The Academy travels to Boston and New England
English & History Trip October 2023
Day 1: Team Boston assemble
At the very early time of 6.30am, Team Boston assembled in the grounds of Banbridge Academy to begin their journey to the East Coast of America. Filled with excitement and the hope of achieving the American Dream, 34 pupils and 5 staff checked in for Aer Lingus flight EI330 at Terminal 2, Dublin Airport. After security check-in and US preclearance, Team Boston boarded their flight at midday for their 6.5-hour flight to the East Coast. As if my magic (and nothing to do with the time difference), the group arrived in a very sunny Boston (26°C) early afternoon and transferred to their first hotel courtesy of Alfredo, the bus driver. Following their safe arrival at Springfield, Massachusetts, the first stop for Team Boston was a culturally enriching trip to Walmart.
After a very long day, Team Boston assembled for bed ahead of a very busy second day.
Day 2: “This nation asks for action, and action now.” FDR, 4 March 1933
A day of action as Team Boston started their day Hyde Park, home of the FDR Presidential Library and Museum. Students were challenged as they learned about an individual who led the USA through the Great Depression and World War 2, overcoming two of the greatest crises to ever hit the nation. The New Deal was the topic of the day, as were the cosy fireside chats of one of the world’s greatest ever individuals. Following a (very!) brief pitstop for lunch at one of New York State’s finest eating establishments, Team Boston travelled across the East Coast to Amherst to visit the Emily Dickinson Museum.
Emily Dickinson was a remarkable individual, who in contrast to President Roosevelt, was little-known during her lifetime. The museum experience highlighted how Emily came to be regarded as one of the most important figures in American poetry following her birth into a prominent Amherst family.
After a long day of learning that, complemented the A Level courses in both History and English, the students and staff travelled for dinner in Springfield before an early night.
Day 3: “The candles burned out long before, the legends ever did.”
As Day 3 descended stateside, Team Boston checked out of hotel number 1 as they made their way back towards Boston. The words of Elton John come to mind as stop 1 approached – “your candle burned out long before, your legend ever did.” After learning about 2 legends on Day 2, the first stop was a trip to the Yankee Candle Flagship store, which included a room where it is Christmas all year around! After shedding a few pounds (dollars!) walking around the huge flagship store, it was time to meet Alfredo again, to continue their USA adventures.
As Team Boston’s journey around New England continued, the final educational stop of the day was in Concord to visit the Old Manse and view the scene of the “shot heard around the world”, a place of huge historical and literacy significance. The onward transfer to Tewksbury at the edge of Boston, brought the pleasure of food and the comfort of hotel number 2. The group checked in, enjoyed a Miss McConkey Quiz, and made it to bed, after another busy but enjoyable day.
Day 4: From Harvard to a Harvard graduate to a Harvard founder all in one day
The day began with a college tour, visiting several significant sites around Harvard University. The next visit of the day was to the JFK Presidential Library and Museum to look at the life and legacy of one of America’s most remarkable individuals. It was clear that the life of the great communicator offered much learning to History and English students alike, reminding us of the need to pass the torch ‘to a new generation’.
The afternoon brought the Freedom Trail walking tour which offered an insight to the birth of modern America and was concluded with a shopping and food trip around Quincy Market. Team Boston even had time to squeeze in a meal at the iconic Cheers restaurant and some recap on the learning through a Miss McConkey Quiz.
Day 5: From trails to trials
The final full day of the trip brought us to Salem, the home of Halloween. The day started with a visit to the Salem Witch Museum and a walk around the town. The last dollars were spent at the outlet mall and the group said a fond farewell to bus driver Alfredo at Boston Logan Airport. All 39 staff and pupils checked in for the overnight flight home. Despite a detour around Storm Ciarán in the Atlantic, the group arrived back in Banbridge before 8.00am, tired but enlightened, after an exhilarating few days stateside.
Boston 2023 – what a great trip and an incredible learning experience. Is it too soon to think about Boston 2025!