CMS eighth graders learn, and more, in The Queen City

Crossing the Ohio River to follow in the footsteps of freedom-seeking slaves.

Crossing back over to observe the aquatic life of the region and the world.

Sprinting full speed the 100 yards of Paul Brown Stadium, the field where The Bengals play.

Riding the same five water slides over and over and over and over and...

Racing for the front spot for the first ride of the day, the 220-foot straight down, take-your-breath-away monster known as The Diamondback, always the first stop at King’s Island.

Trying to sleep on a bus or in a room full of your best friends.

And bad pizza. And good chicken tenders. And splashing in the wave pool. And smiling.

This is the annual eighth grade class trip to Cincinnati, now in its sixth year.

It all went down last week as 95 of the top CMS Eighth Graders loaded up for three days of non-stop fun and learning with stops at the National Freedom Center and Underground Railroad Museum, Paul Brown Stadium, Newport Aquarium, King’s Island, and a two-night stay at The Great Wolf Lodge — you know, one of those massive hotels with a water park.

Fun and learning, that’s truly what it is on this trip, with these kids. They all blend on this trip. There is the fun of riding roller coasters, laughing. There is the learning about our pasts, our country’s past, each other’s pasts. There are old friends.

There are new friends. There is conversation. There are goofy kids and teachers side-by-side. There are connections, memories made that can’t be erased.

As one eighth grader put it, as the group rounded out the final day, the final moments of the trip at King’s Island, “You know what? This is gonna be one of the best memories of my life.”

Well, for the teachers who put this thing together, that means one thing: Our work here is done.