The History Department took a bumper group of 47 students and 5 staff to the East Coast of the USA in February half term.
The first few days were spent in New York which lived up to its reputation as the city that never sleeps. On our first evening we were wandering around the neon lit Times Square. Over the next few days we took in Lower Manhattan from Wall Street to China Town and Little Italy and the sobering experience of the 9/11 memorials. The more adventurous then took a choppy boat trip to Liberty Island for a photo opportunity with the Statue of Liberty. We ascended the heights of the Empire State Building and the Top of the Rock and descended to the Subway for further adventures. (“Where are you?” “We’re heading for Battery Park station.” “There is no Battery park station.” “Oh. I must have misheard the guide.” “We’re not sure either.”) Further delights included 5th Avenue, the Trump Tower (where to our collective shame we bought election souvenirs), the Plaza Hotel (Home Alone 2!) Central Park and another venturesome party taking in Les Miserables on Broadway. There was plentiful shopping in Macy’s.
A day long coach journey was broken by a guided tour of the Gettysburg battlefield. The guide was most evocative and made us all imagine the battle in summer 1863 when the temperature was in the 80s – no mean achievement on our visit it was barely above zero. On then to Washington and a much visited haunt the Hotel Harrington where room instructions now brought back to mind the exploits of Mr Manley (now staff, once student) in former years. We took in all the memorials – Lincoln, Roosevelt, Vietnam, Martin Luther King – before finishing with a sobering visit to the Holocaust Memorial Museum.
A final day of a choice of a variety of museums – Aerospace, Natural History, American History and still time for a visit to yet another Macy’s and then the flight home.
A good time was had by all. In the words of one parent in a letter of thanks “these are memories he will never forget.” My thanks for the pupils for their good humour (and the impromptu Birthday greetings at the Hard Rock Café even if it was not my birthday) and to the staff – Miss Addy, Miss Alman, Miss Brace and Mr Manley for all that they did above and beyond the call of duty.
N. Rothnie, Head of History