Pictures show the group visiting the Taj Mahal, riding in rickshaws, seeing stray monkeys on the streets, and learning how to dance from Indian students just to name a few experience
The students recently traveled to the South Asian country for the GLOBE India Science Festival in New Delhi, the nation's capital.
This was the first time a U.S. team participated in the event and the Hawkins group was the only U.S. team present.
Team members included freshmen Allyson Edwards and Madison Jaco, junior Lauren Haney and senior Elijah Turner.
Hawkins Middle School science teacher Audra Edwards and Nandini McClurg, a research associate at The University of Texas at Tyler GLOBE International Division, also went on the trip.
GLOBE stands for Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment.
The students presented work from a yearlong research project completed under Ms. Edwards' supervision.
The project involved studying budbursting — the emergence of new leaves on plants — the atmosphere, climate, soil and hydrology.
Hawkins Middle School sixth-graders completed most of that research, but the high school students helped to lead the effort and create a video about it.
The majority of the students' visit was spent in New Delhi, with only one trip out of town to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra, about 130 miles away. That said, the students had many experiences during their stay — visiting schools, the U.S. Embassy, the Indira Gandhi Memorial and more.
The students said festival participants responded favorably to their research and cultural presentation, the latter of which included a line dance to the Zac Brown Band's “Chicken Fried.”
Ms. Edwards said people seemed to take pictures of the students everywhere they went just because they were foreigners.
Madison said her favorite part of the trip was visiting the schools, especially East Point where they learned how to dance from the Indians.
“The Taj Mahal was pretty cool, but you can't compare that to the human interaction we had at the school,” Madison said.
Ms. Edwards said her daughter Allyson was most affected by the pollution she saw in terms of the air quality, noise and trash. She said Allyson saw a greater need and value in recycling because of this.
The students started to build friendships, getting contact information for the people they had met.
Ms. Edwards said although they all enjoyed the trip, they are happy to be home. Their community seemed to be so too.
A big sign in the middle school, read “Welcome Home Mrs. Edwards.” Another in the high school hall read “Follow us to India” and had a poster about the students' research, a map of India and an article about their trip.
Cards made my Mrs. Edwards' students also hung from the wall. Ms. Edwards said she planned to put up photos from the trip so the rest of the school could see what they did.
Even those outside the school seemed to embrace the trip with people talking about it in grocery stores and during early voting, Ms. Edwards said.
“It's huge for the community for us to get to do this.”