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Legacy Voyagers: The SAS Tradition Continues with each Generation

Pam Carey (left) spoke so much about her experience on Semester at Sea that her daughter Meredith (right) knew that she would sail with SAS. Meredith is one of many legacy voyagers on the Fall 2013 Atlantic exploration.

The Voss Family are traditional cattle ranchers from Nebraska who have an affinity for travel. With eight previous voyagers over several generations, and one current student on the Fall 2013 voyage, this family is no stranger to Semester at Sea (SAS).

It’s all thanks to Gladice Braddock Isham Pegues, who paid for four of her grandchildren to experience SAS and started an ongoing tradition of travel in the family. Two grandchildren (Gloria and Robin Isham) sailed in Fall 1974. One (William Isham) sailed on the Fall ‘78 and Fall ‘79 voyages.  And another (Andrea Isham, mom of current voyager Julianna Joy Voss) also sailed in Fall ’78. Gladice later sailed on the Spring 1980 voyage as a lifelong learner.

At left, Joy Voss (center) with her parents at embarkation for the Fall 2013 voyage. Andrea Voss (then Andrea Isham) (upper right) during her Fall 1978 voyage. And Jay Voss, Joy’s older brother, during his Summer 2009 voyage.

“It was absolutely life changing” to experience Semester at Sea, recalls Andrea Isham Voss. “We were the first civilian ship to get to go through the Suez Canal.”

Now, the next generation has come of college age. This time Julianna Voss’ grandmother is carrying on the tradition from her own mother, ensuring that her grandchildren also see the world—Jay Voss, Julianna’s brother (Summer 2009), Cornelius Ray IV and Drew Elizabeth Isham (Spring 2013).

The family legacy continues on this 50th anniversary voyage with Julianna Joy Voss (who goes by Joy).

“I had been talking about doing Semester at Sea for the past seven years,” explains Joy, a junior at Chadron State University. “I never left my state for college, so this was something different I wanted to do.”

Joy is among more than a dozen “legacy students” sailing on the Fall 2013 voyage. Legacy voyagers are those whose family members—parents, uncles, cousins, and siblings—have sailed before and for many of whom not sailing on Semester at Sea wasn’t even a consideration.

“For me studying abroad with Semester at Sea wasn’t an issue of if  it was a matter of when,” says Meredith Carey, a junior at Southern Methodist University.

Meredith grew up wearing her mother’s retro Semester at Sea sweatshirt, hearing her mother’s stories about her voyage and occasionally flipping through the old scrapbooks from Pam Carey’s Spring 1982 SAS adventure.

Asher Thompson sailed as a dependent child in 2005 and is sailing now as a college student on the Fall 2013 voyage

“She’s always said you start talking to someone and you immediately know if they’ve done Semester at Sea, just by the way they talk about travel or their life,” Meredith recalls. “It’s one of those moments that you realize you have this crazy experience in common.”

John Asher Thompson, from the University of Vermont, not only has a grandfather (Jack Thompson) who taught on Semester at Sea for eight voyages and a father (Sumner Thompson) who’s worked as the A/V Technician numerous times, but Asher has sailed prior to this voyage as a dependent child on the Spring 2005 voyage.

“I’d say sailing on the ship had been single biggest event that shaped my life up to this day. At a very young age I got to experience the world and broaden my world view and change how I thought about the world,” says Asher.

Sarah Olson, a resident director on the Fall 2013 voyage, has a wealth of Semester at Sea connections: her mother, Beth Hellwig, sailed as the dean of students in Spring 2007 and Summer 2011; her brother, Ryan Olson, sailed as a student (Spring 2007) and as staff (Summer 2011), and her grandmother, Shirley Hellwig, sailed as a lifelong learner in the early 1980s.

Sarah Olson (left) and her mom, Beth Hellwig (right) traveled together in Ireland during the Fall 2013 voyage. Sarah also sailed with her mother for part of the Summer 2011 voyage.

