Our Cultural Expeditions Program (CEP) provides students with the opportunity to explore and grow in their understanding through an integrated curriculum of history, art and travel.  At Veritas, we want students to experience the world outside the classroom first hand, not just through books and pictures.  Students explore what is first most familiar to them in Houston before moving to their state’s capital, their nation’s capital and then Europe.  Through CEP, students are challenged to look at the complex world they live in through new eyes. The program captures students’ imagination, initiates them in travel education and creates unforgettable memories.

Houston

Every year the fifth grade class tours our home city learning about its history and culture through visits to various sites around the city.  The full-day tour provides our students with an overview of Houston’s important sites and the history of its development. 

Typical itinerary includes visits to:

  • Waterwall
  • Houston Arboretum
  • Lora Jean Kilroy Building at Bayou Bend 
  • Mark Bradford's art car studio.
  • David Adickes's former studio Sculpturworx with the 35+ presidential heads and The Beatles.
  • J. P. Morgan Chase Tower, observation deck, tunnels, and Pennzoil Place.
  • Shops at Houston Center 
  • Discovery Green Park's Listening Vessels and Fountains.
  • Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.
  • Visitors Center at City Hall.
  • The Gargoyle House of Frank Zeni.

Washington D.C.

As a part of our Cultural Expeditions Program at Veritas Christian Academy, we believe that giving students the opportunity to explore and grow in their understanding of their own culture, its history, and their nation’s capital is essential to developing their understanding of civic duty and their identity as U.S. citizens.  This trip is intended to immerse our students in the functions of our federal government, our nation’s history, and to experience one of the most important cities of the world.

2016 Washington D.C. Trip



Day 1
Southwest Flight  Arrives at DCA (Reagan National Aiport) 
Lunch at Mt. Vernon
Tour Mt. Vernon (George Washington's home)
Battle of Fredericksburg / Historic Cemetery 
Day 2
Jamestown Settlement
Wren Building
The College of William & Mary
Colonial Williamsburg
House of Burgesses 
The Gaol (the prison)
Merchant Square (Lunch)
Day 3
Visit Yorktown (Battle of Yorktown)
Fredericksburg, VA
Marine Corp Museum (Quantico)
Monument Bike Tour at Night (Bike and Roll DC)
Lincoln Assasination Tour
Day 4
Arlington Cemetery Guided Walk 
Wreath Laying at Tomb of the Unknowns 
Lunch near Marine Corps War Memorial
National Museum of American History
Air and Space Museum
National Portrait Gallery
Day 5
U.S. Capitol Tour
Library of Congress
Supreme Court (attend lecture if available)
Washington Monument
9/11 Memorial
Dinner and Sovenir Shopping at Pentagon City Mall
Day 6
Transfer from Marriot Crystal City Hotel to DCA
Southwest Flight Departs DCA for Hobby
When is the Washington D.C. Trip?

We typically schedule our Washington D.C., Williamsburg, and Charlottesville Trip in October, which allows us to avoid the tourist season while also enjoying cooler weather. Typically, the trip is six days in length including travel time. 

 

Is the cost of food included in our trip?

Food costs are not included in the $1500 total trip amount. The cost of breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be each individual’s responsibility.  We suggest that each person budget $45 daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.  In order to help you budget for food costs consider the total number of times students will be dining:  breakfast (4), lunch (4), dinner (4) – a total of 12 times dining out. 

 

How much money should I bring? 

The only costs not covered in the price of the trip are breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day as well as optional items like souvenirs, sodas, etc. We strongly recommend that the student’s refrain from carrying too much cash by giving excess amounts to their group leader.  Each morning, group leaders will then distribute as much cash as needed.  Bear in mind that the budgeted $15 per meal does not include souvenirs.  Bring additional money if you plan to buy souvenirs, eat larger than normal portions, or plan to buy snacks.

 

What do we visit on the trip?

We will visit the Capitol, Supreme Court, pass by the White House, Library of Congress, travel the city by bike tours, visit the major memorials, Mt. Vernon, Monticello, Arlington National Cemetery, the National Museum of American History, and the Air and Space Museum.  We also visit Colonial Williamsburg and Charlottesville.  We try to provide the students with a balance of serious historical, cultural, and governmental sites tempered by a fun way of experiencing this from Bike & Roll DC Tours of the city to investigative walking tours.

 

What type of ID should I bring?

Students are required to use one of the following forms of identification as stipulated by United Airlines / Southwest:

•   Passport

•   Credit card

•   School ID

•   Company ID

•   Library card

•   Birth certificate

•   Social Security card

 

Are my SkyMiles credited to my account for the flight?

If you included your MileagePlus number on the Trip Commitment Form you should have the miles credited to your account.  We suggest calling the airline company after the trip to be sure they were added.

 

Are parents, siblings, and friends allowed to join the trip?

Only parents or adult relatives are allowed to join the trip each year.  There are rules and responsibilities that will be given to all adults who travel with us.

 

Are there chaperones on the Washington D.C. trip?

Mr. Sewell oversees the Washington D.C. Trip and is the point of reference for all communication.  Every year Veritas Christian Academy assigns faculty members or other adults to assist him on the trip.

