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.


Brush up your Shakespeare

Our group traveled east to the beautiful town of Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire for a day filled with Shakespeare! Our tour began at the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company which counts Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellen as former company members. We were escorted backstage by our guide Nikki who gave us a behind-the-scenes tour of the Theatre. We went into dressing rooms, the wardrobe department, and production booth while learning about how the RSC brings Shakespeare to life each night through its performances.

In “As You Like It,” Shakespeare writes “All the world’s a stage. And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts.” True to that line of the play, Austin students explored the streets of Stratford and visited places that would have been familiar to the Bard. 

At Shakespeare’s childhood home on Henley Street, we saw the room where Shakespeare was born and the bedroom he shared with two of his brothers. Out in the garden, actors performed Shakespearean scenes on demand: imagine, hearing Shakespeare performed outside the room where the greatest playwright was born! We walked by his grammar school and the walled gardens of the home he and Anne Hathaway purchased once he rose to fame. We also spent time in the Holy Trinity Church, the place where Shakespeare was baptized, attended services, and was buried.

Our work with Shakespeare will pick up again at the end of the week when we return to London for a workshop in the Globe Theatre on “Romeo and Juliet.”

Posted by on Monday July, 16, 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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