MAP plans first post-COVID era LA trip

February 16, 2023 — by Natalie Chua and Sanjoli Gupta
Photo by Leyna Chan
Many MAP students are excited to travel to LA.  
In mid-March, 60 juniors will visit Universal Studios, tour USC and watch ‘The Lion King.’ 

After the Media Arts Program’s annual trip to Los Angeles was canceled  the last three years due to COVID-19 restrictions, roughly 60 juniors will finally board buses in mid-March to head south and learn about the entertainment and media industries first hand. The group will leave early on March 9 and return by Sunday evening on March 12. 

A charter bus and a van will take the group down to all the various destinations in LA before returning to the Bay Area. 

“It’s harder and harder to get learning outside of the classroom because there’s so much pressure for kids not to miss school and to be here,” said Joel Tarbox, MAP’s tech coordinator. “I think that this experience is really valuable for them.”

The itinerary includes first touring De Anza College’s film and television program, after which they’ll watch a comedy sports troupe when reaching LA. The juniors will then tour Warner Brothers Studios, relax at Universal Studios and visit the University of Southern California to meet MAP alumni attending the school. The trip also includes many museum tours, including the Grammy Museum, the Museum of Motion Pictures and the Getty Museum. 

“The hope is to get students to see media arts in action, which is why we do the studio tours at Universal and Warner Brothers,” Tarbox said. “We also want to give them some sense of college options, so we go to De Anza here [in Cupertino], and we do a USC tour down there [in Los Angeles].”

One of the highlights of the trip is that students can spend time together outside a classroom setting. 

“There’s a lot of exposure that [takes place],” he said. “One of the other things that it does really well is it creates a nice bonding experience for the kids in that group.”

Since the last trip was in the spring of 2019, Tarbox said that the organizational work, which he’s doing with MAP 11 and English 11 Honors teacher Natasha Ritchie, has been more of a challenge. Because the trip hasn’t happened for three years, some of Tarbox’s connections no longer work at institutions like USC. 

However, he’s still excited for the chance to show students around LA.

“The first year I came to Saratoga and I was teaching MAP 11, I thought I had to spend five days with these high school kids in a hotel. But after I went on the trip, I thought it was wonderful,” he said. “It’s a great experience. The kids are great, and my favorite thing is getting to know the kids outside of the classroom.”

Instead of learning and reading the information from the textbooks, Map 11 student Ella Tamas. is excited to visit museums, historical sites and other destinations that complement her classwork while exploring and having fun with her friends in LA. 

“I’ve been to LA a few times with my family, but I’ve never really explored it and seen what it has to offer, so I’m really excited to see the things I haven’t seen yet,” King said. “We have a pretty packed schedule that seems loads of fun and covers educational materials. I also just really love museums.”

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