Student Voices

2015-17 Archive

US Girls Soccer — Leaptastic

‘For the Dead and the Living, We Must Bear Witness’

By David W. ’19

Last Friday, September 15, the juniors embarked on a field trip to Washington, D.C. After a visit to the Smithsonian Museum of American History and a short lunch on the National Mall, we arrived at one of the most important memorials in the country.

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The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is dedicated to the millions of Jews, Soviet civilians and prisoners of war, Serb civilians, people with disabilities, Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Nazi political opponents, and LGBTQ peoples who were systematically murdered from 1933-1945 in Nazi Germany and elsewhere. It is a museum created so that we never forget the six million Jews killed by a regime which sought to eradicate the Jewish people entirely.

It is also a sobering reminder that genocide is not a thing of the past; it continues right now, in countries like Syria, Sudan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, the Central African Republic and Myanmar.

After walking through the cold, dark hallways of the museum, you find yourself in the Hall of Remembrance. Sunlight streams through long, skinny slits of glass. It is inexplicably warm and bright; the walls seems to glow with a yellow hue. Far removed from recordings of Nazi propaganda, the room is quiet and solitary. The sound of your own breathing echoes up to the high ceiling and cascades back down a million times over, creating what sounds like myriad tiny whispers. A pleasant smell wafts through the air, emanating from candles which adorn the walls. On the far side of the room, resting on a block of granite, burns a small flame. Above it, an inscription reads:

“Only guard yourself and guard your soul carefully, lest you forget the things your eyes saw, and lest these things depart your heart all the days of your life. And you shall make them known to your children, and to your children’s children.”

Spending Summer in the South African Winter

By Lauren M. ’18
Photos and video by Hayden F. ’20

On July 18 this past summer, three students and two teachers met before dawn at Lancaster Country Day to begin a 21-hour journey to Cape Town, South Africa. Every year, LCDS sends three students to study at the Herschel School for Girls and Bishops College for boys for a month-long exchange.

We would be staying with host families, but before we met them, we spent four days taking in Cape Town. We rode a cable car to the top of the magnificent Table Mountain, which overlooks the city, petted cheetahs, and explored Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for almost two decades.

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After these packed days, we met our host families. The students we stayed with will later come to stay with us and study at Country Day for eight weeks. For me, this was the best part about the trip because I was able to take in much more of the culture and experience more things authentically South African than I otherwise could have.

For the next four weeks of our time in Cape Town, my fellow students and I attended classes either at Bishops or Herschel, as well as participating in many activities with other exchange students and our host families. With my host family, I was able to attend a rugby match, go on a boat ride to observe wild flamingos, and visit the University of Cape Town.

The last week of the exchange we went on a tour of the Garden Route with all of the exchange students from places such as India, Spain and the U.K. that were currently attending Bishops or Herschel as well. The tour included a visit to an ostrich farm where the challenge was feeding the giant birds without getting bitten by one (not all of us succeeded at that).

The next day, we visited the Cango Wildlife Cheetah Ranch where we were able to observe various large cats as well as animals such as meerkats, alligators and pygmy hippos. The following day, we went ziplining in the morning and as if that weren’t enough of an adrenaline rush, students were given the option to go bungy jumping off of the Bloukrans Bridge, the highest commercial bungee jump bridge in the world. Finally, we visited an elephant sanctuary where we were able to walk around with and feed the elephants while learning about conservation.

The week — and the exchange as a whole — was full of friendship-making, adventures and experiences that I would have been unable to have anywhere else. Leaving was bittersweet because although we had to say goodbye to all the friends we had made and our host families, we knew we’d be able to see our host siblings again soon when they attend LCDS later this in the fall.

Giving Everything for ‘Anything Goes’

By David W. ’19
Photos by David W., Sam D. ’18 and Mrs. Wilcox.

David W. ’19 presents a behind-the-scenes look at the making of “Anything Goes,” premiering tonight at 7 p.m.

Last November, a few sheets of paper went up on the wall outside of the theater. These sheets had instructions for students and time slots that students could fill in. Within a few days, every single audition slot had been taken and somewhere in that catalog of names lay the future cast list for the winter musical, “Anything Goes.”

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It all starts with auditions. Students bravely stand in front of director Kristin Wolanin and music director Heather Woodbridge to sing a song from the script.

Some of the students have performed their entire lives; others are making their first foray into drama. Auditions can take days as the directors listen to and evaluate each student, trying to find the role that’s the best fit.

After the musical auditions come dance auditions, and another round of playing matchmaker between student and role for Wolanin.

Then the final paper goes up: the cast and crew list, detailing which role each student will perform. Once students confirm their participation, rehearsals officially kick off.

In these early sessions, students learn their music and blocking. As time progresses, rehearsals become more complex and intense. Wolanin and Woodbridge have three months to bring everything together. Three months, however, sounds longer than it is.

Blocking — when the actors learn their movements on stage — can take more than a month. At the same time, actors need to learn their choreography and their musical numbers. It’s a long, arduous process that requires dedication and commitment.

Once the show is blocked and the actors know their music, there’s usually only a few weeks until the show opens. This is when the real rehearsing begins. Students run musical numbers, find and fix problems, and drill lines over and over.

There’s a reason the rehearsals are so intense, Wolanin said. “We don’t do high school theater. We do professional theater.”

Throughout all of this, the crew meets once a week to go over what needs to be done. They’re responsible for planning costumes, designing sets, sound and lighting, props, publicity — even how many tickets will be available.

They work tirelessly behind the scenes while the actors work tirelessly on stage. “This is a huge process,” said Eric N. ’17, a longtime crew hand. “There’s so much to be done. The crew is more or less responsible for ensuring the show can actually happen.”

Everything comes together in tech week. Rehearsals can last up to eight hours as the crew and the cast work together to finalize the show. The lights, sound, props, and costumes are added. The finishing touches are placed as the show is rehearsed as many times as possible before opening night.

Everything has to come together in these rehearsals, and it’s a big sacrifice for all of the students: Some won’t get home until 10 p.m.

And then, finally, months of work culminate with four shows in the Steinman Theatre for LCDS and the wider community.

So come and enjoy the show, but don’t expect high school theater. They’re all pros.

MUN 2017: Taking The Hague and Beyond

By Madison B. ’17
Photos by Mrs. Woodbridge

Eighteen students. Four months. Dozens of sleepless nights. Countless pages of research. All for one international conference: The Hague International Model United Nations.

The globetrotting journey of the Model United Nations class began long before the conference — approximately a year before, in fact, when we were given the chance to audition for a spot in the highly competitive class. From the beginning, we knew what awaited us: a once-in-a-lifetime trip to combine our collective diplomatic expertise with that of thousands of international students on the world stage. But in the hours before our departure, the trip began to take on a new life as not merely a conference, but a transformative experience for everyone involved.


The time away was only 10 days, but it felt like an entire semester abroad — and not just because of jet lag. Before the conference proper, we had time to explore our new surroundings, time which we used to the fullest.

Our first day was spent in the Hague, our base of operations. We walked along the shore of the North Sea, marveling at how the frigid waters could serve as a local hotspot in the summer. For dinner we sampled Cantonese food, including fried chicken feet (which I would not recommend due to overwhelming bitterness and an awful aftertaste).

The next day, MUN 2017 took Amsterdam, where we saw art by Van Gogh and the Dutch masters, ate delicious stroopwafel (which, for the uninitiated, is a sort of sandwich made of two thin waffles and caramel spread), and took a dinner cruise through Amsterdam’s labyrinth of canals.

However, the highlight of Amsterdam for many of the MUN students was the Anne Frank house, where we took a somber tour through the secret annex where Anne Frank and seven other Dutch Jews hid from the Nazis.

For our last free day, we traveled to Bruges, Belgium, where we were able to purchase some legendary Belgian chocolate and relax before the conference began.

Now well-rested and adjusted to the new atmosphere, the students were plunged right into lobbying on the first day of the conference. Shaking off our days of vacation, we got right to work drafting resolutions, writing speeches, and gathering support for our platforms, just like we’d learned in class.

Many of us were head or co-submitters on resolutions. When debate started on the second day, we went toe-to-toe with other students to defend our positions and oppose measures that our delegations didn’t agree with.

Any of us could tell you how simultaneously terrifying and thrilling it was to approach the microphone, notes in hand, ready to fight for our resolution. To even pose a simple question required extensive planning, to make sure that the point of information would have the desired effect.

It was the ultimate exercise of “think before you speak,” made even more pressing by the fact that hundreds of other intelligent students were listening intently to you. Our public speaking skills quickly improved, as well as our ability to communicate swiftly and effectively with others.

