Picture or Imagine: An Italian Wonderment Retrospective

By Maddie B. ’21
Photos by Alex V. ’21, Mae B. ’21 and Annika K. ’21

Photo Essay By Alex V.

My constant objective as a photographer is to capture fragments of life that can connect to the individual viewer. During this trip, my goal was to create a series of powerful, expressive images to encompass the inspiring environment I was surrounded by for 10 days. I hope you enjoy the series.

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Picture sitting on a bench in front of an illuminated fountain, centuries old, surrounded by street musicians and architecture with a richer backstory than you would think possible. Or imagine strolling down a cobblestone street while the setting sun filtered through the buildings lining the sidewalks. Seventeen students were extremely fortunate to live in that feeling of peace and history for a little more than a week over spring break as we explored Italy with Dr. Pomponio, Mrs. Turner, and Mr. Bostock.

Starting off our trip in Florence (or Firenze, in Italian) directly following 20 hours of airport naps and multiple flights was an exhausting yet refreshing endeavor. The chill air relaxed us as we walked toward the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, or St. Mary of the Flower. Commonly referred to as “il Duomo,” meaning “the Dome,” this red-bricked architectural feat designed by Brunelleschi is a staple of the Florentine skyline.

The next few days we spent in Florence were packed full of adventure and history. The medieval town of San Gimignano, just south of the city, captured our hearts with its tall stone towers and picturesque views of the Tuscan countryside that made it feel as if we were living in a fairytale picture book. In the city, ordering coffee at a local bar (cafe) and painting frescos with an Italian artist in his studio introduced us to Florentine culture and gave us a chance to practice our Italian conversational skills.

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What struck us most was our visit to the Galleria dell’Accademia, the home of Michelangelo’s David. No words can describe the intense feeling of awe as you step into the sunlight cascading down the 17-foot statue and you realize no picture could ever capture the true magnificence of the sculptor’s artistry.

Following our three days in Florence, we headed to the region of Umbria, where the town of Assisi sits among the hills. With bright blue skies overhead, we hiked to the fortress above town and enjoyed some serene moments gazing across the rolling fields. After exploring the town, we visited the Basilica of St. Francis and the Basilica of Santa Chiara (St. Clare), where we took in the original San Damiano cross, before which St. Francis is said to have been praying when he was called by God to rebuild the Catholic Church. The silence and attention within these churches created an atmosphere of admiration and reflection felt by everyone.

Pompeii prompted a similar reflection on the history of the civilization that once thrived, only to face violent destruction at the hands of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Walking across the stepping stones, you could almost see what life had been like, even as the constant reminder of what caused swift, fiery end loomed above.

Our second day in Campania took us across the Bay of Naples to Sorrento, from which we took a ferry to the island of Capri. Once off the boat, we immediately understood what made Capri such an appealing vacation destination: On the winding roads up the hill to Anacapri, we had a perfect view of the beautiful turquoise water, the colorful houses on the hillside, and the lemon trees that have become as much a symbol of Capri as the Faraglioni (three famous rocks, carved by waves just off the coast).

Traveling inland once again, we spent the remainder of our trip in Rome. We began by entering Vatican City, where we saw amazing collections of art culminating in our arrival at the Sistine Chapel. As we craned our necks in an attempt to take in every square inch of fresco, a sense of wonder rose at the fact that Michelangelo was not a painter but a sculptor. That night we strolled through the streets, simply enjoying the culture and history surrounding us, and ensuring our return to Rome by throwing coins into the Trevi Fountain.

We spent our last day at the ancient ruins of the Roman Forum and the Colosseum, where we could see where they had once been buried deep beneath the ground. Rome is referred to as the “lasagna city” for that very reason: You can see the layers where buildings were built on top of others over the centuries. It is an overwhelming feeling to sit in the middle of a piazza and picture the chariot arena beneath your feet that the shape of the buildings still resemble.

Picture sitting back home reflecting on a trip filled with astounding architecture and beautiful settings everywhere you look. Or imagine looking at pictures of eating gelato and laughing with friends. We are fortunate to have left Italy with a greater understanding and appreciation of its history and culture, as well as a closer group of friends.

Boys and Girls Basketball Make School History

Boys Photos by Mr. Lisk and Chris Knight/LancasterOnline
Girls Photos by Chris Knight/LancasterOnline and Mark Palczewski

With their 51-43 win over Halifax in the District III-1A championship game at the Giant Center Feb. 27, the varsity boys became the first Country Day team to take the District crown. The next day at the Giant Center, varsity girls edged Greenwood, 35-30, to win the District 3 Class A girls basketball championship and earn a second school record. Next up for both teams is states, which means the fiercest competition and no rest for voices ragged from cheering.  

