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.


Iconic London

The theme of our visit to London today was icons of the city as we focused on Shakespeare and the breathtaking Saint Paul’s Cathedral. 

We began our day with a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on the bank of the River Thames with Taz, a veteran member of the Company. Taz then led us in an hour-long acting workshop that explored the prologue of “Romeo and Juliet.” The students got into the warmups and an acting exercise that focused on the essential meaning of the play’s first 14 lines.

After lunch in the gardens of the Tate Museum, we crossed the Millennium Bridge (which makes an appearance in the Harry Potter films) to Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Saint Paul’s is unquestionably the defining landmark on the London skyline. The stage set for Princess Diana’s wedding to Prince Charles and the funerals of Winston Churchill and Horatio Nelson, among others, the mammoth church was designed by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London in 1666. We climbed 111 meters through the Whispering Gallery, Stone Gallery, and Golden Gallery to enjoy a panoramic perspective of London and descended into the crypt to view the tombs of Nelson and the Duke of Wellington.

Students are excited about an on-campus day tomorrow which will include the opening rounds of a squash tournament, a workshop of field hockey, and an opportunity to play cricket!

Posted by on Friday July, 20, 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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