Student Pilgrimages

Why Travel?

We travel to experience the sites of God’s good providence in this world. Ancient Christians called this “spiritual pilgrimage,’’ and it was a deep part of the formation of their Christian affections.

What is a Spiritual Pilgrimage?

As a pilgrim, rather than as a tourist, our outward journeys in Europe become a rich part of our inward journey to God. As pilgrims we travel with a view to our spiritual life, rather than as mere tourists seeking only destinations.

Why Italy, England, and France?

Because Italy is at the heart of ancient Latin Christian culture – from the Eternal City of Rome to the hugely important center of Medieval art and culture found in Florence– Italy is a perfect setting for our spiritual pilgrimage.

Junior year at The Academy is filled with the culmination of Western history both in the rich English history of literature, poetry and theology, the contrast of the French and American revolution, and the significant artistic contributions to Western history that come out of Europe at this time.

Why Eleventh Grade?

Eleventh grade is a pivotal year of mental, spiritual, and physical maturity that we would like to honor with a trip because this is a key moment to grab their affections. We offer our junior trip as the final pilgrimage and travel to their Christian education in classics. This is our final ‘impression’ upon the wax of their lives as they enter the world beyond in post-secondary education/vocation

Travel Department

Nathan Carr

Nathan Carr is The Academy’s Headmaster.  He began working with the school in 2006, teaching secondary school math and science, initially functioning as Upper School Development Director and then Provost before becoming Headmaster for The Academy. He is married to Sarah, and they have six children.


Kristin Mannschreck

Originally from Edmond, Kristin graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in Secondary Math Education and a minor in Spanish language. She was also a member of the Chi Omega women’s fraternity.


Jesse Blackwood

Jesse Blackwood will be our primary tour guide while on pilgrimage.  He is a writer, teacher, poet, and tour guide. He holds an Honors degree in Early Modern Studies and Classics from the University of King’s College and Dalhousie. He currently leads tours for Rick Steve’s Europe through Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Swizerland, and the Netherlands. When not traveling through Europe, he is working to complete his first novel and poetry collection.


Sadye Smothers

Sadye is the district Communications Coordinator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications Studies from Oklahoma Baptist University.  Sadye is from Cambodia,  has lived in seven countries, and is fluent in Turkish.  Her diverse life story created in her a love and appreciation for people and cultures all around the world.