And at the end, many of us were rewarded with our resolutions passing. If not, we learned what to do differently next time.

Overall, the trip was not only fun, but an extremely valuable learning experience. But the most important thing, in my opinion, were the strong bonds that the class formed with one another as we explored and argued together.

The Trials and Travails of Science Fair

By David W. ’19

Every summer, rising seventh and eighth graders are given one deceptively simple assignment: Come up with five ideas. In the months that follow, students will expand one of those ideas into a massive, multi-month project that culminates in a single trifold poster board.

Science fair is an impressive undertaking. It starts with an endless array of forms, rapid brainstorming, and constant refinement as students try to plan out their next few months. After the North Museum approves their project, the experimentation process officially starts.


Students design their experiments from the ground up. They perform initial research, form hypotheses and conduct experiments. After what can become weeks of testing, they meticulously comb through all of their data to form a conclusion.

And finally, on a Monday in January, all of the students bring in their poster boards which are then graded and judged by numerous faculty members. The winners move on to compete in the North Museum Science and Engineering Fair.

On Thursday, the students were able to present their accomplishments to members of the LCDS community in the Buckwalter Gymnasium during Family Science Night. Cougar News spoke to several students to learn more about their work.

Amelia L. ’21 tested different natural substances on termites to determine how well they compete with pesticides currently in use. “My parents both grew up on a farm,” Amelia said. “My mother said that they often used chemicals on their crops to eliminate pests such as termites, and I wondered if there were any alternatives that were more environmentally friendly.” Over the course of seven days, Amelia tested the effect of different substances on termites. “I know a few people who have actually had their homes destroyed by termites — they can be a big problem. But we have to be conscious of the chemicals we’re using,” she said, as humans consume the plants that farmers spray pesticides on. “Hopefully one day we’ll be able to find an alternative to pesticide chemicals.”

Lucas N. ’21 tested the effectiveness of different shapes of seawalls. “About every 1-2 years, a tsunami occurs. And one of the first defenses a city has is a seawall,” Lucas said. A seawall is a giant concrete structure designed to blunt the force of a tidal wave and give the population of a city more time to evacuate. Lucas discovered that a concave-shaped seawall does the best job of minimizing damage to the city and redirecting the force of the wave back out to sea. His setup included a cross-section of a mock beach (including sand, gravel, and a seawall constructed of clay) and water which would be displaced to form a wave. “These walls can be life-saving, so it’s crucial to find the most effective design,” Lucas said.

Isadora M. ’22 conducted an experiment to discover how best to deter mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus. “During the research phase, I discovered that female mosquitoes are actually attracted to fragrances that humans emit, and not the blood itself,” she said. According to Isa, mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide; mosquito repellent masks this fragrance. In her setup, mosquitoes and a fragrance were placed on either side of a black line. If mosquitoes crossed the black line, she concluded that they were attracted to the fragrance. If not, they were repelled by it. “There are so many variables to take into consideration when doing a project like this. For example, I only had one breed of mosquito, and it was pretty hard to keep them alive,” Isa said. At the time of the interview, Isa had yet to complete her experiments, but she did comment on the process: “This all came out of a conversation I had with my cousin about Zika. But the design, the experiment, everything was mine. It feels really good to step back and look at your work.”

Other students included Michael C. ’22, who attempted to discover at which speed an e-bike operated most efficiently; Grant G. ’22, who experimented on a self-built hydraulic, prosthetic arm to determine which fluids could lift the most weight; Zoe B. ’22 who tested different mulches to find out which most effectively prevented erosion; and Anjali L. ’22, who designed a water-free eco-friendly toilet, capable of incinerating human feces. She used compressed air to guide artificial feces to an incineration chamber, and said that the design could be used “in countries with little water or sewage infrastructure.” She plans on continuing this project, hoping to design a working model of the eco-friendly toilet.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of science fair is the ability of the students to step into something completely new and create a project from scratch. Each student creates their own experiment out of nothing, putting vast amounts of time and effort into the process. For now, these scientists get a well-deserved break. But soon, summer will be back — and a flurry of new scientists will be hard at work seeing projects take shape.

2016-2017 Seventh Grade Science Fair Projects Selected for the NMSEF

1st) Alexa A. — Different Fillers for Heating Pads
2nd) Liz P. — Microplastics Identified in Local Streams (microplastics are small particles of plastic that find their way into waterways. They come from consumer and beauty products that we wash down our drains)
3rd) Grant G. — Different Hydraulic Liquids Used in a Prosthetic Grip

Honorable Mentions:

Christopher H. — Different Types of Livestock “Poop” on Plant Growth
Ben A. — Magnetism and Humidity
Zoe B. — Mulch and Erosion
Michael C. — E-bike motors
Anjali I. —Poop on Incineration Rate
Isa M. — Mosquito Attraction to Different Fragrances
Laurel M. — Acrylic Versus Water
Mimi N. — Temperature on Lacrosse Ball Bounce Height
Eddie P. — Saltwater Concentration on Evaporation Rate
Florence S. — Varying Scoop Shape on Pick-up Success of a Robotic Arm
Andrew S. — Different Colored Lights on Plant Growth
George W. — Cyanobacterial Fertilizer on Germination
Skyler W. — Different Colored Roofs on Heating Effectiveness

2016-2017 Eighth Grade Science Fair Projects Selected for the NMSEF

1st) Arielle B. — Shade Balls: Save Water for less than 0.1 cent per Liter
2nd) Kent P. — The Quest for the Hully Grail
3rd) Isabella G. — Top KNOTch

Honorable Mentions:

Sarvesh A. — Light in the Night
Madeline B. — Toxic Sunscreen
Taylor C. — Turn It Up
Thomas C. — Breaking Bad
Luke F. — The Effect of Root Type on Erosion
Cassidy G. — Don’t Get Burned
Annika K. — Rough Air Ahead
Charles L. — Hydrogen and Oxygen: The Fuel of the Future!
Amelia L. — Terminating Termites
Amelia W. — Sunny Side Up
Linnea W. — Nanosilver Nuisance
Cameron Y. — Wheels of Change

Diversity of Growth

By Madison B. ’17 

If you were to ask the six students and two faculty members who went to Atlanta this winter about their experience, they would all say the same thing: “There is no place like SDLC.”

None of us knew what we were walking into when we embarked on this personal and educational journey. We had only our expectations, and even those did not accurately prepare us for what we would experience on our intense, action-filled, inspiring trip. 

SDLC, the Student Diversity Leadership Conference, is the student-focused program of the People of Color Conference (POCC). Several students and teachers have attended SDLC in the past, but for Kiara F. ’18, as well as seniors Alesha A., Aarica F., Lenaiya F., Isaac S. and myself, it was our first time. We plunged headfirst into the programming with a standard welcome from the conference coordinators and keynote speech from Bryan Stevenson, a prominent social justice activist and lawyer. He shared stories of inmates on death row, and how compassion and commitment could change the lives of the disadvantaged as well as our own lives. 

Surely this was it, I thought. The conference would be a collection of eloquent speeches from acclaimed activists, lessons given through presentations. I was ready to listen to lectures, to take notes, to be seated in large, somewhat impersonal audiences. What came next, however, was more eye-opening than I could’ve imagined. 

The teachers were dismissed to their workshops, leaving about 600 kids in the convention hall. It was then that SDLC organizer Rodney Glasgow took the stage, and then that I learned SDLC would be a truly unique experience.

“We’re going to open up the mic,” he said in a soft, steady voice. “If you have something that you’d like to say, some feelings that you want to express, come on up.” 

Then, I realized, that SDLC is entirely what the students make of it. And here we were, surrounded by other students who were passionate, motivated, and ready to work to envision a more just and equal future for everyone. The excitement started to build in the room, filling up the convention center. How could we not make something amazing of it?

I became even more certain of this as we did something called “the Silent Movement,” where every kid had the chance to identify themselves how they wanted simply by standing up when they felt like a statement described them. If you’ve never heard of a room of excited high school students remaining completely silent out of love and respect for their peers, that’s what the Silent Movement is.

Our school group was separated. Each of us would be whisked away on separate tracks, becoming totally immersed in a friendly environment surrounded by like-minded people. But we weren’t afraid or nervous. Everywhere we turned, we made new friends.

We were introduced to our family groups, the essential unit of SDLC. Each named after a famous activist, the family groups were where all of the discussions and learning took place. We did a variety of activities tackling the eight Core Cultural Identifiers: age, gender, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, family structure, religion, and ability. These categories are the universal qualities that we use to define ourselves in society, no matter where in the world you are.

