14 - 20 February 2019
At 2.15am on Thursday 14 February, nineteen Year 13 students met to travel to Heathrow Airport to start our American adventure. In the week that followed, the group visited two cities and walked over 60 miles.
We arrived in Washington, DC on 15 February and hit the ground running. After checking into our hotel, we went on a walk past the Capitol building and down the mall to the National Museum of African American History & Culture, which we all found particularly thought-provoking and very relevant to one of the modules studied. The next morning, we were met by our wonderful guide Dottie, who guided us to the main sights of DC. She first took us to the National Archives building where we had a real ‘wow’ moment, seeing the three big documents of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We then went on to the impressive Washington Monument, the World War 2 memorial, the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, the Memorial to the War in Korea and the amazing Lincoln Memorial. At the Lincoln Memorial, the Handmaid’s Tale was being filmed and so was an extra special moment for some of us. After lunch we visited the Jefferson Memorial, the Franklin D Roosevelt Memorial and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. After a long day we headed off for dinner at Ben’s Chili Bowl, a warm and inviting DC institution in which Barak Obama, amongst others, has eaten dinner.
Saturday morning was all about the government side of DC. We toured the Capitol, taking in the amazing architecture and statues lining the halls of the building. From the Capitol we walked through to the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library with 29 million books, stopping to look at the beautiful entrance hall and reading room. In the afternoon we then headed to the National Museum of American History. The collection contains more than three million historical artefacts, including the lunch counter from the 1960 Greensboro sit-ins, the radio used by FDR and a collection of dresses from each First Lady. That night we enjoyed dinner at the Hard Rock Café.
On the morning of Sunday 17 February, we departed Washington, DC for New York City. The coach journey gave us time to have a little rest before we checked into our hotel and then headed off to skate in Central Park. Our first evening in New York finished with us going up the Empire State Building and seeing the spectacular skyline of the city after dark; a remarkable moment on our trip.
The next day we headed off to the Natural History Museum where we were pleased to find amongst other fascination exhibits, the Dum Dum statue from the film Night in the Museum. We then went on to The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum where we experienced the legendary aircraft carrier Intrepid, the space shuttle Enterprise, the world’s fastest jets and a guided missile submarine. A fascinating afternoon for all of us. A well-deserved dinner at Planet Hollywood and a little shopping in Time Square was enjoyed by all.
On Tuesday, we navigated the New York Subway to travel to Battery Park, from where we caught the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. Seeing the statue close up was an amazing sight and the view of the Manhattan skyline from the ferry was equally spectacular. From Liberty Island we then travelled to Ellis Island, where between 1892 and 1924 over 12 million immigrants passed through America’s most famous gateway. Visiting the atmospheric Registration Room, where immigrants lined up to have their documents checked, was a particular highlight. Returning to the city from Ellis Island, we visited the 9/11 memorial site, pausing to visit the two massive reflecting pools. We then went to the 9/11 museum which was a very sobering experience for many. Our final evening was spent at Ellen’s Stardust diner where we enjoyed a Broadway experience by having singing waitstaff.
Our final day saw us visit the impressive Rocker Fellow Centre and ascend 70 floors into the sky and take in the sweeping 360- degree city views from three different indoor and outdoor viewing decks. After some last-minute shopping we departed New York City and started the journey home to Braintree.
Thank you to all students who came on the trip for a memorable week away - we hope that the trip brought alive for you many of the places and events we have read about in class and hope that you have made memories that will last with you for a lifetime. Many thanks to Miss Wilcox and Miss Short for accompanying the students and for helping to make this trip possible. Finally, thanks to Mrs Bennett and Mrs Wager who helped with the planning and organisation of the trip.
Mrs L Fouche
Head of Faculty - Humanities