All posts by tcopestake

Exit stage right

After a trip round to the other side of the world, it felt rather odd today to leave New York and visit international territory and the United Nations. Miss Mitchell was beyond excited to see the general assembly room as well as some of the smaller meeting rooms. We were able to see the staff at work and the students asked intelligent, articulate and pertinent questions. 

For lunch, we ventured to Grand Central Station, where many of the students were excited to take photos of locations from some show called Gossip Girl. Mr Copestake has no idea what that is but he’s been told it’s ‘brilliant’. Though that’s doubtful. 

Following a refuelling, we were able to spend some time on 5th Avenue, shopping. Much money was spent – more in Sephora. As well as H and M, Topshop and Guess. It’s remarkable that you take students to another country and they still spend money in shops they have in Manchester! 

Our afternoon ended with a pleasant walk through Central Park, seeing the Bethesda Fountain and Strawberry Fields. 

After a short rest at the hotel and a quick dinner of Mexican food, we were straight on to the theatre to see ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’. There was much laughter and enjoyment – a wonderful experience in the theatre again. 

Our evening has ended at the Empire State Building. We were able to see the city lit up and night and have 360 degree panoramic views of New York. This has been a fabulous trip, and although it’s not quite over yet, this was a great way to start bringing our adventure to a close. 

Liberty, Freedom and the Pursuit of Shopping

After a hearty breakfast of bagels, croissant, muffins and coffee, we made our way to the very south of Manhattan Island to board the boat to take us to Liberty and Ellis Island. 

Although the weather seemed against us, the students coped admirably with the choppy waters and the regular spray on their face. The views of the Statue of Liberty however were astonishing – plenty of selfie opportunities. Even if Mr Copestake and Miss Devlin managed to get absolutely drenched by the rough waters of the Atlantic. 

From Liberty Island, we made our way to Ellis Island to visit the Immigration Museum. This was an interesting and informative visit for all. Alas, upon leaving the museum the weather had turned and we headed back to Manhattan under grey clouds and pouring rain. Still, enthusiasm was manintained with the prospect of lunch. A visit to the Oculous provid d a range of eating and shopping options, with everything from incredibly healthy salads, to pizza. 

After lunch, we had time in the 9/11 museum and the memorial grounds. And from there we went on to visit the New York Stock Exchange, right in the heart of Wall Street. 

After a quick stop at the hotel to freshen up, we made our way to Times Square for some shopping time, and dinner at Hard Rock Cafe. It’s been another long day and we’ve still got loads more to do tomorrow. The weather promises to be brighter and sunnier. So here’s hoping Miss Mitchell gets to enjoy the UN Building in the sun. She’s incredibly excited! 

Washington, Philadelphia, New York… and Vietnam

Unfortunately we were faced with an early start this morning, but after a final delicious breakfast at the hotel, we boarded the coach to head to NYC. 

Two and a half hours later, we arrived in Philadelphia. As Jefferson, Washington, Adams et al once wrote, ‘we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal’. But as Lin Manuel Miranda (and our students would add) ‘but when I meet Thomas Jefferson I’m a compel him to include women in the sequel’. And so we were able to witness the place where the founding fathers put their name to the Declaration of Independence and began the fight to form America in 1776. 

Miss Dodd clearly exerted herself too much, as she then took the opportunity to have a nap on the coach journey to New York. Mr Copestake did take a photo, but even he isn’t mean enough to post that here. Yet. 

The thrill of seeing the Manhattan skyline beckoned and we were able to make our way through the island to the hotel. After a short rest period to freshen up and change, we left the hotel to do Mr Copestake’s favourite thing – take the subway to Brooklyn and walk back into Manhattan for the first time, across the Brooklyn Bridge. 

After a long walk, it was time to head to Times Square for dinner. A delicious Italian meal filled our stomachs before we headed back into the chaos of Times Square to see Miss Saigon at the Broadway Theatre. 

The students were dragged through all emotions as they were able to witness the passionate love story of Chris and Kim, set against the backdrop of the Vietnam war. Some students might have been on a school trip to Vietnam this week, but we’ve made it to America and Vietnam. 

The way back to the hotel provided one more photo opportunity as Mr Copestake’s y13 lit students found adverts for The Handmaid’s Tale (their current text). 

We’ve just made it back to the hotel and preparing for a full day of site seeing tomorrow. The weather does indicate rain…  but we’re British. And Mancunian. And we know how to deal with a bit of rain. So bring it on! 

Knowing me, Knowing Huw

We’re going to take a brief respite from the activity blog to publish a short piece on a beloved member of staff. Mr Dickson has, on this trip, revealed his love for ABBA. And it’s a very special love – so much so that he watched Mamma Mia twice (in a row) on the plane. 

