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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.


Harry Potter

Austin Prep students trekked to the Warner Brothers Studios outside of London for the Harry Potter Experience. Students boarded broomsticks, navigated the Forbidden Forest, and shopped through Diagon Alley. The tour began with a cinematic overview of the Potter films - after which the screen flew into the air and revealed the front entrance to Hogwarts. When the doors opened, students found themselves in the spacious Great Hall where they viewed a number of props, including the Goblet of Fire and the House Cup Counter. From there, students explored a number of sets in the soundstage including the Gryffindor Common Room and Dormitory, the Potions Classroom, Professor Dumbledore’s Office, and Platform 9 3/4. Along the way, hundreds of costumes and set pieces and thousands of props were a true delight for fans of the films. In the studio lot, we saw Harry’s home at 4 Privet Drive with the Knight Bus, Hagrid’s motorbike, and the Weasley’s car parked outside. The final soundstage included a number of animatronics as well as the Diagon Alley set and a 1:24 model of the campus of Hogwarts. All in all, we enjoyed a magical day on set!

Posted by on Tuesday July, 17, 2018

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101 Willow Street  •  Reading, MA 01867
Phone: (781) 944 - 4900  •  Fax: (781) 944 - 7530

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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