With school and work commitments, Sarah didn’t get the opportunity to sail as a student, but knew her time would come on the MV Explorer, allowing her to realize that experiencing Semester at Sea is something that is available in myriad ways.

“That collective of people makes the experience special and it shows me that Semester at Sea is an opportunity that people at all stages of life can experience and learn from,” Sarah said.

Legacy voyagers have also happened in the reverse, with lifelong learners being inspired to sail after their kids have been on board. Marjorie Seawell discovered SAS after her daughter, Frances “Scottie” Seawell sailed in Spring 1984. Sewall first sailed in Spring 2002 and is now on her seventh SAS voyage. She now serves as vice president of the SAS alumni association board of directors (AABOD) and is a staunch supporter of the program. Marjorie has pledged to bring all of her grandchildren on the MV Explorer to experience SAS as well and hopes to begin in the next few years with her eldest granddaughter (Scottie’s daughter) who is now a freshman in college.

All of these families have made sailing on Semester at Sea a strong tradition, and it certainly won’t end with this voyage.

“Out of all the education you can have in four years of college, you will gain more going on this trip in four months than you will in four years,” Joy Voss’ mom, Andrea Isham Voss says. “I’m all about life lessons and life learning and that’s what this voyage is about.”

A host of other students on the Fall 2013 voyage are also legacy voyagers:

  • Jason Abbott‚ÄîHis brother, Matthew, sailed Fall 2012
  • Chloe Barnett‚ÄîHer mother, Robin, sailed in Spring 1980 and her brother, Nicholas, sailed in Fall 2012
  • Cody Booth‚ÄîHis mother, Laurie, sailed in Fall 1980
  • Colin Ceithami‚ÄîHis mother, Chrys, sailed in Spring 1979 and his sister, Kara, sailed in Fall 2008
  • Serena Cersosimo‚ÄîHer two brothers, Vincent and Patrick, sailed Spring 2003 and Spring 2005, respectively.
  • Katrina Cord‚ÄîHer dad, Christopher, sailed Spring 1984
  • Hillary Cummings‚ÄîHer mother, Cynthia, sailed in 1982 and her aunt sailed.
  • Tiffany Daly‚ÄîHer sister, Shannon, sailed Spring 2012
  • Micaela DeVos‚ÄîHer mother, Maria Devos, sailed Spring 1986
  • Alison Duhan‚ÄîHer mother, Laurie, sailed Spring 1979
  • Kaylyn Graiziger‚ÄîHer brother, Robert, sailed Fall 2011
  • Maia Griswold‚ÄîHer grandparents, Bob and Jean Griswold, sailed as professors (from Colorado State Univ.) in the 1970s and 80s. Her uncle, David Griswold, sailed in the 1980s.
  • Hayley Hicks‚ÄîHer mother, Wendy, sailed Spring 1977
  • Sean Klauer‚ÄîHis dad, James, sailed Fall 1981
  • Connor Kreidle‚ÄîHis dad, Bradley, sailed in Spring 1984 and his brother, James, sailed Spring 2012
  • Matilda Lumpkin‚ÄîHer dad, Keith, sailed Spring 1973
  • Phoebe McCarter‚ÄîHer mother, Rosemary, sailed Spring 1980
  • Elizabeth McCloy‚ÄîHer mother, Elizabeth Keppler (now McCloy) sailed Spring 1979. Her aunt, Kim Keppler (now Overlander) sailed Fall 1983
  • Colin McGaw‚ÄîHis sister, Kelly, sailed in Spring 2008
  • Callee Roscoe‚ÄîHer dad, Robert, sailed Fall 1984
  • Jerry Sadler‚ÄîHis sister, Sierra, sailed Spring 2010
  • Henry Schmoker‚ÄîHis sister, Hannah, sailed Fall 2009
  • Devon Shiland‚ÄîHer mother, Patricia Netter (now Shiland), sailed Fall 1981. Her aunt, Tracy Shiland (now Kemper) sailed on Fall 1985
  • Lauren White‚ÄîHer mother, Stephanie, sailed Fall 1978
  • Life on Land

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