaped the U.S. Constitution. These experiences instill an understanding of the delicate balance between individual freedoms and civic responsibilities, laying the groundwork for responsible citizenship on a global scale.

Embracing Civil Rights in Atlanta:
Atlanta is a city deeply rooted in the Civil Rights Movement. Students stand where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic speeches, visit the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and explore the legacy of resilience and activism. Atlanta provides a living history lesson on the ongoing pursuit of equality, fostering a sense of responsibility to stand against injustice and champion the principles of human rights.

Navigating the Melting Pot in New York City:
In the heart of the melting pot, New York City, students encounter a microcosm of the world. The city’s diverse neighborhoods, each with its own cultural identity, showcase the strength found in unity. Visiting iconic landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, exploring world class museums, enjoying the arts and Broadway, and engaging in multicultural experiences, students develop an understanding of this country’s broad diversity. This exposure will help them gain a deeper understanding of what unites humanity rather than what sets it apart.

We believe that educational student travel encourages students to reflect on history not as a passive observer, but as an active participant. A deeper understanding can only be brought to life by traveling to places we have all read about in textbooks. This is the best way to create a future where students can contribute positively to a global society, armed with cultural awareness, historical understanding, and a commitment to making a difference.

VOL. 39: Updates & Announcements

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We’re thrilled to bring you some exciting updates and important announcements.

  1. Enhanced Registration Website Experience: Next week, we’re unveiling a major update to the web portal used by parents for trip registration and payments. Expect a host of new features, a sleeker interface, and a smoother process for registering multiple accounts.
  2. Broadway’s Grand Return: Broadway is making a triumphant comeback with a slew of captivating shows hitting the Great White Way. Look forward to upcoming productions like “Back to the Future,” “The Notebook,” “The Outsiders,” and “Water for Elephants.” And for the past few years, our student groups have been enthralled by favorites such as “Six,” “Hadestown,” “& Juliet,” “Moulin Rouge,” “Wicked,” “Aladdin,” “Blue Man Group,” “Chicago,” “MJ The Musical,” and “Harry Potter.”
  3. Southwest Airlines Seats Release: This week, Southwest Airlines is opening up more seats for all flights until June 3rd. As the only major airline still offering free checked bags, Southwest remains an excellent choice for many of our groups.
  4. Theatrefest in Galveston, TX (September 28-29): Join us at the Texas Educational Theatre Association’s annual conference from September 27-30, 2023. Be sure to visit Booth 400 to say hello and collect your invitation to our exclusive cocktail party on September 29th. We will also have some great chachki giveaways. https://www.txeta.com/theatrefest 
  5. Fall Special Promotion: Email us today to book a new trip with Junior Tours by September 30th. You’ll receive a generous $100 Amazon Gift Card and our exclusive Junior Tours Swag Bag (valued at $100).  Click Here if you’d like us to send you an itinerary and a quote for an unforgettable trip with your students.

Vol. 38: MARTY ABRAMS…THE LEGACY OF OUR FOUNDER

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It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of Marty Abrams, the founder of Junior Tours.   Marty lived a full and meaningful life.   Starting out as a history teacher in Brooklyn in 1976, he went on to build one of the premier student travel companies on the east coast.

If knew you Marty, you probably remember his big bear hugs or bone crushing handshakes when you first met and his warm smile and deep belly laughs when you spoke.  He was a man of character- honest, hard-working and generous.  The impact of his leadership at Junior Tours cannot be understated.   Marty was not only the founder, but also our dad and he took tremendous pride watching his children carry on his business when he stopped working several years ago.

Junior Tours has always operated as a family run business.  We view our group leaders, employees and tour guides as part of our extended family.  With the loss of our beloved father, we are reminded of the lessons he taught us- be kind to others and always take care of your family first.   It is a big loss for us, but we are prepared to continue his legacy with the values he instilled in us.

Rich Abrams & Debra Lisser

VOL. 37: Happy National Teacher Appreciation Week!

By Journal One Comment

This week, we want to celebrate all of YOU! The Fantastic Teachers and Educators of the World!

In honor of your special week, we are giving away (2) $100 Amazon Gift Cards.

To enter into our drawing, go to the Comments below and tell us your favorite classroom hack or favorite resource/website that helps you in your teaching. Give us any idea or suggestion that you think other teachers might find helpful to know about. Feel free to share more than one if you have multiple ideas! Each idea will be another entry into the drawing.

2 lucky winners will randomly be selected next Wednesday, May 17th and notified via email of their winnings.