 

What should I wear?

We recommend dressing in layers that can be removed or worn as the weather dictates, such as a shirt and sweatshirt with a rainproof windbreaker.  We are not traveling to Siberia, but remember that your extremities tend to get cold first so plan accordingly. No bulky ski jackets are allowed. We will walk 7+ miles daily so it is essential that everyone wear a good pair of walking shoes.  If you plan to purchase these prior to the trip, we suggest that you wear them a few times to break them in before the trip to avoid blisters.  For more details, please review the Washington D.C. packing list.

 

Is there a dress code on the trip?

While there is no formal dress code for the trip, when we attend Arlington National Cemetery for the wreath-laying ceremony, those students selected for laying the wreath will need to comply with the dress requirements stipulated by Arlington National Cemetery.  The day we visit the Capitol and Supreme Court, students will need to wear their Veritas spirit wear shirts or hoodies.  Additionally, no baseball caps are allowed.


 How much walking is there on the trip?

It’s safe to assume that you will walk on average 9+ miles a day. Since we travel primarily by Metro, it requires that we walk from our hotel to the Metro to every site on the itinerary.  Be ready to walk!


Am I allowed to carry a backpack to the places we visit?  

Yes. However, your bag will be examined and at some federal buildings, you are not allowed to bring drinks inside.

 

Will there be a chaperone in each room?  

No.  Some rooms will have chaperones.  Those rooms that do not, will also be monitored by chaperones.

 

Why type of luggage should I bring?  

You are allowed one carry-on item and a suitcase with Southwest.  

 

Am I allowed to check-in early for my flight?  

No.  We will check in as a group on the day of our departure.  Please do not attempt to check-in early online.



San Antonio, Fredericksburg, & Austin

Our annual Texas History Trip is a three-day crash course in San Antonio and Austin, where students learn distinctives of our state's history, culture, and influential historical figures . Students relive the famous Battle of the Alamo as they explore where the revolutionaries made their fateful last stand, and then later in the trip tour the Capitol Building and visit both houses of the Texas Legislature.  This trip is intended to be a first hand encounter of Texas state history, and for students to learn about the events that have shaped our state and made it unique.

2016 Itinerary

Day 1
Mission San Jose
Lunch at Rivecenter Mall
IMAX:  The Alamo
Tour the Alamo
Walking Tour:  San Fernando Cathedral & St. Joseph's Church (Architectural Tours)
Skies over Texas 4D Experience:  Tower of the Americas
Dinner at Rivercenter Mall
Riverboat Cruise
Day 2
Depart Hotel in San Antonio
Enchanted Rock
Lunch in Fredericksburg:  Old Germany Bakery & Resteraunt
St. Mary's Church (Architectural Tour)
National Museum of the Pacific War:  Admiral Nimtiz Musuem & George H.W. Bush Gallery
Dinner in Austin
Day 3
Tour State Capitol Building / Visitor Center
Tour the University of Texas at Austin
Lunch at Univesity of Texas Union

London

We consider our annual London Trip the capstone experience to a Veritas education.   Giving students the opportunity to explore and grow in their understanding of other cultures is a unique educational experience. International travel enhances students' global awareness and appreciation for cultural differences and diversity. Every March, our eighth graders spend one-week crisscrossing London to take in its culture and history.  We visit famous historical landmarks such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, and Oxford University. Overall, the London Trip is a hands-on educational experience par excellence.   

2017 London Itinerary

Day 1
British Airways departs Houston IAH 
Day 2
BA Arrives London Heathrow Airport
Private Coach to Imperial London Hotel in Central London 
Brunch at Marchmont Mall (Waitrose, Starbucks, etc)
Big Bus Tour
Dinner near Green Park
Night City Historical Tour (London Walks)
Day 3
The British Museum 
The Churhill Museum & War Cabinet Rooms
Tower of London (Guided Tour)
Dinner near Tower of London
The London Eye
Day 4
Theatre Disctriict Tour
Rules Restaurant
St. Paul's Church
Lunch at Covent Garden
Shakespeare and Dickens London
Shakespreare's Globe Theatre
Wicked (Apollo Victoria Theater) 
Day 5
Westminster Abbey (Guided Tour)
Change of Guards Buckingham Palace
Lunch near Trafalgar Square and Optional National or Portrait Gallery Visits
St. Paul's Cathedral (Guided Tour)
Dinner and Free Time 
Evensong at St. Paul's Cathedral / Shopping near Leicester Square & Piccadilly Circus / British Library
Day 6
Travel to Oxford
Oxford Castle Unlocked
Bodliean Library
University Church of St. Mary's the Virgin
Lunch in Oxford
Magdalen College
The "Great Hall"  Christ Church College & Guided Walk
Dinner in Oxford
Oxford Historical Night Tour 
Arrival in London
Day 7
London Heathrow to IAH

Why does our 8th grade class travel to London?

