Lauren Kethan, Day 2: JF Spring Trip

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My day started with a nice surprise!  After a long drive from Memphis to Conway, Arkansas, we were able to see Susan Eisenhower speak about her grandfather (President Eisenhower) and his role in the Civil Rights movement.  The speech was interesting, especially since Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine, was in the audience.  Fortunately, we were able to speak with Ms. Eckford after the event, and we event took our picture with her.  Talk about pleasant surprises!

The Junior Fellows with Ms. Elizabeth Eckford

Moving on to the next event on our agenda was tough because there was no way anything could top the experience I had while visiting the beautiful UCA campus. I should have known by our first day of traveling that Junior Fellows trips are filled with unexpected, exciting adventures!

Our next stop was the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion, currently occupied by Governor Beebe and his wife, Ginger. The house was spectacular, filled with Arkansas-related history. Our tour guide, Leonard, took us inside throughout the mansion’s public rooms and outside throughout the gardens. There was a children’s playhouse by the vegetable garden that I would have loved to play in when I was a little girl! Before we left the mansion we took a picture with Leonard on the stairs that led up to the living quarters of the Governor and First Lady, and he asked us to send him a copy.  I was very thankful to have had him as our tour guide.

Junior Fellows in AR Governor's Mansion, with Leonard Boyle

Visiting Little Rock Central High School was next on our agenda! The museum across from the school was very interesting and featured many pictures of Ms. Eckford, who we had met earlier in the day.  The photos were reminder of how painful the civil rights process can be, and made us all the more grateful that we were able to meet Ms. Eckford.

As we headed across the street toward Little Rock Central High I heard a familiar tune that my mind associated with the beach, flip-flops, and snow cones.  In other words, there was an ice-cream truck headed my way! I caught the driver’s attention just in time to get myself a deliciously cold treat.

After leaving Little Rock Central High we headed toward an old water mill that was featured in the famous movie, “Gone with the Wind.” It was a beautiful sight to see!

Junior Fellows at the Old Mill

To close the evening, we spent some time on the River Walk. We arrived just in time to see the sun set over the Arkansas River–by far, the absolutely most breathtaking, picturesque moment I have experienced. The way that the last little bit of sun light shimmered on the water was something everyone should see at least once in their life!

Little Rock Skyline, From the Junction Bridge

All in all, Arkansas treated me extremely well today and I, without a doubt, will bring my family with me the next time I visit this eventful state!

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