During half term, the Humanities team took 39 Year 11 GCSE history students to visit New York and Washington D.C.
On their first day in New York students visited Harlem and took a walking tour, taking in the sites including where Malcolm X delivered one of his speeches, and concluding with the Apollo Theatre, where Louis Armstrong has performed. Next on the tour was Liberty Island and the famous Statue of Liberty. Students then continued the boat journey to Ellis Island, the first port of call for many immigrants when they came to America. The audio tour was excellent and provided students a deeper insight into how immigrants were treated when they arrived into the United States. The day concluded with a performance of Beetlejuice on Broadway, students enjoyed the incredible stage production as well as the catchy songs.
The final full day in New York started with a four hour walking tour of Midtown New York. Our tour guide led students around famous monuments such as the Rockefeller Centre, Trump Tower and Central Park. The tour was informative and allowed students to see far more of the city. Our tour concluded at Grand Central Station and we then made our way to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The self-guided tour was deeply moving, many students were not aware of the true extent of what took place on that infamous day. In the evening students enjoyed an Italian meal and free time to shop in Macy’s before going up the Empire State Building for an incredible view of the city at night.
The following morning we bid farewell to New York and travelled on to Washington D.C. First on the itinerary was a walking tour, highlights included the Lincoln Memorial (students had learnt about this in lessons due to Martin Luther King delivering his ‘I have a dream” speech from this spot in 1963), the Vietnam Memorial, the Martin Luther King Memorial and the Washington Monument. Students then had the opportunity to visit the famous Ben’s Chilli Bowl, a famous restaurant that had survived the 1968 race riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King.
The next day students visited both the Supreme Court and the US Capitol Building. The Supreme Court is a vital part of their GCSE history and has been home to such monumental cases such as Brown Vs. Board Education of Topeka. We received a guided tour around the US Capitol Building giving students a better understanding of the political system in America. During the second half of the day students visited one of the Smithsonian Museums, the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. This amazing museum gave students a thorough insight into the lives of African-Americans from slavery all the way up until modern times. Students were encouraged to focus on the 1920s to 1970s section as this was a valuable opportunity to broaden their understanding of a topic that they cover in their GCSE.
On the final day students visited the White House Visitors Centre. Before heading off to the airport, we had an opportunity to visit Arlington Cemetery, this famous cemetery is home to the grave of John F Kennedy. Students were able to see the eternal flame, a memorial of the late president.
The trip was an incredible experience for students who had an enjoyable time learning about history.