See news coverage for both teams below.

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Lancaster Country Day vs Halifax-D3 1A Boys Championships

2018-19 District 3 Girls' Championship, McDevitt vs. Lancaster Catholic
2018-19 District 3 Girls' Championship, McDevitt vs. Lancaster Catholic
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2018-19 District 3 Girls' Championship, McDevitt vs. Lancaster Catholic
Lancaster Country Day vs Greenwood-D3 1A Girls Championships
2018-19 District 3 Girls' Championship, McDevitt vs. Lancaster Catholic
2018-19 District 3 Girls' Championship, McDevitt vs. Lancaster Catholic
2018-19 District 3 Girls' Championship, McDevitt vs. Lancaster Catholic
2018-19 District 3 Girls' Championship, McDevitt vs. Lancaster Catholic
2018-19 District 3 Girls' Championship, McDevitt vs. Lancaster Catholic
2018-19 District 3 Girls' Championship, McDevitt vs. Lancaster Catholic
Lancaster Country Day vs Greenwood-D3 1A Girls Championships

BOYS
LNP, Lancaster Country Day boys capture program’s first District 3 championship with 51-43 victory More>

ABC27, Lancaster Country Day wins 1A District title More>

PennLive, Lancaster Country Day tops Halifax for District 3-1A boys basketball championship More>

LLHoops.com, Lancaster Country Day Finds Sweet Redemption As Cougars Claw Past Halifax To Win District 3-1A Title More>

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LNP, Lancaster Country Day girls collect 1st District 3 basketball title More>

PennLive, Lancaster Country Day edges Greenwood for District 3 Class A girls basketball championship More>

ABC27, Lancaster Country Day girls outlast Greenwood for 1A title More>

Fox43, Lower Dauphin boys, Lancaster Catholic and Lancaster Country Day girls win district titles More>

Winter Sports Slideshow and Wrap-up

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, Lancaster, 12/13/18:
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By Athletic Director Zac Kraft

The LCDS girls’ basketball team finished the regular season with an overall record of 16-5, 6-4 in Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 5 play (3rd place). The Cougars are the No. 2 ranked team in the upcoming PIAA District 3 Girls’ Class 1A Tournament. LCDS will host the winner of the Lebanon Catholic (No. 7 seed) and New Covenant Christian (No. 10 seed) game at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb 22. To view the entire District 3 Class 1A bracket, click here

The LCDS boys’ basketball team finished the regular season with an overall record of 16-4, 7-3 in Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 5 play (tied 2nd place). The Cougars just missed out on the L-L League Playoffs — losing the tie-breaker to Columbia — and will begin preparation for the upcoming PIAA District 3 Boys’ Class 1A Tournament. As the No. 3 seed, LCDS will host Lancaster County Christian School (No. 6 seed) in the Quarterfinal Round at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21. To view the District 3 Class 1A bracket, click here

The LCDS boys’ squash team finished the season with a record of 5-9. With 14 matches and additional scrimmages, this was the biggest schedule ever for the program. With one senior and one junior on the top of the roster — and the rest in ninth grade — the team was very young this year. Newcomers Jonah R. ’20 and Ben A. ’22 played important roles in rounding out the roster, with six other new players filling in as needed. The boys went 2-2 at the U.S. Squash National High School Team Championships in Hartford, Conn.

The LCDS girls’ squash team finished the season with a record of 3-9. With 12 matches and additional scrimmages, this was the biggest schedule ever for the program. The top of the roster was anchored by two experienced returning players, Whitney F. ’20 and Alexa S. ’19, with many newcomers in the remainder of the varsity group. Courtney C. ’19, Gaby K. ’19, Samantha E. ’19 picked up the game quickly and played admirably for their first and last season. The girls went 0-3 at the U.S. Squash National High School Team Championships in Hartford.

The McCaskey boys’ swimming team finished the regular season with an overall record of 5-4, 1-4 in Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 1. At the L-L League Championships, Christian F. ’20 placed sixth in the 100 freestyle (49.98) and eighth in the 50 freestyle (22.77), and Owen W. ’20 placed second in the 100 butterfly (53.37) and fifth in the 100 backstroke (55.83). Both Christian and Owen were on the 400 freestyle and 200 freestyle relays that finished third and seventh, respectively. The Red Tornado placed eighth in the team standings.

