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Park High students reach the States

During half term, a group of 35 A-Level Politics Park High students embarked on a transformative educational journey to New York City and Washington DC.  Thanks to the generous funding provided by the Turing Scheme, this immersive experience was made accessible to all students. 

In New York City students delved into the rich history and political significance of their surroundings. Their itinerary commenced with a ferry ride to Ellis Island, via the Statue of Liberty, where they learnt about immigration to the United States at the turn of the 20th century. Then an emotional and moving visit to the 9/11 Museum and Memorial provided a sobering reminder of the nation's resilience in the face of tragedy. The day concluded with dinner and a breathtaking view of the city lights from atop the Empire State Building.  

Further sights included the iconic headquarters of the United Nations, where they were given an insider's tour of the institution's most significant chambers, including the Assembly General and the Security Council. Immersed in the intricacies of international diplomacy, the students gained a deeper understanding of the UN's vital role in shaping global affairs. The day continued with a visit to the Bronx School of Science, one of the highest performing public schools in America.  Students fostered cross-cultural connections whilst they were given a tour of the school and explored the Holocaust Museum housed in the basement of the school.  

In Washington the students embarked on a comprehensive two-hour walking tour of Washington’s DC's political landmarks, including the National Mall, the Capitol Building, the White House, and the iconic Lincoln and Washington memorials. Engaging themselves in the rich tapestry of American history, students explored the Smithsonian Museums, delving into pivotal chapters such as the Holocaust and African-American heritage which are both situated on the National Mall. The timing of their visit coincided with the excitement of the Superbowl and many students stayed up late to watch the game, offering a glimpse into American culture beyond the political sphere.  

At a visit to a partner school, Theodor Roosevelt High School, students gained insights into the inner workings of the House of Representatives and the Senate.  A highlight of their time in Roosevelt was witnessing a thrilling varsity basketball game before a further visit to Arlington National Cemetery which provided a moment of reflection as they paid their respects at the gravesite of President John F. Kennedy.   

Overall the A-Level Politics trip to New York and Washington DC was a great success it was a transformative educational experience that provided students with a firsthand immersion into the heart of American politics and culture. As well as a newfound passion for political engagement and a deeper understanding of the world around them.    

One student reflected: “I really enjoyed going up the Empire State Building and we visited some excellent museums, the Holocaust Museum in DC was extremely well put together. I think what I enjoyed the most was the opportunity to experience the different types of American schools, talking to the students and observing their lessons. I enjoyed learning about the Smithsonians, and I will try to keep in touch with the people I made friends with”. 

Louise Cramp who led the trip said: “It was an honour to take our students on such a formative trip.  We were delighted to visit two very different host schools as well as the opportunity to see some of the iconic sights of New York and Washington”. 

Colette O’Dwyer, Headteacher, said: “We all know that trips such as these create life-long memories.  We are thrilled to give our students experiences such as this as part of our rich programme of trips and visits”.