We wish you all the best and hope you all enjoy your week about YOU!

Vol. 36: Beyond ChatGPT: Amazing AI Tools for your Classroom

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ChatGPT has grabbed many headlines about the transformative power of AI. Each week new AI technologies are being released. With this technology at the fingertips of everyone, we wanted to share with you some of the more popular AI tools our own friends in education have found useful within their classrooms.

Gradescope www.gradescope.com
Gradescope helps you seamlessly administer and grade all of your assessments, whether online or in-class. Save time grading and get a clear picture of how your students are doing.

Whitesmoke www.whitesmoke.com
An alternative to Grammarly, WhiteSmoke is an all-in-one writing software application. It evaluates grammar, writing style, punctuation, spelling, and overall writing quality.

Curipod www.curipod.com/ai
Enter any topic and generate an interactive slide deck in seconds.

Scispace www.typeset.io
Research assistant to give you real time answers and simple explanations to complex text, math or tables.

Murf www.murf.ai
Make studio quality voice overs of any text that can be used for videos, podcasts or presentations.

DALL-E www.openai.com/dall-e-2
Type in whatever you want to see and even how you want it represented, for example pixel, cartoon, or in the style of Claude Monet. Then DALL-E will create an image based on your description.

Perplexity www.perplexity.ai/
This AI chatbot lets you ask questions and get responses conversationally. What sets Perplexity apart is that it cites sources, which are easily clickable to get more context and more information.

Overall, we hope you find the above-mentioned AI tools useful for you and your students within your classroom.

Vol. 35: Musings of Student Returning From D.C. Class Trip

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Earlier this month, Jefferson Middle School took their 8th grade class on their annual trip to Washington D.C. Each student was asked to keep a journal of their experience and then write a short essay on what they learned. Here are the musings of Sarah Harrison, president of her student body:

 

“Last week, I returned from the most amazing adventure with my eighth-grade classmates: a three-day trip to Washington D.C.!  We had so much fun exploring the nation’s capital, and it was such a rewarding experience to travel away from home with my friends.  From visiting the iconic landmarks to trying out new food, this trip was filled with unforgettable memories.

 

As we explored landmarks such as Arlington National Cemetery, toured the Capitol, and marveled at the monuments and memorials, I realized the profound impact this journey would have on me.

 

Arlington National Cemetery evoked a deep sense of reverence and gratitude.  As we walked through the rows of identical white headstones, I felt overwhelmed by the immense sacrifices made by our country’s brave servicemen and women. The powerful experience of witnessing the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier further solidified my appreciation for these heroes.

 

Our visit to the Capitol offered a firsthand glimpse of the workings of our government. As we toured the halls where influential decisions are made, I felt a sense of awe and pride in being part of a country with such a rich democratic history.

 

Another highlight was our visit to the National Mall. There, we saw the Washington Monument standing tall in the sky, a symbol of our first president’s lasting impact on our country.  Next, we walked along the Reflecting Pool and were amazed by the larger-than-life statue of President Lincoln. We couldn’t resist taking selfies with Honest Abe.  I will cherish those goofy pictures forever!

 

I feel so fortunate to have this amazing opportunity to travel.  I am grateful to my parents and to my teachers for allowing me this once in a lifetime experience!”

VOL. 34: TOP 10 TRAVEL REMINDERS

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Top 10 Travel Reminders to Prepare For Your Upcoming Tour:
1.    Prepare for air travel by reviewing TSA top travel tips
2.   Use our suggest packing list so you don’t leave anything behind.
3.   Arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before departure.
4.   Adults 18 years or older must have government issued photo ID (i.e., driver’s license or passport). People 17 or younger are not require to have any ID, though we suggest they bring a school ID, credit card or something that shows their name.
5.   Upon arrival, go to baggage claim to meet your tour guide and bus driver.
6.   Have everyone familiarize themselves with the rules of expected behavior.
7.   Remind your group to be patient. The hospitality industry is still recovering. Longer wait times at restaurants and attractions can be expected.
8.   We have a toll-free emergency number that is answered by LIVE PERSON 24 hours/day, 365 days a year.
9.   We suggest that you bookmark to the home screen of your phone the login to your Registration/Payment Portal. This way when you are out on tour, you can easily use the portal to communicate with your group.
10.  Let parents know that they can click on the Details button on the top of their login screen to see the updated version your group’s itinerary.