The wide differences that exist in each identifier make up what we call “diversity.” Over a mere two days, the family groups became inseparable as we shared our experiences in each of the categories. The family groups truly became like family.

In addition to family groups, SDLC is unique because it organizes affinity groups: groups of people who identify like you. At SDLC, the affinity groups were all of the different races of the world, as well as one group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and other queer students.

For many of us, the affinity groups were the best part of SDLC: To be surrounded by people like you, who experience the same struggles and celebrate the same heritage as you, is to truly find a home.

On other occasions, the entire student population was gathered together to hear talks from diversity advocates like Zak Ebrahim and André Robert Lee.

We also did fun, silly things, like an SDLC talent show where anyone could show off their skills to an adoring audience. The positivity and camaraderie in the room was dazzling. In only two days, it felt like I had met and heard the stories of 600-plus students from across the country and the world. No matter who they were, they were my friends, and I was theirs. 

I was not alone. “I get emotional just thinking about the love, hope, and knowledge I received,” said Aarica. “The people I met, the stories I heard, and the memories I made at SDLC seriously changed my life.” 

At the end, Rodney led us through an exercise called “passing the peace,” something that will stick with me as long as I live. In a time of harsh divisions and harsher words, 600 completely different students all were able to simply turn to one another, exchange a smile or a hug. To anyone I saw, I could say: “Peace be with you.” Without fail, they would reply: “And also with you.”

As a young person, I predict that SDLC will be one of the formative moments of my life. I came away from it hopeful, inspired, and most importantly ready to do the work that needs to be done. I came away from it a better communicator, a better activist, and, I truly believe, a better person.  

A Day In The Middle School Life

Photos and captions by Maddie L. ’22

Just before winter break, Maddie L. ’22 documented a day in an LCDS seventh-grader’s life for this photo essay with captions.

Students prepare for their day while hanging holiday decorations on their lockers.
A student reads in the library before school starts.
The Middle School is sitting and talking in the library before morning meeting starts.
Dr. Collins shows the class an iPad app that can display what each element looks like.
In history class, students are discussing some of the first battles in the Revolutionary War.
Seventh graders enjoy a small snack at 10 a.m. break.
The seventh-grade girls gym class gets deep into a game of team handball.
Students receive their lunch at the warm plate section.
Middle Schoolers enjoy lunch.
After lunch, we enjoy watching the last game of the Middle School Dodgeball Tournament.
Alyssa K. and Laurel M. working diligently in Spanish class.
Mrs. Wilikofsky demonstrates to arts and crafts club how to make clay bowls.
Students pack up to head home for the weekend.
Boarding the afternoon buses.

A Classroom-Free Education at Outdoor School

By Luke B. ’23
Photos by Mr. O’Gorman

Last week, the entire sixth grade went on a fun-filled yet educational trip to Outdoor School at Shaver’s Creek, Penn State’s nature center. The class learned about how everything in nature is intertwined, as well as the importance of natural resources and their conservation. One of the main goals of the week was to achieve zero food waste, meaning that all the students ate all of the food on our plates, a goal we all achieved at the last meal.


We took a “time machine” to the mid-1800s and observed how settlers used raw materials to fashion the vast majority of tools and other things they needed. The class was divided into groups, which took hikes, stopping along the way to play games related to the curriculum. These helped us learn more about the ins and outs of nature and how exactly it functions.

Students were taught about cycles, such as the water cycle, which explained the efficiencies of the natural world and how it works with creatures within it. Another highlight was the visit from some owl friends, thanks to the Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, during which many children got to see both large and small owls for the first time, and learn about how owls are affected by humans.

Everyone also had the opportunity to explore a nearby creek, searching for species whose sensitivity to their environment makes them excellent guides to determine the pollution level of the water.

The main events were topped off by a night walk, during which no flashlights were allowed. This activity was used to help our class understand the predators which have to rely mostly on their hearing to find food, as they need to be resourceful and careful to survive. Students also played games that helped us learn about how the amount of resources in an area determines its ability to accommodate certain species. This can result in population fluctuation, and one of the big factors in this is humans and our effect on the environment.

The trip wasn’t all hard work, however. The counselors, all Penn State students, came up with skits, songs, and more to entertain the class after a long day’s work before bedtime. Some of the most fun events included a rap battle and a dance-off, hosted by two counselors. There were also a few contests used to help the class learn a few interesting tidbits of information.

At the last night at Outdoor School, “The Lorax” was recited from memory by a few of the counselors, but not simply as a child’s story. It was a great tool used to help summarize the main message of Outdoor School: Humanity is indebted to nature, and should respect and treat it well, not just exploit it for its resources, and this generation needs to be the one to do that.

Our three days at Outdoor School were not only fun, but a great bonding experience for many classmates. It was an opportunity for us to enjoy one another and govern ourselves for a few days. We got to take a break from the traditional four-wall classroom and learn in a new environment, where not only science lessons were taught, but life-long ones.

An Unexpected Enlightenment in D.C.

By Delphi A. ’18
Photos by Evershea A. ’18

Spirits were high as we began at the Museum of American History. The museum was vast and with only an hour and a half to spend, we began soaking in the exhibits at once. Much to my surprise and pleasure, most of the exhibits were very interactive, and exhibit topics ranged from politics and economics to science and technology, to fashion and toys.

After a lunch on the grass, our stomachs were full and social needs satisfied, and we headed to our next destination: the Holocaust Museum.


Once passing through security, we gathered by the elevators as the docent passed out fake passports with personal information inside and explained that we would be experiencing the Holocaust through the story of one victim. We were then loaded onto the elevators about 15-20 at a time.

From the moment the elevator doors closed, the experience became more intense and moving than any of us who had not visited the museum before expected it to be. Witnessing even the depiction of genocide is no pleasant thing, but the museum is also a memorial. Its goal is to educate visitors, and provide a sanctuary for mourning.

The passport I was given was that of Nina Szuster, born in Rokitnoye, Poland on May 18, 1929. It told her life story, from her birth into a diverse Jewish family (her father was an Orthodox Jew, her brother was a militant Zionist and her mother leaned towards communism), through her experiences during and after the war. Standing in front of images of cordoned off Jewish communities in Poland, I read about Nina being forced into a similar one. The passport then described her daring escape.

“One night, the Germans suddenly began dragging people out of our house. I tried to get some clothes but a German grabbed me and yelled, ‘Quick or I’ll kill you!’ I tore myself away and ran to the kitchen. Then I heard a shot: My uncle was dead. I saw an open window and jumped out. Fortunately, it was foggy, so no one saw me slip through the barbed wire.”

Standing in the dimly lit hallway surrounded by images of the horrors from which Nina had barely escaped, the words I read suddenly became so real. It was easy to put myself in her place. Easy, but painful enough to make me cry. And she was one of the lucky ones.

When it came time to leave, even those of us who are usually quite loud were too emotionally drained to yell or cheer or race each other to the bus. We found our seats and settled in for what we knew would be a long ride.

About an hour and a half into the trip home, the heaviness and exhaustion the Holocaust Museum began to lift, and as our energy returned, so did our voices. Once again the back of the bus began to get a bit rowdy. But from midst the ruckus came a single voice quietly singing the Star Spangled Banner.

The yelling continued, but then a second and third voice joined the first. Before long, the a number of juniors sitting nearby were singing in quiet unison.

This left me conflicted.

It would make sense to sing the national anthem after a moving experience at the Museum of American History, but is it right to sing it after the Holocaust Museum? The answer: Yes. We had mourned, and we would remember the horrors and depravity others suffered not very long ago. But having taken in that experience, it was time for us to make our way out of the darkness and rejoice in the fact that we are lucky. We singing students have never had to face suffering like that endured in the Holocaust, and, perhaps the lessons we learned will help us ensure that no one else ever does either.

Students ‘Highly Recommend’ Winter in South Africa

Words and Photos By
Kendall K. ’19 and Sammy S. ’17

While in South Africa, we were able to experience wildlife, culture, and compare our daily routine to that of South Africans. When we arrived, our exchange hosts were on winter break so we spent the first week visiting tourist areas in Cape Town such as hiking Table Mountain, taking a boat to Robben Island, visiting the waterfront and aquarium, and going to a rugby game.

