Tuesday was blustery and gray, but one infallible source confirmed that spring had arrived. Mother Duck and her brood made it safely from the courtyard through the front door and down the Hillcrest Road sidewalk on their way to the Little Conestoga River and the wider world beyond.
By Frannie T. ’22
Photos by Eddie P. ’22 and Ms. Formando
The trip started off great. If we understand great as missing our flight and having to spend the night at an airport hotel, then it was great indeed.
Even with a less than ideal start, everything worked out in the end due to the patience and hard work of Miss Formando and Mr. Mylin. After two days of airplanes, airports and lots of waiting around, we finally arrived in Glasgow.
As we exited the bus, we were greeted by our amazing host families who had gotten up at midnight to face the cold and welcome us. Despite the time and temperature, it was great to finally meet the people we had been talking to for so long. After all the introductions were made, everyone was very excited to get out of the cold and get a good night’s sleep.
We spent our first day in Scotland shadowing our hosts at school. The similarities and differences between LCDS and Kelvinside struck us immediately. One of the biggest similarities was the spirit. Everyone was welcoming and excited to meet the newcomers. One of the most obvious differences was the uniforms. All ages wore a very formal outfit of a white button-down collared shirt, a necktie and blazer with the Kelvinside logo. Black pants for the boys and kilts for the girls.
The next day we toured Glasgow with our hosts. Our first stop was the Riverside museum where we saw everything from antique cars and motorcycles to old double-decker buses and a model of an old city street complete with shops and horse-drawn carriages. Afterward we walked through the historic campus of the University of Glasgow and toured the city’s beautiful West End.
The next morning was perhaps the saddest part of the trip. It was the day we had to leave our host families. After many thank yous, hugs, and some tears, we left Glasgow behind and headed off for York.
Everything about York was charming. Even the train ride, along green fields with coastal views, was idyllic. Our first stop was the magnificent York Minster, and the view from atop its tower. (Which managed to be awesome in spite of the decidedly not awesome 275 steps we had to climb to reach it.)
Fountains Abbey was another building that encapsulated the beauty and history of York. The snow that had just settled on the ground that morning gave the grounds a peaceful feel as we walked around the ruins. My favorite part of York, besides wandering the cobblestone streets, was the ghost tour that we took on our last night. It was a fun and scary way to learn some of the obscure history of the city.
The next morning, as we waited for the train that would take us to Edinburgh, we used Mr. Mylin’s new game of “suitcase curling” to help beat the boredom and stay awake. We all fought hard for the coveted title of Suitcase Curling Champion but in the end, Peter R. emerged victorious.
First up on the agenda when we got to Edinburgh was a tour of Edinburgh castle. When we finally arrived after a long hike, we were greeted by a beautiful, sweeping view of the city. The castle itself was an interesting blend of old and new. For instance, you could visit the still-functioning barracks then turn around and see the oldest building in Edinburgh. After the castle we walked down the Royal Mile to the Holyrood Palace, the official home of the British monarch in Scotland.
The best part of the Royal Mile was visiting the Elephant House, where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. For our last meal in Scotland, we opted for traditional Scottish fare, with most of us trying haggis for the first time.
And then it was time to go home. None of us was ready to leave such a fascinating and beautiful country. The time had flown by so quickly that the whole trip seemed like one big, blurry dream. We all would have loved to stay another day, or week, or month. And as the plane climbed into the air and we all waved goodbye, my only thought was, “I can’t wait to go back!”
Middle School grandparents and grandfriends were treated to dance, ensemble and orchestra performances as well as a student-eye view of math, art and all the classes in between. Add in lunch, an early dismissal and the long weekend and it works out to a winning day all around.
This special Spring Break edition of A Week in the Life features the spring musical, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” Middle School vs. Faculty basketball action, preschoolers and their seventh grade buddies getting their Zumba on, and second grade’s Skype chat with astronaut Nick Hague. Hague is Dangeso M’s. uncle and answered student questions from Russia, where he’s training for his mission to the International Space Station in September.
Of Director Kristin Wolanin’s myriad strengths, enthusiasm containment doesn’t rank toward the top.
“We’ve never done anything like this before, where the show is literally different every time, so the people who come to the Thursday night performance can come to the Friday night performance and come away with two unique experiences.
“It’s just such a fun show to do!” Wolanin said.
The curtain rises on the spring musical, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” at 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, with a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday. Tickets are $7 in advance and available here, or $10 at the door.
“Putnam County” tells the story of six Middle Schoolers negotiating the minefield of adolescence and home-life baggage while keeping their eyes on the spelling bee prize. Running the bee are two adults whose shared history doesn’t stay in the past and one who hands out juice boxes to losing spellers in his role as “Official Comfort Counselor.” And, making a brief but meaningful cameo, is Jesus Christ.
“This has been freeing for the cast to go back to their Middle School roots,” said Wolanin. “There’s been a lot of self-discovery, a lot of personal growth and a lot of coming out of shells.”
The pushing themselves that Wolanin described happened both on and off the stage. Senior Clare J.had never sung on stage before. In the booth, Alex A. ’17 and Justin K. ’20 are in charge of sound and lights, respectively, both for the first time.
Like the troupe’s last play, “Almost, Maine,” this show features an ensemble of major characters rather than a protagonist or co-leads. This time around, there are nine principals and they all sing.
The New York Times described the songs as suggesting “a Saturday morning television cartoon set to music by Stephen Sondheim,” a characterization Wolanin agreed with.
“What these songs have in common with Sondheim’s is that from the outside, on first listen, they sound simple, but once you go in and spend some time with them you recognize how difficult they actually are.”
For this show, Heather Woodbridge is reprising her role as music director and Wolanin’s consigliere.
“Working with Heather is just so awesome,” Wolanin said. “There’s a mutual respect there and we balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I’m so grateful to work with her.”
“The show is a glimpse into Middle School life,” Wolanin said. “For how funny it is, it’s also serious and real.”
“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” at 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, with a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday. Tickets are $7 in advance and available here, or $10 at the door. Music and lyrics by William Finn, book by Rachel Sheinkin.