As a capstone to a Veritas education, we think giving students the opportunity to explore and grow in their understanding of other cultures is a unique educational experience. International travel enhances students’ global awareness and appreciation for cultural differences and diversity.  Our choice of London and Paris is because of its affordable cost by comparison to other destinations due to ease of travel within the city to so many of its attractions.  London presents our students with the ease of speaking their mother tongue but the noticeable differences of its culture, history, and institutions. For middle school students, Europe is the perfect starter for international travel in a global world and the perfect destination for enhancing their historical knowledge of their country’s roots.

 

When is the London Trip?

We usually travel the week before Spring Break.  Typically, we leave on Friday and return Thursday.  This allows four full days of exploring London and a day in Oxford as well as time to recover from jet lag during Spring Break.

 

What hotel do we typically stay in?

For will typically stay in the Imperial Hotel near Russell Square.

 

Is the cost of food included in our trip?

Our accommodation cost includes a full English breakfast every morning.  Lunch most days will be “on the run” at fast food or sandwich type places as we will be out and about all day.  For dinner there are a variety of restaurants near our hotel.  The cost of lunch and dinner will be each individual’s responsibility.  We suggest that each person budget £25 a day (approximately $40) for lunch, dinner, and snacks.

 

What do we visit on the trip?

Each year we typically visit the same places, although this may vary to some degree due to the closing of certain attractions.  Take a glance at the previous year’s itinerary online and you will have a good idea of the sites we usually visit.  We try to make each day of the trip thematic, relating to previous historical and cultural studies. 


When do we receive the trip itinerary?

A tentative itinerary is usually distributed at our meeting in December followed by its final version in January, two months before the trip. Keep watching, as this will be updated from the tentative itinerary to the final version.  Once booking is completed every year, Mr. Sewell will email parents to notify them that the completed itinerary has been updated on the website.

 

How much money do I need to bring?  

Essentially, the only costs not covered in the price of the trip are lunch and dinner (approximately £25 a day/$40 a day), and other optional items like souvenirs, sodas etc.  We strongly recommend that the student’s refrain from carrying too much cash by giving excess amounts to their group leader.  Each morning group leaders will then distribute as much cash as needed.  Bear in mind that the estimated amount for the week does not include souvenirs.  Bring additional money if you plan to buy souvenirs.  

 

Where should I purchase British Pounds?

You can exchange money at several locations throughout Houston.  Since we usually depart from Terminal D or E at IAH Airport, you can arrive early and exchange money at the currency counter at Terminal E.  Enter your zip code at the following websites and you can find your nearest currency exchange.  http://www.travelex.com/US/Store-Locator/  

 

What type of ID should I bring?

No ID is required other than your passport.  Nesossi Photography provides the school with Student IDs.  We give everyone a lanyard to hold their Student IDs and tube ticket throughout the trip.  Student IDs will be handed out once we are on the bus and traveling to the hotel in London. 

 

Are my sky miles credited to my account for the flight? 

If you have an account with the airline we fly (British Airways / United Airlines), then you can have the miles added to your account.

 

Are parents, siblings, and friends allowed to join the trip?

Only parents or adult relatives are allowed to join the trip each year.  However, this trip is intended and designed for students not as a relaxed family vacation but a fast paced educational trip in order to take in as much culture and history of London as possible.

  

What documents should I bring?

Each person traveling must have a current passport.  If you do not have a passport you need to apply for one immediately as the process can take as long as six to eight weeks.  You will not be able to travel if you do not have a valid passport.  Your passport must also have six months of validity priorto entering the United Kingdom and France; otherwise, they may deny entry.  Non-American citizens will also need a visa.

 

What should I wear?

We recommend dressing with layers that can be removed or worn as the weather dictates, such as a shirt and sweatshirt with a rainproof windbreaker.  We are not visiting Siberia, but remember that your extremities tend to get cold first so we strongly recommend a hat, gloves, and a scarf. No bulky ski jackets are allowed. We walk several miles a day so it is essential that everyone wear a good pair of walking shoes.  If you plan to purchase these prior to the trip, we suggest that you wear them a few times to “break them in” before the trip to avoid blisters.  On the Veritas website is a packing list of what to bring.

 

What other things should I bring on the trip?

We are staying in an excellent but basic bed and breakfast hotel.  You will need to bring your own shampoo, conditioner etc. American electrical appliances such as hairdryers will not work unless you use a converter.  These can be purchased from any good electrical store such as Radio Shack.

 

What electronics am I allowed to bring?

Students may bring their IPhones and IPods for the purpose of taking pictures and calling home at night if they have an international calling package.  However, they are not allowed to bring MP3 players and handheld games.

 

What is the policy for using phones and electronics?

Students are allowed to use smartphones, iPads, iPods, etc. to listen to music on the flights to and from London in the hotel room at night to call parents, and at the designation of faculty.  All other uses are prohibited.  The rationale for allowing students to take phones, iPads, iPods, etc. is for a means of communicating with family at night and taking pictures during the trip.  Students should consider travel around London as though they are in class and abiding by school technology policies. If a student uses their phone or iPad for a purpose other than those aforementioned, their phone will be confiscated and parents can retrieve it from the school office after returning from the trip.  Veritas is not responsible for any such electronics lost or stolen on the trip.  No laptops are allowed on the trip.  Please be aware that phones and iPads can be easily lost or stolen in London.