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We spent a week at school, then embarked on the Garden Route Tour. The Garden Route Tour is a five-day trip with all the exchange students from Herschel and Bishops (from countries such as Spain, Germany, Australia, the UK and India). We got a chance to make friends from all around the world. The first day of the tour we visited an ostrich farm in Oudtshoorn. On Day 2 we went to a cheetah wildlife ranch and had the opportunity to interact with cheetahs and lemurs. Afterward, we went on a journey through the Cango Caves, where we had to crawl and pull ourselves up to get through. We ended the day by visiting the beach and taking some pretty cool panoramas. On Day 3 we visited an elephant sanctuary, where we had the opportunity to walk and feed elephants. Next, we enjoyed a little adrenaline at the world’s highest bungee bridge. We zip-lined and returned to our hotel. Our hotel lobby itself was inhabited by warthogs and a meerkat. The last day we went four wheeling through a game park and saw some giraffe, zebras, and antelope.

After the Garden Route Tour we continued going to school and spent our weekends doing things such as surfing and getting a taste of South African culture. We both had the opportunity to visit game reserves and see tons of wildlife. I was able to visit the beautiful area called Bo-Kaap, an area with colorful houses painted every year for the month of Ramadan. At school, we participated in a Master Chef competition where we won Best Spirit for our super complex traditional American dish of peanut butter and jelly! As our trip came to a close we had to say goodbye to all the friends we made and our host sisters. There were many tears shed. Cape Town is a beautiful city and we both highly recommend this beautiful trip.

UK 2016: ‘What’s Next?’

By Tony A. ’20
Photos by Evie A.’20

After our parents’ bon voyaging concluded, 22 eighth graders boarded vans in early June and headed for the flight that would land 14 hours later on the rain soaked runway of Edinburgh Airport. As we broke through the thick layer of gray clouds, we were greeted by a lush, green landscape whose patchwork of fields of crops was dotted with farm animals (mostly sheep). As picturesque as it was, many of us remarked that the scenery was very similar to that of Lancaster County.

On our short drive to our first destination, we immediately noticed a number of changes from our initial impressions. Driving on the “wrong” side of the road, we were surprised by the rows of coal-stained sandstone buildings and small cottages. Upon entering the city of Edinburgh, our initial impressions went something like, “Wow, this is pretty dreary” or “Why did I travel all the way to see THIS?”

Little did we know that many of us would be reluctant to leave our newfound favorite city. Over the next few days, we spent our time touring, learning, and walking. Those of us with fitness trackers saw that we logged close to, if not more than, 10 miles per day. “Laugh, don’t whine,” Mr. Miller told us before we began, but most of the time we were having too much fun to notice our aching feet anyway.

Edinburgh Castle was among the most intriguing and remarkable sights we saw, however the astonishing view atop Calton Hill gave the castle a run for its money. For many of us, the traditional Scottish dance class was not the most memorable feature of our trip, but it did offer an authentic, proper Scottish experience.

Edinburgh fixed our initial impressions of the U.K. and allowed us to appreciate the lifestyle and society of the Scots. For that reason alone, the capital of Scotland played an integral role in developing our perspective on the rest of our journey.

Destination No. 2 was an 84-mile-long Roman ruin that still wends its way across northern England, almost 2,000 years after it was built. Hadrian’s Wall offered not just a stunning, 360-degree view of the landscape, but an invitation to consider the symbolism and history behind the wall itself. Who would have thought that Roman influence would reach this empty, uninhabited landscape, so far from Rome? Hadrian’s Wall deepened our perspective and encouraged us to analyze our surroundings.

Our first church discovery was the Durham Cathedral. This ancient sandstone building impressed us with its beautiful architecture — not to mention the classic MG car show out front. The magnificently high ceilings and extraordinary amount of detail conveyed a deep sense of craftsmanship, and gave us an appreciation for the 40 years that went into constructing this 1,000-year-old masterpiece.

After Durham, we made another cathedral stop in York. There was no denying the awe we felt before this structure. Even the tallest and most modern skyscrapers fail to make onlookers’ mouths drop, but somehow York Minster was able to do just that.

As we approached the city atop the Romanesque York City walls, the cathedral could be seen looming over the entire city. In fact, this cathedral was so large that it could be seen from almost any part of downtown York. York was among our favorite stops, as this was the city where we had the most free time to explore and shop among the unique storefronts.

Up next was the college town of Cambridge. As we explored the Cambridge campus and metropolitan area, we noticed a change in the daily lifestyle of its residents. As in most college towns, Cambridge offered an atmosphere that was at once historic yet modern. Although we already found Cambridge beautiful, the fact that it was one of the first times the sun came out surely helped form that impression.

Our trip concluded in the city we were initially most excited to see, London. Its world-famous landmarks, including Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace did not disappoint.

But our most notable experience there, other than waiting for a train in the Underground for 45 minutes, had little to do with London itself.

At this point in our trip, most of us were physically exhausted from the constant travel. These few days in London promoted team building and unity among our group because we needed each other to continue. There were times when we struggled to crawl out of bed every morning at 7 o’clock, but your roommate was always there to cheer you on (unless they were still asleep). Although sightseeing and touring was a wonderful experience, London left us with a lesson that would resonate with us far more deeply.

As we prepared to depart from Heathrow, our group’s connection had changed from how it was at the beginning of our journey. Our collective experiences had broadened our perspectives, as well as imparting valuable lessons and experiences we would otherwise not have attained. It would be wrong to assume that I was the only one disappointed to leave, but I couldn’t help but think, “What’s next?”

A Day In The Lives

By Sam Brandt ’17

AP US History: The class begins work on review for the AP exam by mapping out the unit time periods covered throughout the year.
American Literature: Students engage in a graded discussion on one of the books they are reading, acquiring group information for their essays.
Candidates for the position of Upper School president present their speeches on why the students of the Upper School should vote for them in the upcoming election.
Candidates for the position of Upper School president present their speeches on why the students of the Upper School should vote for them in the upcoming election.
Honors Pre-Calculus: Mrs. Oravec teaches the students about inverse sine and cosine graphs, and how they relate to the unit circle.
Photography: Calvin B.'18 prepares a duralar sheet on which a negative will be printed, which will then be transferred to a wet sheet of paper to produce a print.
During US lunch, mother duck and her chicks ventured forth from the courtyard to their new home in the wider world.
During US lunch, mother duck and her chicks ventured forth from the courtyard to their new home in the wider world.
The Shakespeare Class rehearsed "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged," which the five-member cast performed later in the week to standing ovations. The class had been working on the production since September.
The Shakespeare Class rehearsed "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged," which the five-member cast performed later in the week to standing ovations. The class had been working on the production since September.
Girls LAX: Playing against Ephrata, the girls LAX team won - 17-3. The team was then 7-1 in the league and 10-3 overall.
Girls LAX: Playing against Ephrata, the girls LAX team won - 17-3. The team was then 7-1 in the league and 10-3 overall.

In this photo essay, junior Sam B. catalogs one day in an Upper School student’s experience, both as a witness and as a participant.

‘A Steady Rhythm Of Exploration And Adventure’

By Claire C. ’17
Photos by Julia R. ’17

The second the Hawaii trip crew arrived back at the Philadelphia airport, we were already planning our return. As we stumbled to claim our luggage, it was obvious that all our minds were still fixed on the island we had just left. And who could blame us? Hours earlier, we were in a sunny paradise with exotic fish, incredible landscapes and kind locals. But most importantly, we were also in the place where 15 classmates became a family that will forever share the memories of a fantastic, enriching experience.


At 2:45 a.m. in the wet, chilly darkness, the Science of Hawaii class hit the road for the airport with visions of beaches dancing in our heads. Two five-hour flights and a quick stop in Phoenix later, we stepped off the plane at Kona Airport and a tropical island breeze greeted us.

After that first day, we fell into a steady rhythm of exploration and adventure.

We rang in our first full day in Hawaii by watching the sunrise from the peak of Mauna Kea. After hiking and listening to Hawaiian myths that directly connected to the natural features around us, we made our way to Mauna Loa Observatory. The observatory has been measuring the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere continuously since 1956, and that data has been invaluable in helping scientists understand climate change. On a tour around Mauna Loa, we learned more about the principles of global warming and its potentially dire implications, building on what we had studied in class and making the first of many interesting connections.

After this day of volcanic exploration, we spent the majority of our time at beaches, snorkeling and observing the wildlife. I use the term “beaches” loosely because instead of sand, we often had to scramble over volcanic rock to reach the ocean. Once we finally got in the water, we were surrounded by yellow tang, eels and one graceful sea turtle. The entire class found it fascinating that the fish we had studied in class were now swimming before our very eyes.

The next day we traveled to the Pololū Valley for a hike down to the famous black sand beach. A passerby informed us that the hike down was the difficult part, and that the uphill trek back would be easy for us.

This information was incorrect.

However, we did enjoy walking on the black sand, skipping rocks and building cairns (delicately balanced rock sculptures).