Even better, Mr Dickson has announced that he’s  taking a break from his career as an Oscar nominated actor, to release a cover album of Abba’s greatest hits and we can reveal the track listing here…

  1.  Mamma Mia (Huw we go again)
  2. Knowing Me, Knowing Huw
  3. Huwey Huwey (How Huw loves me)
  4. Chiquitita (Huw and I know)
  5. Super Huwper
  6. WaterHuw
  7. Voulez-Huw
  8. Does Huw’s Mother Know
  9. Thank Huw for the Music
  10. Take a chance on Huw
  11. Dancing Queen (Huw can dance)

There will be a limited number on release but I’m sure Mr Dickson will be happy to do signings in school. 

Super Sunday

It’s been another long and busy day, but so enjoyable and interesting for all. The students once again took advantage of the incredible breakfast buffet – everything from fresh fruit and yoghurt, to pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, French toast and some random bits of asparagus (Mr Dickson. We think he was trying to be healthy and justify the other items on his plate). 

We then headed straight out to Arlington Cemetery. This was a reflective and moving experience and allowed us to see the many hundreds of thousands of military service people who have been buried there. 

We were able to witness the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and a rare opportunity to see the laying of a wreath. 

We took a walk to the top of the cemetery to see the tomb of Pierre L’Enfant, the architect of Washington, as well as the resting places of JFK and his wife, Jackie. 

From here, we managed to pull off a small surprise by taking the group to their first mall. There was much excitement, not just from the prospect of super sizing a McDonalds, but at the opportunity to spend some money in the shops. I think Sephora managed to do a roaring trade in make up – and that was just Mr Copestake! 

After the brief respite, we headed to the Newseum where we were able to see the largest piece of the Berlin Wall still in existence, a guard tower from East Berlin, unseen photos of the Kennedys, and get a spectacular view of the Capitol Building. 

A few students even had a go at presenting their own news broadcast. 

A quick walk afterwards took us to the Museum of American History to see some of the incredible pop culture items and clothing from America’s rich culture. An early evening walk then took us to the Jefferson Memorial – another reminder of the great work of one of the founding fathers. And an opportunity for Mr Copestake to start singing songs from Hamilton! 

Dinner was an odd experience, as we were in a British themed pub. The students were adamant that it wasn’t at all accurate, but Miss Devlin soon ran a detailed commentary on just how authentic it was. 

Upon returning to the hotel, the students need to get an early night in preparation for the journey to New York tomorrow. And so we bid you adieu. And tomorrow we shall say our farewells to Washington DC. 

Day one – Washington 

What an incredible day – after a buffet breakfast to prepare us for the long day ahead, we quickly made our way on the underground to the Capitol Building. 

To see the centre of American democracy up close was a powerful experience for all – with plenty of opportunities for selfies. 

We were given a tour of the inside, and after travelling half way round the world, we ended up with a tour guide from York. We were able to see the centre of the dome, including the very spot where presidents are laid in state.  

From here we made our way to the Library of Congress – the largest library in the world. 

From there we visited the Shakespeare Library, which houses the largest collection of Shakespeare texts in the world, including first and second edition folios of many of his works. Miss Devlin and Mr Copestake were suitably excited. So much that they took the opportunity to recite some Othello and get a picture with the Bard himself. 

Our next journey took us down the Mall where we were able to get excellent views of the Washington Monument as well as find time to have lunch and enjoy the sun. It’s been a baking hot day; rather unexpected but very much appreciated. 
After lunch we made our way to see the White House. Rather disappointly however, we were told that we wouldn’t be able to get to see the building as the roads around it were closed. However…

… it turns out that the White House gardens are open two days a year for visitors. And after finding a very helpful guide, we got passes to go directly in. 

This was a phenomenal opportunity, to see the White House up close, as well as stand next to the Rose Garden and see straight into the Oval Office. 

Our final stop of the day was the incredible Lincoln Memorial. Being able to see the whole two mile stretch of the Mall, as well as the very spot where Martin Luther King Jr delivered his famous speech, was an incredibly moving experience. 

The day has finished with dinner and time in the pool – in fact y13 seem to be having a ball, whilst the staff sit in silence at the time. It’s been exhausting, exhilerating and emotional. But it’s been a wonderful day. 

Just a few hours to go

Make sure you get plenty of rest and sleep tonight – though you might, like Mr Copestake, be planning to sleep for nine hours on the plane!

Staff will be at Terminal 1 from approx 7am. Please arrive by 7.30 at the very latest. 

See you all tomorrow!