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The Student News Site of Riviera Preparatory School

The Riviera Press

The Student News Site of Riviera Preparatory School

The Riviera Press

The Student News Site of Riviera Preparatory School

The Riviera Press

College Trip 2024

Sophomores and juniors visit Florida’s Finest Institutions
Marie Castellanos
Our sophomores and juniors stop by the home of the bulls at the University of South Florida.

This February, juniors and sophomores went on their annual Florida College Tour Trip, where we got the opportunity to visit some of the country’s top schools and open our minds up for our future endeavors in further education.

On the day of our departure, we arrived at Riviera at the crack of dawn to get on the bus and head to our first destination: Florida Gulf Coast University, home of the Eagles, established in 1991 with an overall acceptance rate of 74%. We left the school at 6:30 a.m. and got to Fort Myers at 9:00 a.m., ready to tour our first school. The tour was half on the bus and half on foot, which was nice because we were all tired from waking up early. 

After FGCU, we hopped back on the bus and headed north toward the University of South Florida in Tampa. We walked around the school and saw everything they had to offer, and we learned that the Bulls are one of the top 50 public universities in America. Later, we went to the Tampa Riverwalk and got some fresh air by the ocean and a quick snap. For dinner, we ate at Miller’s Ale House, where staff at the restaurant allowed us to connect to the TVs and watch the boys’ basketball team win their regional championship. After the exciting win, we went to the hotel, ready for our next day of tours. 

The next day, after breakfast and buying lunch for the trip, we headed south. Then, we traveled to Gainesville to tour the University of Florida, the home of the Gators. UF has been coined the “Ivy of Florida” and is ranked #1 nationally among all public universities by the Wall Street Journal. While on campus, some Riviera alumni stopped by Ben Hill Griffin Stadium to visit their old counselors and friends. 

Spencer Resnik and Dennis Gatto get ready to take off in their go-karts at Fun Station Tallahassee. (Marco Calderoni)

After that, I was back on the bus and headed to Tallahassee to visit UF’s main rival, Florida State University. At FSU, we met up with more Riviera alums attending the university outside the James D. Wescott building. After our tour, it was night, and we went to Fun Station Tallahassee to eat some pizza, play arcade games, and drive go-karts. We closed our day by going to the new hotel and getting a good night’s sleep for the following day of fun. 

On the third day of our tour, we woke up at 7 a.m. to eat breakfast and get ready for a long, four-hour drive from Tallahassee down to Orlando to visit the University of Central Florida. We ate lunch at their lunch hall and proceeded to take a walking tour around the gorgeous campus. The large campus has fantastic modern facilities, yet there is so much nature around the campus, such as an artificial pathway through a mossy marsh and a big, open quad for students to hang out.  

After the tour, we headed close to Universal Studios to play a few rounds of mini golf at Lost Caverns Adventure Golf. We ate dinner at the Hard Rock Café Orlando at City Walk Place in Universal Studios. The best part about this restaurant was the location because, after dinner, we walked around City Walk Place and had many options for dessert, like Menchies and Voodoo Donuts. Then, we headed to the hotel to check in and slept for the last night of our trip. 

For our fourth and final day, we had one last college to tour: Stetson University. We woke up early to drive two hours to DeLand, where we toured the private university. Stetson University’s campus looks right out of a movie with its large quad, beautiful greenery, and stunning Spanish colonial revival-styled buildings. Then, we got onto the bus and started the four-and-a-half-hour drive back to Miami. 

Personally, one of the best things about the trip was the proximity to Miami; some students with family members and friends were able to see their loved ones at their colleges. Gabrielle Eberwein, who saw her cousins at the University of South Florida, said, “It was cool to see my cousins. I hadn’t seen them in a while, and it was nice to see them and where they live.” 


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About the Contributor
Manny Eberwein
Manny Eberwein, Writer
Emmanuelle (Manny) Eberwein is a junior and second year staff writer for the Riviera Press. She appreciates music and can often be found at the latest concerts. Manny is excited to develop her photography skills and growing her writing portfolio. If you spot her in the halls, remind her to get to class on time!
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