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Explore Program East Coast tour by Ciara Johnson '17

From Boston to New York, the East Coast has an abundance of universities, culture, and adventure to offer. My fascinating Easter Break experience with the Explore Program is a great example of how a college tour can inspire Marist students to consider schools outside the Midwest.

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Our first day was filled with pleasant surprises as we traversed the historic grounds of downtown Boston. After a morning of sightseeing, we began our first college tour at the outstanding Emerson College. We would end our day at Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, where we gathered for dinner and shared our impressions of our first college visit. While in Boston, we were also fortunate to meet two graduates of Marist High School, Pat Skerrett '71 and Katie McGrath '15, who both shared their post-Marist experiences with us. The next few days, we would visit exceptional colleges such as Boston College, Stonehill College, and Harvard University.

On the fourth day of our trip, we would have to leave Boston for our next destinations: Rhode Island and Connecticut. The bus ride was filled with interesting conversations with our new friends from Our Lady of Peace and St. Monica. Our journey to Rhode Island and Connecticut brought us to colleges such as Brown University, Providence College, and Yale University.

Our last destination and my personal favorite was New York City. After seeing landmarks such as the 9/11 Memorial and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, we concluded our college tours at Columbia University and New York University. However, the trip wasn't over yet. Our free time was with filled with exploring the “beautiful mysteries” of the Big Apple. We rode the subway, enjoyed Broadway shows, and (of course) shopped at Times Square. I was even lucky enough to reunite with familiar faces from my junior mission trip as I met with my friends from Marist in Bayonne, New Jersey. The next morning, we would return to Chicago with plenty of memories and a new appreciation for the East Coast.

This experience exposed me to the endless opportunities college will grant me, from establishing new friendships to discovering unfamiliar places that I will call home. My entire high school career, I was determined to find a school close to home but taking part in this college tour has compelled me to consider the vast amount of college options awaiting my discovery.

Photo: Students, along with chaperone & Explore Program coordinator Anne Brusky, met up with former Marist President Br. Patrick McNamara, who now lives in New York and serves as the U.S. Provincial for the Marist Brothers. 

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