As well as performing the classics, our 5th-12th grade students have the opportunity to see great theater every year at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  

Ashland 2016 - October 17-20th

This wonderful opportunity to travel and see some of the best theater on the West Coast is what we base our English Curriculum on for September and October. Students will be reading the plays, researching the history, learning vocabulary, and reading and analyzing reviews in preparation for writing their own.  

After seeing the plays and taking theater classes at SOU, they’ll get to visit the town of Ashland with its interesting shops and beautiful Lithia Park. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s also school-on-the-road! There will be class time and assignments: discussion, writing (lots of writing), and an integrated art curriculum involving sketch journals.  

The school pays for the tickets, the SOU classes, most of the food and the transport. We ask parents of middle school students to pay $60.00 for two nights lodging and send $10-$15 dollars with their student for dinner out on Tuesday. We ask that parents of high school students pay $90 for three nights lodging and send $20-$30 for dinner on Tuesday and Wednesday. You may also send additional money for souvenirs, but we ask that it not be more than $40.

  Even if a family cannot pay, we make sure that all students go. Call me and we’ll work something out. This is such an important part of the fall curriculum, we don’t want anyone to miss it.  

We have limited room for parent chaperones and first priority goes to folks that have a car that holds at least five students. If you don’t have a car that holds five students, there may be room for you on the bus. Our priority, however, is to take chaperones who can help transport the forty high school students who won’t fit on the bus and are coming back on Thursday, not Wednesday. The cost for parents who can drive is $100.00 and the gas money to drive students there and back. The cost for parents who can’t drive is $200.00


Packing List for Ashland

Packing List for Ashland
(Packing light is essential. One small bag. You do not need sleeping bags.)

oLunch and lots of snacks for Monday
oWater bottle
oDaypack for carrying lunches, water, etc.
oTwo or three school outfits
oUnderwear and socks
oOne warm sweater/jacket for evenings
oOne nice outfit for evening theater
oAny medication the student is currently taking w/instructions.
o$10-$15 for dinner out (M.S.) $20-$30 for dinner out (H.S.)

Don’t send really expensive things, I can’t guarantee their safety.

Students may bring spending money but I ask that they not bring more
than $40.00.

Brenda’s Cell Phone (707) 498-1770
University Housing (541) 552-6375


Monday, October 17th - Leave school at 9:00 by bus (Indigo and Blue Groups) and car (Violet and Gold). Bring a sack lunch and snacks. Stop for lunch in Crescent City around 11:00 a.m. Arrive in Ashland by 3 pm and check into our dorms. Dinner at 5:00. Evening campus sketch crawl and exploration of Southern Oregon University.

Tuesday, October 18th – Breakfast at 8:00, leave for downtown by 9:30. Sketch crawl and exploration downtown. Lunch in Lithia Park at noon, head for the theater at 1:00. Twelfth Night at the Angus Bowmer Theater at 1:30. Discussion with the actors following. More time for exploration and sketch crawl. Dinner in your small group (You’ll need $10.00 - $15.00). Meet on the Bricks at 7:00. We see Great Expectations in the Angus Bowmer at 8.  

Wednesday, October 19th – Breakfast at 8:00. Theater workshops on the SOU Campus from 10-12. Lunch at The Hawk at noon. Bus takes Blue and Indigo back home to Arcata. They should arrive at school around 6 pm. Violet and Gold groups go back to town for dinner in small group ($10-$15) and at 7 they either take another theater class at SOU or see a prologue and Roe at Angus Bowmer Theater.
  *need parental permission to see Roe – for mature high schoolers only.

Thursday, October 20th – No school for the Indigo and Blue Groups who arrived home on Wednesday night. Violet and Gold will have breakfast at 8:00, pack, take a campus tour of Southern Oregon University and head home. We will stop in Crescent City for lunch at Pizza King. Arrive at school between 3 and 4.  

Brenda’s Cell Phone  498-1770


I spent some time recently with three young ladies who are graduates of Laurel Tree.    They talked about how important those theater and travel experiences had been for them.   One of them is now auditioning for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  She saw her first show there with us.  They all talked about the trips they’d taken to Mexico, to San Francisco, to Camp Mattole; the plays they’d done and seen – and how those experiences opened  their eyes to possibilities and ideas – and had been the really good stuff  that they remember from  school.   I want to make sure we keep providing that for all our kids.



We travel on a shoestring for two reasons.  The first is that we want every single kid to be able to go, so the price has to be reasonable.   But the second reason is that we think travel needs to be about the shared experience and the educational objectives; not the hotel, the coke machine, the pool, the stuff and the Starbucks. 

One goal of our trips is to give kids the opportunity to face challenges, work together, and find out things about themselves as they do so.   In short, that they have a bit of an adventure.   As it says in The Hobbit, adventures are “ Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!”   And as Bilbo discovers, they also teach you things about yourself, forge strong bonds in the group, and provide some pretty nice memories.   Travel at Laurel Tree is not a vacation, it’s an adventure.  And it’s designed that way on purpose. 

So before you commit to chaperoning, keep the following things in mind:  

  • You may not sleep well.  Especially the first night.  

  • You’re on 24/7.   You are responsible for keeping kids safe, seeing that they behave, and making sure they’re happy.  In that order.  

  • Travel with seventy to ninty kids is a much more complicated, schedule intensive endeavor than traveling with your own kids.   The amount of structure and the level of expectation about behavior is much higher than what we need with our own kids (or just a small group).  

  • However, there is no better way to get connected to the community of people that are educating your children, or to get to know the kids your kid is hanging out with, then to chaperone on a trip.  And it will take care of all your parent volunteer hours in one go:)
Oregon Shakespeare Festival