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.

 

Our Final Day

Today marked our final full day in the United Kingdom. We traveled to the village of Windsor, site of Windsor Castle, the longest continuously-inhabited royal residence in the world. Windsor was built in a motte and bailey design shortly after the Norman Invasion and has been the ceremonial home of the Most Noble Order of the Garter since its establishment in the 14th century. In more recent history, it was the favored home of Queen Victoria after the death of her husband Prince Albert and is the weekend retreat of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II. Americans may be familiar with the Castle as the backdrop for the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle. Students had the opportunity to walk the parapets and explore the State Rooms where the Queen hosts numerous events.

The afternoon was spent on the River Thames as we cruised from Windsor to Runnymeade. Mr. Michael McLaughlin, Head of Middle School, delivered a talk to an international audience of over 100 people at the Magna Carta Monument, a memorial dedicated to the momentous 1215 signing of the Magna Carta.

We spent the evening on campus packing our suitcases before heading to the Great Hall at Charterhouse for a closing dinner and dance - and to say farewell to our excellent ISCA counselors and our new friends from schools in the US, Argentina, Brazil, and Peru.

Posted by Ms. Julianne Bloise on Monday August, 6, 2018 at 03:38PM

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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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