Two teachers from Colorado dreamed up a three week seminar for their students, following the Mississippi River from Hannibal, MO to Greenville, MS. Along the way the students from Colorado Springs School in Colorado Springs, CO are learning about the river, the people along it, and the evolving meanings of freedom throughout American history.

Amy Johnson Smith, an English teacher, and history teacher David Benson came up with the idea they call, “Freedom on the River.” Highlights of the trip included exploring the Mark Twain caves in Hannibal, paddling the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, paddling right up to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and several days on the river with expert guide John Ruskey of Quapaw Canoe Company. The group also visited the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, and spent a day of community service at Shelby Farms, where the students removed invasive plants and picked up garbage. The students will receive an academic credit for the seminar, equivalent to a one semester class.

While in Helena the group experienced the best in southern hospitality, staying overnight at the Edwardian Inn, enjoying meals at local restaurants, and visiting historic sites.