United Kingdom 2018 - ISCA


A delegation of our middle school students, led by Head of Middle School Michael McLaughlin, spent three weeks in the United Kingdom as part of the ISCA international program. Here are highlights from their summer journey.
A note from Mr. McLaughlin: If you were to ask any of the Austin Prep students about their takeaways from their summer experience as part of the Independent Schools Cultural Alliance (ISCA), they will share stories about their new friendships with students in South America, their admiration for their British counselors who taught them sport and led their houses, and the three-week’s worth of history and heritage we took in across southern England.

The ISCA experience was likewise impactful for me as their group leader and teacher. As we prepared for our adventure and certainly throughout our month abroad, I got to know the students quite well. Overseas, I also connected with educators from Argentina, Brazil, Peru, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere in the United States. The dialogue and excitement was enriching and inspiring - with each day offering teachable moments. For example, after exploring the wards of Windsor and winding our way down the River Thames on a ferry, I had the opportunity to deliver a presentation on the Magna Carta. As a history major, I was “nerding out.” Here I was, at Runnymeade, very close to where King John affixed the royal seal in 1215 teaching the history to an audience of 150!

The trip was also special in that it afforded me time “in the field,” to research and write activities for the new course I am teaching at Austin Prep this fall, “Topics in Art History: The Art of Power.” Our ISCA journey seemed tailor-made for this course which will explore how the British crown has used various forms of art to communicate attributes of power over the last millennium. I will always be able to reference my guidebooks or scroll through the 1500+ photos that I took in July, but it was truly the immersive experience in England that stoked my long-held passion for this topic. One such moment was an independent day trip I made into London that I'll remember as "my royal day out." Click here for the story.


Houses of Parliament

Today’s ISCA Journey took us to Embankment Park for lunch on the Thames before an afternoon tour of the Houses of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster. We entered through Portcullis House, following the same path that MPs (Members of Parliament) use when they leave their offices to attend committee work, debates, and votes in the chambers. We met our guide Simon in the Great Hall. Home to momentous occasions like the lying in state of Winston Churchill and the Queen Mother and the coronation banquet of George IV, the Hall is the sole remaining chamber from the time of William Rufus in the eleventh century. Our followed the path of the monarch on the State Opening of Parliament, starting at the Norman Porch and Sovereign’s entrance, through the robing room bedecked with Victorian-age reminders of the qualities of monarchy, through the monarch’s gallery - truly architecture as a stage set for government - and into the House of Lords with its beautiful canopied throne. Along the way, we learned about how British government works, a discussion that carried us through the Central Lobby and into the House of Commons, home to the fierce debates of the Prime Minister. Students asked great questions about the role of the Church of England, Black Rod, and the election and appointment of MPs and Lords. Our visit was truly a look into British government at work and the importance of monarchy in that system.

Posted by on Saturday July, 14, 2018

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Austin Preparatory School is a Catholic private school in Reading, MA for Middle School and High School students in grades 6-12. We seek to cultivate the hearts and minds of our young students and provide an environment in which our students can successfully learn, grow, and develop beyond the classroom.

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