Scavenger hunt leads students to glitzy week in New York

When three upperclassmen entered The World’s Biggest Treasure Hunt at the last minute, they certainly did not expect to win.

The three students – seniors Nichole Carroll, Jess Sherwood and junior Courtney Barth – came in second place in the D.C. leg of the competition, which was sponsored by Disney to promote their new movie, “National Treasure: Book of Secrets.” After spending the afternoon following clues and running around the District, the teammates won a free week in New York that included tickets to the “National Treasure” premiere and a spot against other finalists in a New York City treasure hunt.

Carroll, Sherwood and Barth work at the House of the Temple, headquarters of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry – the final destination of the hunt, which took place on Dec. 4.

“Not enough people signed up to participate,” Carroll said. “My boss called me and said, ‘Get in a cab and get over to the Library of Congress!'”

Dressed in full work attire – including heels – the three dashed to sign up for the hunt. Not only were they signed up with only three team members instead of the recommend four, Carroll had just recently broken her leg.

“Everyone (else) was in running shoes,” Carroll said of the competition.

The hunt was fashioned after the premise of the movie, in which Nicolas Cage plays a character that uses historical artifacts to debunk a bogus story about his family.

Teams were running all over the city from Ford’s Theatre to the Old Post Office, to the National Theatre, to Union Station, and even to places such as Kinko’s and Borders.

“We must have run 15 miles that day,” Barth said.

Despite all of the setbacks, the GW team came in second place in the D.C. competition. “We were the youngest people and the only girls,” Barth said.

Barth and her teammates went on to face the five other regional winning teams in a New York treasure hunt on Dec. 14, and pulled in Cheyenne Moore as their fourth teammate.

“They put us up for a week (in New York),” Barth said. “We stayed at the Royalton Hotel in Midtown. It was so nice.”

The girls were also invited to the New York premiere of “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” which is the sequel to the 2004 movie “National Treasure.”

“The premiere was really cool,” Carroll said. “We got to see Nicolas Cage, Jon Voight and Helen Mirren.” She described Cage as being “really nice.”

The team also rubbed elbows with Abigail Breslin, best known as the young girl in “Little Miss Sunshine” and stood in the presence of hockey’s coveted Stanley Cup in Bryant Park.

Although the team came in last place during the New York treasure hunt, Barth still described the experience as, “amazing.”

She said, “I don’t think I’ll ever have an experience like that again. It was really rare.”

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