Vol. 33: STAY ORGANIZED WHILE ON TOUR

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We are excited to officially kick off the Spring 2023 Tour Season. With many of you having travel plans soon, we wanted to remind you of some of the features our new online portal offers you as the Group Leader.

We recommend that you bookmark your log in to the home screen of your cell phone. Once bookmarked, the following features will be easily accessible to you:

  • One Step communication via email or SMS
  • The most up to date itinerary at your fingertips
  • Ease of creating rooming lists, chaperone lists and airline lists
  • Dashboard showing everyone who is registered for the tour
  • Instant accessible to medical forms and emergency contact information
  • Virtual signatures of permission slips if needed
  • Set up surveys or questionnaires
  • And much more!

Bottom line, we know how valuable your time is. Our new online portal is designed to make it simple to organize the details of the tour, communicate when needed and allow you time to enjoy the sights while on tour. Email or call us if you wish to schedule a quick call to help you unlock all these features.

VOL. 32: LIMITED TIME PROMOTION!

By Journal

SPECIAL PROMOTION: Now through March 15th- anyone who books a new trip will have their choice of either:

Doubling your group leader stipend from $500 to $1,000
-OR-
Additional free trip added to your tour package (domestic travel only).

This is the optimal time to lock in your travel plans for the fall 2023/spring 2024.  You can use either promotion however you wish. Whether it’s applied for a student scholarship, to offset costs for additional chaperones or to reimburse yourself for any incidental personal costs, the choice is yours.   Promotion only though March 15th so act now!

More Reasons to Be Smart and Start Early:

  • Lock in the lowest prices of the year.
  • Give your students maximize time to fundraise and prepare.
  • First priority on the school calendar ahead of other trips and activities.
  • Take advantage of either extra free trip or double travel stipend.

Let’s get you penciled in to take advantage of these promotion. Click HERE to get started or send us a quick email today! Don’t miss out on something this amazing!

 

SUPER BOWL CHALLENGE:
Thanks to everyone who participated in our Super Bowl Challenge.   It was a heck of game with the outcome decided in the last minute.  The following people were the closest to predicting the final score of Chiefs 38, Eagles 35.  Everyone who participated earned a 100 JTrip Reward Points and the winners each got an additional 500 bonus points.

Chiefs 37, Eagles 31    Barb B.
Chiefs 42, Eagles 32   Traci T.
Chiefs 38, Eagles 28   Mike S.

VOL. 31: DUST OFF THOSE PASSPORTS: TIME TO GO INTERNATIONAL!

By Journal

The United Kingdom and Canada have dropped all vaccination, negative Covid testing, and mandatory quarantine requirements to enter their country.  We at Junior Tours are excited to be re-introducing our two amazing tours to London and Montreal.

LONDON THEATRE TOUR
For groups of 20 or more who have already enjoyed the best of Broadway in New York City- a special trip London’s West End might be just what you are looking for. For 8 days the group will explore the culture, landmarks and theatre all unique to this trendsetting city. A few highlights included are:

  • West End Theatre
  • Masterclass Workshop
  • Globe Theatre Tour & Workshop
  • Tours of the Royal Shakespeare, Drury Lane and National Theatre’s
  • Ride the London Eye to view London from the sky
  • Sightseeing of the famous landmarks such as Windsor Castle, Tower of London, Piccadilly Circus, Hyde Park, Christ Church College, Big Ben and so much more!

Click Here to Request Quote and Itinerary

MONTREAL/QUEBEC CITY TOUR
Our 5 days visit to French Canada offers your students a unique opportunity to experience authentic French culture without having to travel to Paris. This trip is best suited for groups of 20 or more within 500 miles driving distance, as flights are limited and expensive to Canada. Some highlights include:

  • Exploring the Old Walled Quarter of Quebec City
  • Admission to the Biodome, Old Funicular, Copper Museum and Trappers Museum
  • See Château Frontenac and ride along St Lawrence River
  • Explore The Notre-Dame Basilica and The Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré
  • Visit Baie Ste-Catherine for whale and beluga watching
  • Enjoy exploring Parc de la Chute-Montmorency
  • Dinner and entertainment at local Sugar Shack and so much more!

Click Here to Request Quote and Itinerary

Not ready to travel international just yet? Not a problem
We are officially accepting reservations for the Fall 2023/Spring 2024. Stay a step ahead of your surrounding schools and start planning now. By starting early, you will receive our early bird pricing. It will also allow your community more time to fundraise and save. Our most popular destinations include:

Whatever your future travel plans may be for you and your students Junior Tours will be here to assist. Contact us today to get started.