After our day at the beach — or at least near the ocean — we had to mentally prepare ourselves to go exploring inside a cave. But before heading underground, we visited a beautiful lookout and the site of a school swept away by a tsunami 50 years ago. The class had learned about this particular spot in school, and it was poignant to view this area, scan the ocean for whales, and pay our respects to the tsunami victims.

Then it was cave time, so we donned our rain jackets and head lamps and entered the giant lava tube. Inside we not only learned about the different kinds of rock and lava present, but the group also heard a ghost story from Dr. Winterer. This offered definite, scientific proof that ghost stories are five times spookier when told inside a damp, dark cave.

We started the next day snorkeling in tidal pools alongside brilliantly colored fish. Once back on land, we voyaged to Volcanoes National Park, investigating cracks in the Earth’s surface spewing natural gas, learning fun facts about Kilauea, and traversing a volcanic crater.

We ended the day with a few special minutes on the beach, shooting photos of the masses of sea turtles congregating there.

The following morning, we found ourselves in yet another of the Aloha State’s many climates, hiking through a desert. Dusty paths and dry grasses surrounded us on our three mile trek to the sacred green sand beach. Off the traditional tourist’s path, the pale emerald sand of Papakolea Beach was spectacular, and if it weren’t for its importance to the indigenous people of Hawaii, we all would have filled our suitcases full of the stuff.

As we neared the end of our trip, the Science of Hawaii students set out on a kayak and canoe tour to Captain Cook’s Cove. During the tour, we were lucky enough to encounter a pod of dolphins that came so close to us that they swam directly under several of our kayaks.

Once we got back on shore, it was time for a luau in Kona. The traditional Hawaiian food was delicious, but the coming end of the trip made the evening slightly bittersweet.

As we boarded our flights home, we all agreed we hadn’t spent nearly enough time in paradise. But even so, each and every member of the trip learned something new every day, whether it was a fact about the volcanoes that formed the islands, or the art of clambering over volcanic rocks without needing stitches afterward.

Most importantly, 15 students and three teachers became a family, and that part of paradise will stay with us long after our toes have left the Hawaiian sand.

Mahalo for the memories, Hawaii.

We’ll Always Have Paris

By Lily D.-L. ’17
Photos by Andrey Drobot 

At the Palais Garnier in Paris, an animated and effervescent set of individuals forged a bond that would carry through for the rest of our time in France. While the grandeur of this legendary opera house was unforgettable, what we saw on the boulevard outside was even more spectacular: Our very own LCDS students took part in a street musician’s routine. With more than a hundred passersby stopping to listen, Elliot Rhodes ’16 belted out Adele songs while the rest of us sang along and encouraged him. As we danced and cheered Elliot on, we all soaked in the marvelous spontaneity of the moment. But before I get too far into our trip, let me back up a little.

Its art, architecture and culinary delights help make France one of the most culturally rich countries in the world, and what 19 Country Day students and three chaperones experienced over 10 spring days exceeded all expectations.

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Sixteen hours after departing LCDS, the skyline of Paris emerged before our eyes and we caught our first glimpse of the majestic Eiffel Tower. Our first experience with the French language occurred at a quaint Parisian café where we ordered delectable croque monsieurs (toasted bread topped with fresh grated cheese and broiled ham) and the first of many café au laits. The flavors of France — from boeuf bourguignon, to fried Camembert, to Ladurée macarons — became some of our most cherished memories.

The next four days in Paris were a whirlwind of art, taking in some of the world’s finest pieces at the Musée d’Orsay, the Centre Pompidou and the Louvre. After seeing da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Duchamp’s Fountain, and Monet’s Blue Water Lilies, we took a turn being artists ourselves, during a sketching class in front of the ornate Sacre-Coeur in Montmartre, the heart of the artist district.

The views in Paris seldom disappointed. Our thousand-foot climb up the Eiffel Tower was rewarded with the blustery nightscape of the City of Lights below. This experience was only outdone by the view out the window of our boat as we traveled down the tranquil Seine another evening. The bustling, glorious Champs Elysées at rush hour, the Palace of Versailles and the gardens of Marie Antoinette were stunning to behold.

Too soon, our time in Paris came to an end as we found ourselves aboard the fastest train in Europe, en route to the French Riviera.

There, we traveled the Mediterranean Coast from the palm-lined streets of Nice to the royal Grimaldi palace of Monaco. Atop the village of Saint-Paul de Vence, where painter Marc Chagall is buried, we beheld a surreal view of the Mediterranean on one side and the Alps on the other.

After descending the hilltop, we played a rather rowdy game of “boules lyonnaises.” The French liked to remind us, repeatedly, that this game that bears a striking similarity to bocce is uniquely French and not to be confused with its Italian cousin. Our instructors were former national boules lyonnaises champions, and were awed when we split into two teams and became infected with a competitive fever.

Our final day began at the Fragonard Perfume Factory, which left us all smelling like irises for the rest of our time abroad.

I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to be a part of this incredible trip to France. It would not have been possible without the careful planning of Madame Drobot, her husband Andrey and Ms. Wolanin. I made memories that I will never forget and became closer friends with everybody on the trip. Merci beaucoup!

Little Shop, Big Talent

By Olivia S. ’19

“A man-eating plant?” is what many were thinking before seeing “Little Shop of Horrors” on the Lancaster Country Day School stage last weekend. Before the production on Friday, I had watched the movie multiple times and seen the TV show. I can honestly say that this was one of the best versions I have seen yet.

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The story starts with the urchins (Maddie P. ’17, Emma S. and Elliot R. ’16) narrating the scene. Later, the chorus joins them on the stage and describes in song the dump that is Skid Row. Not only did the vocals and live band sound amazing, but I was fascinated with the puppetry used in the production.

Near the beginning of the show, geeky florist Seymour (Paidin A. ’16) is holding a small, eerily reptilian plant which he created and named Audrey II, out of his unrequited love for Audrey (I). Played brilliantly by Bailey M. ’16, Audrey is a kind and beautiful shop clerk with very questionable taste in men.

As the show progresses, Audrey II grows, fast.

I was truly amazed by the plant’s second appearance. Audrey II was almost as big as the main set, and its creeping tendrils were filled with the legs of Delphi A. ’18. While she and Paul P.’16 brought the largest plant to life with movement, Mr. Bostock provided Audrey II’s wonderful singing voice and a deep, dreadful speaking voice too.

The last and largest version of Audrey II is difficult to describe. It was a gigantic plant that truly ate people. I honestly was not expecting the characters to be able to be eaten on stage, but they pleasantly surprised me.

Andrew S. ’17 kept me laughing the entire time as Audrey’s boyfriend Orin, an abusive, lunatic dentist. He did an excellent job of portraying the comical wackiness of his character and the musical itself, while also showing just how awful and abusive he is to Audrey. I was also impressed with how well Bailey spoke in Audrey’s famously thick accent, even maintaining it through her musical numbers.

Everything about the production showed that the cast and crew were dedicated to every detail, from the rotating set that doubled as the flower shop interior and Skid Row sidewalk, to sophomore Sam W.’s wobbly drunkard’s gait. Mrs. Woodbridge’s work with the music and the pit musicians clearly paid off and she deserves credit for helping making the show as rich an experience as it was. Ms. Wolanin did a wonderful job of directing and producing “Little Shop of Horrors,” and together she and her students truly brought the story to life.

MUN 2016: One Big Ghanaian Family

By Bailey M. ’16
Photos by Meghan Kenny

MUN 2016: One Big Ghanaian Family

After months of preparation, 16 members of the Lancaster Country Day School Class of 2016 began the experience of a lifetime: representing a nation at The Hague International Model United Nations Conference in the Netherlands.

The Model United Nations course has given every member of our group the opportunity to develop our critical thinking skills, broaden our horizons and discover what we’re passionate about. Through historical debates and discussions, we forged our own opinions while discovering how to articulate viewpoints that did not align with our personal beliefs. This atmosphere fosters creativity and motivation, preparing all of us for the challenges we faced representing Ghana at THIMUN.



Our first destination was Zagreb, Croatia, and the apartments that would be our home for three busy days. A frigid and thrilling evening in Jelacic Square dining on chevapchici, or “meat sticks” became the first of many adventures that our close-knit group would share.

The next morning, we were all convened in one of the apartments for breakfast. Everyone contributed pots, pans and mugs from our cabinets; some cooked, while others cleaned. All of us improvised, sharing plates and precariously perching on furniture so that everyone was happy and included.

We had been a tight-knit group throughout the year, but the nature of the trip really made our class feel like a true family.

That afternoon, we drove through the mountains to Rijeka, where we walked cobblestone streets to the 13th-century Trsat Fortress, and took in a city glowing with the variegated decorations of the Winter Carnival.

