Teens moved by visit

US travel has pro­found ef­fect

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By SUE FEA

Five months of fran­tic fundrais­ing was all over in a whirl­wind week after 18 ex­cited, but ex­hausted Mount As­pir­ing Col­lege stu­dents re­turned from New York last week.

The Year 12 and 13 stu­dents spent a week of their school hol­i­days ex­pe­ri­enc­ing New York and Wash­ing­ton DC with their am­bi­tious English teacher Gena Bagley. The school’s mu­sic teacher Mat Doyle, nick­named ‘Da Boss’ by the stu­dents on tour, went along as chap­er­one.

Many sausages were sold and toi­lets cleaned in Wanaka to fund the more than $100,000 needed for the trip. Stu­dents worked at War­birds Over Wanaka and the cof­fers were also boosted by a New York-styled fundrais­ing party at Ur­ban Grind.

‘‘We or­gan­ised it all within a very am­bi­tious time­frame of five months and there was a lot of stress,’’ Ms Bagley, head of the school’s English depart­ment, said.

‘‘I wanted them to look at ideas to un­der­pin the lit­er­a­ture they learn about and to get a holis­tic view of the world.’’

There was no as­sign­ment due upon their re­turn to school this term but Ms Bagley was con­fi­dent that what her stu­dents had learned would re­main with them for life.

Awalk­ing tour of Har­lem was among the most popular high­lights for the stu­dents, as was a Broad­way show and the Holo­caust Mu­seum in Wash­ing­ton, which Ms Bal­gey said was ‘‘pretty pow­er­ful’’.

‘‘Har­lem didn’t live up to the stereo­type,’’ said Year 13 stu­dent Kasper Humphrey. ‘‘We were all ex­pect­ing it to be more dodgy, but the peo­ple there were more friendly and easy go­ing than in Man­hat­tan where they were all busy and angry.’’

Stand­ing on the steps at the Abra­ham Lin­coln Memo­rial, in the ex­act spot where Martin Luther King gave his ‘‘I Have A Dream’’ speech, was mov­ing for the whole group.

‘‘I feel more pre­pared for life next year now,’’ Kasper said.

Photo: SUE FEA

Fresh from New York: Mount As­pir­ing Col­lege Year 12 and 13 stu­dents and their teach­ers land at Queen­stown Air­port last week. From left rear; Ella Glynn, Aoife Baker, Nathan Mil­burn, Con­nor Moore, teach­ers Gena Bagley and Mat Doyle. Cen­tre from left; Brynee Wilson, Poppy Jef­feries, John Steven, Caitlin Lums­den, Harry Wa­ters, Sam Ha­dida. Front row from left; Alex John­ston, Ge­or­gia McNeill, Em­maJay and cen­tre front, Kasper Humphrey. (Ab­sent: Joseph Well­wood and Lucy McCre­anor-Knowles, landed else­where in NZ).

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