The McCaskey girls’ swimming team finished the regular season with an overall record of 1-8, 0-5 in Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 1. LCDS had a total of six students compete on the girls’ team this winter, Allison M. ’19, Lauren W. ’20, Crystal F. ’20, Evie A. ’20, Alexa A. ’22, Riley K. ’22.

The Penn Manor Ice Hockey team finished the regular season with an overall record of 13-5, winning eight consecutive games and nine out of their last 10 to close out the season. The Comets defeated Annville-Cleona 10-2, in the first round of the CPIHL playoffs, before falling to West Shore Christian in Round 2. Jack K. ’19 was selected to participate in the CPIHL All-Star Game. Other key contributors from LCDS included Matthew G. ’19, Wesley G. ’20, Shaan T. ’20 and Thomas K. ’22.

Balloons and Friendship

Love and balloons were in the air Wednesday, and the Lower School was bursting with pajama-clad Valentine’s fun. The February chill is no match for this heartwarming slideshow.

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The Ugandan-Mexican-Pennsylvanian Axis

By David W. ’19
Photos by Mr. Umble

For the past decade or so, a handful of seniors enrolled in Lancaster Country Day’s Model United Nations class have traveled every year to The Hague for an international five-day conference. It’s become a staple of LCDS culture, a sort of nerdy ritual for the departing class. 

This year, things were a little different.

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First, the MUN class welcomed both juniors and seniors for the first time. Second, it was at maximum capacity, boasting a full complement of 18 students.

And third, while this class hopped the pond like its forebears, we continued on over Turkey, threading the border between Iran and Iraq, hugging the coast of Saudi Arabia, and landing, after 14 hours in the air, in Doha, Qatar. (I would be remiss not to mention here that Qatar Airways gives metal utensils to its passengers. For those 14 hours, we were truly living in the lap of luxury.) 

The Hague International Model United Nations, or THIMUN, is an international U.N. simulation that’s also an accredited non-governmental organization with the United Nations. Participating schools are assigned countries which their students represent in a variety of committees, from the General Assembly to the International Court of Justice. It is the students’ responsibility to exhaustively research their country’s policies before the conference. More than 1,000 student delegates from dozens of countries participated in this year’s Doha conference. Among them, hailing from little old Lancaster, Pennsylvania, were six delegates of the Republic of Uganda and 12 delegates of the United Mexican States (Colloquially referred to as Mexico and Uganda.)

Our class had spent months writing policy papers, drafting resolutions, and practicing debate in preparation for the conference, so upon arrival in Qatar, we took a well-deserved break. The group visited Souq Waqif, a historic market in Old Doha that remains a favorite of locals. We toured the Museum of Islamic Art, a beautiful five-story building with panoramic views of the city and art spanning more than a millennium of human history; we went “dune bashing” on a desert safari and experienced the terror of sliding sideways down a steep sand dune in an SUV; and of course, we encountered some camels. We took selfies with camels. We rode camels.

Students were assigned to a variety of committees which focused on topics ranging from corruption in the global fishing industry to nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. Each committee held around 80-100 delegates. LCDS was in a unique position this year, as it represented two countries — which held, at times, opposing viewpoints — simultaneously. Mexico, for instance, enshrines press freedom in its constitution, and its government advertises an effort to protect the interests of journalists acting in the country. (However, it still remains notorious for being one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.) Conversely, Uganda’s official policy on press freedom includes harsh libel laws and restrictions on press access. In a simulated conference, therefore, Uganda would be more willing to speak against measures to protect press freedom than Mexico, even if their policies are roughly the same in practice.

For every serious debate, there were plenty of lighthearted moments. Before my resolution was considered, I motioned for a three-minute unmoderated caucus because, “The delegate from Uganda needs to use the bathroom.” (Speaking in the third-person is required at all times during committee sessions.) Nick H.’19 shamelessly de-linted his suit — during lunch, on a balcony, in front of several hundred people — because he tried on a black hoodie over a white shirt. After taking a fall and receiving stitches in a Qatari hospital (free of charge, because literally every public service in Qatar is free), Lauren L.’19 Facetimed the group on laughing gas to tell us everything was okay. Mr. Umble sat next to her, half-concerned as a chaperone, half-amused as a friend.

Perhaps the most memorable moment occurred on the last night as we rode a bus from the conference center back to our hotel, which we shared with students from Kuwait. Spontaneously, our schools began to sing with one another. We belted out songs like Adele’s “Hello,” Smash Mouth’s “All Star,” and even the Kuwaiti national anthem. And after 30 or so minutes of singing, right as we pulled up to the hotel, someone started a song from Barney. Everyone sang in unison:

“I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family. With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you, won’t you say you love me too?”