That night we saw the Winter Carnival Pageant, where we gazed in confusion as we beheld a parade of dancers in ramshackle yak costumes receiving raucous cheers from the crowd. Though perplexing, the celebration made us reflect on how Color Wars might well look equally baffling to outsiders.

We woke to our last frigid morning in Zagreb and set out early to see as much as possible and crisscrossed the sections of the city, only stopping to warm our tired limbs with cappuccinos. The Museum of Broken Relationships made an ironically ideal meeting place as smaller groups greeted each other with stories of the day.

As our plane touched down in the Netherlands, we were giddy (though perhaps that was jet lag). We finally clamored out into the pouring rain to see the Carlton Beach hotel in Scheveningen, the temporary home of Country Day MUN students of years past. That evening, our group made the trip to center city for the traditional pre-THIMUN dim sum dinner. At one point, you couldn’t tell if the tears in someone’s eyes were due to uncontrollable laughter or the incredibly spicy food. Our band of committed characters was eager and prepared to take on THIMUN.

The next morning, we walked past the waving Ghanaian flag on our way into the world forum for the first time. Armed with prewritten resolutions and all of the self-confidence we could muster, we parted ways and made for our individual committees.

The first day included lobbying, a constant blur of activity as we sought out delegates who shared our topic and viewpoint. We compared and combined resolutions, explaining our country’s stance to other students from around the globe. Our months of studying specialized topics within our committees had paid off; everyone in our MUN class was able to proudly share something they accomplished on that first day.

Throughout the week, intense committee sessions saw us discuss the resolutions which came from the first day’s lobbying. As delegates of Ghana, we had the hard time smaller nations often do in getting the attention of committee chairmen, but we persevered. Many of these efforts paid off as some of our classmates made passionate speeches, delivered points of information, and even passed resolutions they had written.

Our group made careful decisions, casting personal opinions aside in order to best represent the views of our nation. We used the critical thinking skills we had developed throughout the year, and set individual goals and challenges for ourselves. Furthermore, interacting with fellow MUN students from around the world gave us the chance to learn from each other’s prior experience and make friends.

Learning how to self-promote in such a diverse environment was a truly valuable experience, and will help us in college and throughout our lives. Though our days were packed with hours of lobbying and debate during that week, we used the evenings to reconnect and share our experiences from the conference in order to learn from each other.

On Wednesday, our committee sessions let out early and we headed to Amsterdam, exploring breathtaking art at the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum before walking the city and getting a sense of its open-minded culture. We did our best to avoid the infamous virus named the “Hague Plague,” or as we affectionately dubbed it, “Den Haagen Plaagen,” and took care of those who were not as lucky.

Though we took on challenges in our committees as individuals and as delegates of the Republic of Ghana, the 2016 MUN class remained a microcosm of our LCDS community: compassionate, spirited, and open-minded.

On the behalf of this year’s MUN class, I want to give my sincere thanks to Mrs. Woodbridge, Mr. Umble, Ms. Kenny, and all others who made our trip possible. I would also like to express our gratitude to Mr. Schindler, whose guidance and support has allowed us to truly grow. Through this course, each student learned lessons that will serve us the rest of our lives, independence, critical thinking skills and the will to pursue what we truly care about.

The Inexplicable, Happy Chaos of Spirit Week

By Chandler S. ’17

The craziest, most unique week of the year has once again graced our school. Filling the hallways with the youngest to the oldest students, all overflowing with an inexplicable kind of happy chaos, Spirit Week has never been more exciting.

Starting out the week was the classic Pajama Day, when a startling number of Upper Schoolers somehow procured teenage-sized onesies. Perhaps the cutest day was Tuesday, Decade Day, when the entire school dressed up in their assigned decade’s fashion, including a mass of third graders decked out in 50s attire. Students showcased their patriotism on Wednesday for America Day, and if you were lucky you saw Upper School’s very own Captain America, Malick G. ’16. The most creative day was Thursday, Disney/Superhero Day, when there was an array of characters, most notably new Upper School Math teacher, Ms. Bonner, dressed perfectly from head-to-toe as the Evil Queen from Snow White.

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Finishing off the week, the Upper School got all kinds of spirited as Color Wars brought classes together in an intense bonding experience of rock-paper-scissors, scavenger hunts and dance battles. As one of the most anticipated days of the year for Upper School, this Color Wars certainly did not disappoint. I’ve never witnessed every grade so passionately invested in their class’s performance during the Color Wars Assembly as they were on Friday afternoon. We reached a whole new level of embracing the weirdness that is Color Wars, and I was not hitherto aware that that amount of craziness could fit into our theater.

Congratulations to the winner of Color Wars 2015: The Seniors!

And an extra special, extra unlikely, borderline-inconceivable congratulations to this year’s 42-36 Cougar Bowl winners: The Faculty!

Lions, Cheetahs and a Little Sister in Leopard Print

By Victoria G. ’16
Lions, Cheetahs and a Little Sister in Leopard Print

In late June, Tahra W. ’16 and I flew down with our families to South Africa to begin our six-week stay in Cape Town. For a week, we toured the city with our families, getting our bearings before being dropped off with our host families. I stayed with Michaela Meyer and her family, including younger sister Alyssa and Michaela’s younger brother, Derek. Tahra stayed with Richard Wellington and his parents and two younger sisters. Both Michaela and Richard will be joined by another girl named Iris and will come in late September to LCDS.

For the first week and a half, we joined our host families on their vacation to the Kruger National Park. Over that time, I became very close with Richard Wellington’s 10-year-old sister, Juju. We started off as just Uno partners but ended up spending a lot of time together on fun adventures, often with Juju wearing a leopard-print onesie. Juju had an unwaveringly positive and caring attitude about everyone and her many hugs are one of my fondest memories. At the end of our time in Kruger, Juju and her sister Gemma gave me a necklace with Africa on it as a token of thanks for spending so much time with them. I was deeply moved and frankly a little surprised because I enjoyed my time with them and certainly didn’t feel like I needed to be thanked for anything. But thanks to this necklace, now whenever I see an image of Africa, I am reminded of the warmth and love of the Wellington sisters and all my other friends in Cape Town.

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To get to Kruger, we drove across South Africa, enjoying the beautiful scenery and stopping at various cultural and historical sites. Our days in Kruger were on safari trying to spot animals. We were extremely fortunate and saw the entire “Big Five,” a lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo. Besides seeing these incredible animal, some of the most memorable experiences from Kruger were the evening “braais” (barbeques) with our two host families.

After the holidays, we returned to Cape Town to start school. I attended Herschel, the all-girls school, and Tahra attended Bishops, the all-boys school. Bishops and Herschel are brother and sister schools and both are among the top academic, athletic and arts schools in the area. History class was especially interesting as we discussed the legacy of Cecil John Rhodes and whether he deserves to be memorialized, since his statue had just been removed from the University of Cape Town. During school days, we were fully immersed in their respective cultures, and sucked into the contagious school spirit during “Herschfield” (Herschel vs. Springfield in field hockey) as well as the Bishops rugby games. It was very different going from attending LCDS to a religious, all-girls school in Africa, but the school was extremely welcoming and accommodating, and the people and experiences at Herschel were inspirational and unforgettable.

In addition to attending classes, there were also day trips planned by the schools for exchange students such as hiking table mountain, working with impoverished children in the townships, surfing and touring Cape Town’s top sites as well as a week long Garden Route tour. During the Garden Route tour, all of the exchange students from Bishops and Herschel drove through part of South Africa to reach some of the nation’s most beautiful and exciting sites. Our exchange group consisted of boys and girls from all around the world, including the U.S., Spain, England, the Isle of Man, Australia, China and Wales. Overall, the Garden Route tour left us with a new understanding of global cultures, and a new appreciation for the animals and wildlife of South Africa.

Tahra and I are both immensely grateful to our host families, Bishops, Herschel, and LCDS for giving us one of the most meaningful and enjoyable experiences of our lives. When traveling, one is often given something to think about, but it is rare to have a place change the way you think. The culture of Cape Town and the people we became friends with opened our minds and hearts to new perspectives, and Cape Town is now a part of us both. This is something that can only be achieved through an exchange with a complete immersion into another way of life. We were given the opportunity to become more than tourists and truly experience the beauty of Cape Town. The memories, friendships, and ideas we have taken with us from South Africa will be with us for the rest of our lives and we both highly recommend this exchange to anyone considering it.

The Burgundy Tour

The Burgundy Tour

Traversing Europe Speaking the Language of Music

By Andrew S. ’17

This summer, a group of eight LCDS choir and orchestra students participated in the American Music Abroad European Tour to France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. 

It all began at Franklin and Marshall College on Saturday, June 20. We moved into the dorms with our instruments, preparing for a long weekend of practicing and rehearsing that our orchestra director, Mrs. Woodbridge, had warned us about. We met our fellow musicians and all the directors who would chaperone our tour around Europe. Little did we know that these would be the people that we would forge close relationships with and make our experience in Europe that much more indelible.

We landed in Paris and drove to Caen. For many of us, it was our first visit to France and it seemed as if some magical power passed through us, restoring energy and excitement after the long flight and drive.

Country Day students at the final concert of the trip, in Westendorf, Austria.
Dancing it up at a Tyrolean folk festival.
Warm feelings atop the Hinterlux Glacier.
Celebrating American independence with some Fourth of July bowling in Rosenheim, Germany.
The whole gang in Munich.
With Lisa Shah (fourth from left: LCDS German exchange student) and her family at a concert in Germany.
Following our moving concert at the American WWII cemetery at Normandy we visited Omaha Beach.
Chilling at 10,000 feet atop the Hinterlux Glacier in Austria.
Following our moving concert at the American WWII cemetery at Normandy, we visited Omaha Beach.

The first day of our trip, and perhaps the most poignant part of the trip, was playing in the Normandy American Cemetery at the Omaha Beach Memorial, commemorating the thousands who died storming the beach. The chorus, orchestra and band performed beautiful odes dedicated to the fallen soldiers, bringing tears not only to the large number of spectators gathered, but also to the conductors and students on our tour. The finale evoked the most heartfelt emotions, as our two best trumpet players performed “Taps.” The sound echoed throughout the memorial and cemetery for all the visitors to hear.

After gathering and storing our instruments back on the bus, we took a short bus ride to Point du Hoc, a promontory overlooking the English Channel and the entire beach. It was a beautiful evening, and the English Channel was awe inspiring. What we all had in common that day was believing that this moment would be one we would never forget.

Many of us were ecstatic to have the opportunity of practicing our French language skills in the country of origin. Several French students promised to speak French for the entire time we travelled in France. It was a great learning experience for everyone.

After spending the hottest day of the year in Paris, meandering around the Place de la Concorde or the nearest crêperie along the Seine, we headed north. We spent a night in Strasbourg where an evening of disco let all the kids hang out and dance after spending such long periods on the coaches. It was a nice way to relax and get to meet everyone on the trip.

Taking in the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp was a fascinating, solemn experience for students and chaperones alike. What was so moving and unique about the camp is that it looks very much like it did during the war; it hasn’t been preserved for tourists like other camps, which can feel more like museums than the actual places where the most horrible things happened.

This quality brought us back in time to when the camp was operational: We were standing on the blood, sweat, and tears of condemned Jews, Gypsies and POWs. Especially evocative was a large concrete sculpture of a emaciated prisoner who looked like a living skeleton. It overlooked the entire site, and brought tears to everyone’s eyes. We knew that not too long ago these paths were walked by prisoners subject to brutal torment. It makes one realize how easily people can be forgotten, and how, if we as a society allow it, the innocent can end up behind barbed wire.

We spent our last day in France in Wasselonne, where we performed in the town church for all the townspeople. We all had a great time performing and seeing the audience enjoy our concert.

The next destination and performance venue was across the border in Hirschberg, Germany. This performance was a friendship concert with a local school. Many of us had to share stands and music with the students, whose English fluency ranged all over the map. The conductor’s English was easier to pin down: He spoke none.

Despite the fact that we couldn’t understand the conductor’s criticism and comments after our rehearsals, we all figured out what he wanted of us as musicians. The language barrier dissipated when we all began using the language of music. It was a magical experience to be a part of during the rehearsal and performance.

Travelling south through Germany, we wended our way through Bavarian towns and cities such as Munich, Kirchseeon and Rosenheim. We all had free time in Munich to have lunch and shop before driving to Kirchseeon for an outdoor friendship concert with a local choral group. We ended our Germany journey in Rosenheim, with Mrs. Woodbridge and all the LCDS students celebrating the Fourth of July (not a big event for the Germans) with a bowling tournament.

After falling in love with France and Germany, we couldn’t help but think about what wonders awaited us Austria. We arrived in Westendorf in the evening, just in time for a traditional Tyrolean fork performance. This was truly the best introduction to the state of Tyrol.

A group of six men in full lederhosen regalia started playing music and dancing, which consisted of clapping their hands all around their lower body and doing a series of high kicks. Their many performances included miming wood-chopping, playing unique Tyrolean instruments, and doing many line dances all in sync to music. Between each performance, we all linked arms and danced. It was the easily the liveliest night of the trip, with decidedly memorable interactions with the Tyrolean performers and each other.

Out of all the places we visited in Europe, Westendorf and Rattenberg had the most beautiful scenery. It took everyone’s breaths away seeing the endless mountains, fascinating wildlife, and luscious, green fields. One day, we all travelled to a glacier in Rattenberg. It was the best feeling at the top of the glacier because it was cool, with snow everywhere and the Italian border visible below us. Truly a great day.

When reflecting on the Burgundy Tour, LCDS students all knew that there was one aspect of the trip that stood out the most. It was the power of music. Music is what brought all of us students and conductors together. Through our intense love of music, we all rehearsed and prepared for a plethora of concerts. At these concerts, we communicated stories, messages and emotions to our audience through the language of music. We represented our country, and showed our love of our host country by showing passion for our craft. That is what inspires us as musicians and make music so wonderful.

Special thanks to Mrs. Woodbridge, our choral and orchestra conductor, for encouraging all of us to go on this unforgettable tour.

Discovering a Brave New World

By David W. ’19
Photos by David W. and Mr. Miller

Discovering a Brave New World

The importance of travel cannot be overstated.

English writer Aldous Huxley once said that, “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” Despite our apparent existence in a world with no boundaries, the fact remains that no one truly knows about a society without having lived within it or having travelled to it. A Google search cannot explain a culture. A Wikipedia article cannot adequately describe a people. CNN cannot present a report that provides a holistic understanding of a foreign country. All of this is exactly why Lancaster Country Day School created an eighth grade trip to the United Kingdom.

In early June, 11 members of the class of 2019 and three brave teachers set off on a seven-day trek across the U.K. designed to teach the students about culture, understanding and friendship. And in the end, it wasn’t the castles and cathedrals that had the greatest impact on the 11 student travelers.

Our first stop on the trip was Edinburgh, the picturesque capital of Scotland. Stunning views of the North Sea, the oldest crown jewels in Britain and the Scottish National War Museum awaited us at Edinburgh Castle. The most memorable sight, however, was a street performer whose extraordinary production included a dramatic sword-swallowing and some colorful jokes that helped raise the day into the realm of the unforgettable.


Aberdeen, a small and welcoming town nestled into the Scottish countryside, was our second stop. After taking a tour of Robert Gordon’s College we met with our host families. Culture is best experienced on a personal level, and staying with a family gave us that experience. Shadowing our hosts taught us that everyone has misconceptions about foreign cultures. One student was especially taken aback when a teacher asked him if plastic drinking straws existed in the United States. Another was dumbfounded when a host student asked if Americans knew who Winston Churchill was.

“So do you guys think that Americans are fat?” a Country Day student asked.

“Um, no. What?” the host responded. “People really don’t use that stereotype over here. At all.”

York, our third destination, was visually stunning and the towering York Minster cathedral could be seen from almost anywhere in the city. Although impressive, it was not the enormous cathedral that made York a town to remember. It was the small pleasantries that we encountered, such as the generosity of a small-business owner or the kindness of a passerby. Tourists and citizens alike said hello to us without hesitation — and Mr. Miller gave his own stern, “Hello?!” (also without hesitation) when he noticed us surreptitiously wandering off. The White Rose City welcomed us with open arms and sent us on our way with unforgettable memories and a taste of English culture.

Our final stop was London. We were greeted by the Queen’s Guard, whose march was characterized by fortitude, strength, patriotism and heritage. Despite fatigue from the nonstop travel, all of us remained positive with the help of cheerful “good day’s!” from strangers and vendors. Despite our obvious tourist status, everyone waved to us as equals, our foreign nationality notwithstanding. By now we were convinced: Much of the conventional wisdom about this place was a misconception. Except for the stereotype about tea, that is. Tea was firmly engrained in Scottish and English culture.

As we boarded the plane bound for the United States, many of us were quiet. Some of this came from the exhaustion we felt after traveling for so many days; however, some of it was rooted in our desire to sit back and take in everything we had just experienced. Shortly before takeoff, a student quietly uttered remarks that could speak for everyone.

“People often say Americans and the British are incompatible. And one of us always has to be better. Does it have to be that black and white? Do you have to be superior or inferior? Can’t you just acknowledge your differences, reconcile, and enjoy your dissimilarity? After traveling here I learned that it’s different, but not incompatible. It’s not better. It’s not worse. It’s interesting and it forces you to see things from a new perspective. And after hearing what all the critics say, in all their accusatory tones, at some point when you visit somewhere foreign that’s been unjustifiably defamed by the media, you have to step back and say:

‘Man, this place ain’t so bad.’”


2014-15 Archive

Toward Global Citizenship: MUN 2015


By Doug W. ’15
Photos by Mrs. Simonds

Model United Nations is a course second-to-none in honing students’ skills in public speaking, debate and spontaneous critical thinking. MUN is an opportunity to practice and elevate one’s capacity to do meaningful research. MUN is a medium through which students learn how to analyze sources, evaluate arguments, recognize biases, formulate opinions and articulate those opinions well.

But beyond all of that, MUN — under the guidance of Mr. Sam Schindler — is a journey that exposes students to global perspectives with which they might be unfamiliar or even uncomfortable. MUN pushes students to acknowledge new ideas and cultures and to immerse themselves in international events. MUN fosters a sense of involvement in a world beyond our immediate community and inspires an attitude — a desire — to make an impact in that wider world.

This journey toward global awareness came to fruition in late January as the LCDS Model United Nations class traveled to The Hague, Netherlands to participate in the world’s largest and most prestigious Model United Nations conference (THIMUN), alongside roughly 3,500 students from around the globe.

Before travelling to The Netherlands, the MUN class first ventured to Paris, accompanied by Mr. Schindler, Head of Lower School Christina Simonds, Upper School Dean of Students Rob Umble and his wife, Maura. After touching down in the City of Lights, we were immediately greeted by Mr. Schindler’s sister, Jessie. Throughout our three days in the city we repeatedly enjoyed her knowledge of Paris, informal tours and immense hospitality. She even went so far as to welcome our entire class into her home to serve us breakfast! In addition to taking in the tourist must-sees, such as Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and Sacre-Coeur, we also indulged in traditional French cuisine along the way. We also enjoyed the opportunity to further explore the city, visiting the Arch de Triumph and the Louvre, meandering down the Champs Élysées, and simply soaking in the European atmosphere.

One could have, understandably, been concerned given the horror at Charlie Hebdo and the other attacks throughout Paris that occurred only days before our trip. I, and the rest of the MUN class, would contend that the timing of our trip to Paris presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Confronted with these atrocities, Paris, France, and the entire international community rallied to support one another in unprecedented fashion. To acclaim tolerance and respect in the face of violence demonstrates the integrity necessary of the world and its citizens if we want to continue striving toward peace and mutual acceptance. And we — 15 students from Lancaster, Pennsylvania — got to experience this solidarity firsthand. We saw the graffiti “JE SUIS CHARLIE” (“We are Charlie”) decorating every corner of every street. We saw the Place de la République decked out in banners, signs, posters, and paint, collectively voicing the same rallying cry: “JE SUIS CHARLIE.” We bought the first issue of Charlie Hebdo printed after the attack, whose front cover declared: “Tout est Pardonne” (All is forgiven). We experienced this rallying, this tolerance, this respect.

A train ride through Belgium brought us to The Hague on Sunday, Jan. 25. After a polar plunge into the North Sea and a motivational speech from Mr. Schindler that would have put Coach Brooks from “Miracle” to shame, we were ready to put our last five months of work into practice: In the morning we would experience THIMUN.

We represented Belarus, a post-Soviet satellite state that only achieved independence in 1990. Belarus maintains a unique position, caught between lingering East/West tensions and polarization. Its historical, political, economic and cultural ties with Russia are strong, yet Belarus still must strive to assert its own sovereignty, all the while maintaining a front of compliance with Western powers. Coming from the United States, it was certainly an enlightening and rewarding experience to represent a nation leaning toward the Eastern spectrum of residual Cold War allegiances.

With this Belarussian perspective engrained in us through months of intensive research and grueling coursework, we began our THIMUN experience.

Monday was consumed by lobbying, and Tuesday largely with opening speeches; Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were spent debating resolutions. With committee meetings from 9-5 and much of our nights spent preparing speeches and redrafting resolutions, it was a busy, yet extremely rewarding five days.

It became apparent that Mr. Schindler had prepared us well. THIMUN was our chance to demonstrate the value of our hard work against our best-prepared peers from around the globe, and we capitalized on this opportunity, drafting resolutions, submitting amendments and giving speeches. Perhaps the most meaningful part of the THIMUN experience, however, was our interactions with fellow delegates. There’s truly nothing like collaborating with students from Egypt, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Russia, Britain, China, the United Arab Emirates and India (to name just a few). Putting the work aside, it’s simply an enriching experience to talk to and become friends with such a diverse group of individuals, each with a unique background and perspective. That experience truly exemplifies the mission of MUN: journeying toward global citizenship.

On behalf of the entire 2015 LCDS MUN class, I’d like to thank Mrs. Simonds, and Mr. and Mrs. Umble for taking their time to accompany us throughout Europe. I’d like to extend this thanks to Mr. Schindler as well, but to also thank him for his continuing drive to help us grow as students and individuals, and his genuine support in all that we do. Our worlds would be much smaller without him.



Service Learning Reaches New Heights

By Ethan S. ’16
Photos by Maddie M. ’16
Group photos by Mr. Bondy
Video by Nicki A. ’15 

Propitious Union’s Joyful Reunion

By Lauren M. ’18
Photos by Sarah F. ’18



Looking Back Now, Off the Beaten Path


Written and journal by Maddie M. ’14
Trailer by Kyla S. ’14, for the documentary by Kyla, Liam F. ’14 and Christina P. ’14
Photos by the class



Eagles in the Land of the Dragon


By Madi S. ’15

Photos by Chandler S. ’17 and Andrey Drobot



Hawaii: Breathtaking at Every Altitude


By Hannah S. ’15

Photos by Mr. Bushong, Ryan M. ’14 and Hannah S.



‘Help Shouldn’t Stop Until Everyone Has What They Need’


By Kat D. ’18



Western Civilization’s Creators Teach A Western Civ Lesson


By Ethan S. ’16

Photos by Ethan S. and Kurren P. ’16



 Freshman Guide — Large


The Freshman Guide To: Safely Walking The Lower School Hallway

By Ethan S. ’16

with freshman emeritus Michael Schwartz ’98

1)    If you see a runny-nosed child walking toward you, stay perfectly still. Children sometimes sneeze when startled, and a single spray is capable of killing dozens of adults’ spring break plans.

2)   Even if insects fascinate you and the child asking is really cute, always answer, “No thank you, I’d rather not see your lice.”

3)   Be sure to boil your hands in iodine after touching anything.

4)   (If you carried any food through the Lower School hallway and still plan on eating it, it’s not a bad idea to boil that too. Remember to use fresh iodine.)

5)   That hallway runs through the oldest part of school and, for all its character and charm, does lack some modern comforts. Just stay hydrated, wear layers and odds are your heatstroke or hypothermia will be mild.

6)   Have you ever seen the running of the bulls? How guys jump and dive and just hang on to whatever they can and pray they survive? Do that if you’re anywhere near the doors when recess starts.

7)   Nobody loves historical reenactment more than teenage girls. If you happen to see a group of four or five abreast doing a superb Roman phalanx impression, don’t be a barbarian hero. Turn around and go the long way.

8)   Mrs. Simonds will visit her wrath upon anyone in the hallway running or wearing an untucked shirt. But if you just kneel down and blend in with some passing kindergarteners, she’ll be none the wiser.*

9)   Just keep moving forward toward the light at the end of the tunnel.


* — By guest freshman and Head of Lower School Christina Simonds, who knows all about the blending-in-with-the-kindergarteners trick and isn’t falling for that again.




More Student Voices

Pun-believable Wins for Cougars and Charity

By Chandler S. ’17


The Freshman Guide To: Organization

By Maddie H. ’16 and Sara K. ’16



Dangerfield Diplomacy: MUN Gets Some Respect for Comoros in The Hague

By Ethan J. ’13
Photos by Christina Simonds




By Caroline P., Maggie E., Sara K., Maddie H. and Ethan S. ’16 



Nurturing Nature 

By Victoria G. ’17 with Michael Schwartz ’98
Photographs by Chandler S. ’17


Knowing Their Faces 

By Gabbi M. ’15


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