Teachers’ International Summer Trips

Shannon Rodgers '19 and Rachel Romano '19

As we start to make our way back into the school year, the most frequently asked question is, “what did you do over the summer?”  Whether you were diving into those summer reading books poolside, cruising along the Jersey Shore, or babysitting the little kids next door, we all must’ve done something productive this summer.  Aside from our summer achievements, the amazing teachers at OC also accomplished a lot over the summer.  In particular, Ms. Day, Mr. DeFilippo, Mr. Finnegan, Ms. McNulty and Mr. Kornosky took some very interesting trips to some very cool places.  They traveled around the world with the hopes of bringing some of their experiences back to the classroom to share with their students.  Don’t worry if you do not have any of these teachers, because they shared their experiences with us, so you can hear about them too.

Mr. Kornosky had an amazing opportunity to travel to Asia this past summer with other teachers through the NCTA, the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia. He began his trip in Japan where he visited Tokyo, Sendai, Kyoto, and Nara. Mr. Kornosky said that his favorite part of Japan was “getting to experience the culture of the native people”. After his stay in Japan, he and the other teachers he was traveling with headed to China. In China he visited Shanghai, Xi’an, and Beijing. The best part about the time in China for him was going into the cities and seeing the “wow factor” of different historical features. The purpose of this trip was for teachers to get hands-on and first person experiences in order to improve their teaching curriculum about the continent of Asia; plus he had always wanted to go to Asia. Overall, Mr. Kornosky was truly amazed by the incredible experiences, from the smallest of cultural differences to the amazing shrines and cities.

Courtesy of Mr. Kornosky
Courtesy of Mr. Kornosky

Ms. McNulty traveled to Cuba over the summer. She made her way to different places, from Havana down to Trinidad, and other historical places such as the Bay of Pigs. She traveled through a program run by Tulane University, with a few other teachers. The objective of her trip was to learn more about Cuba, in order to write a more advanced curriculum and help her students better understand Cuba, particularly at this time, because we have re-established relations for the first time since the Cuban Revolution. Mrs. McNulty found Cuba to be a very fascinating place. She described the Cuban people to be warm, outgoing, and people that love life, despite all of the daily challenges that they face. While in Cuba, she heard many lectures about Cuba’s future, and took daily walks in Havana. These strolls through the town of Havana showed her the daily of the Cubans, and she got to experience much of the beautiful architecture. She would like to go back to Cuba again once it is open to independent travel, and hopes to learn Spanish, their native language, before that.
Courtesy of Ms. McNulty

Courtesy of Ms. McNulty
Mr. Finnegan and Mr. DeFilippo spent a few weeks of their summer in Greece with a large group of teachers who were a part of the Classrooms Without Borders group.  Mr. DeFilippo said that his favorite places to visit were Delphi, which is allegedly the center of the earth, and Mycenae.  As for Mr. Finnegan, his favorite part was simply being out of his comfort zone in another country.  He also thought that it was very interesting to see history come alive, and to actually see the places we always read about in history.  Mr. DeFilippo also was able to see how things have changed over time; he said that Athens was a lot dirtier than when he had last been there and there were a lot more stray animals.  The most memorable thing for Mr. Finnegan was being in one of the Holocaust sites; they visited a train station where so many Jews were sent off to Auschwitz.  For Mr. DeFilippo the most memorable thing also has to do with the Holocaust; it was when they visited the Distomo Memorial Site where many Jews were executed by the Nazis.  One of the other things about being in another country that is very interesting is all of the different foods you get to try.  Mr. DeFilippo’s favorite foods were kalamata olives and feta cheese.  Mr. Finnegan’s favorite food was the moussaka.  One other really cool experience they had was taking part in a traditional Jewish Shabbat ceremony.  They were completely accepted into the Jewish community for that ceremony and they even joined the people in singing a song in a version of the people’s native language.

 

Ms. Day and four other students, Emily Ulrich, Josie Cost, Emily Evans, and Margaret Price travelled to Greece and Italy.  First, they went to Venice,  where they saw a lot of wonderful Renaissance architecture and art everywhere they looked.  Then they went to Rome where they had some very memorable moments, especially as representatives of a Catholic school. They were blessed by the priest of the Sistine Chapel, while gazing at the beautiful mastery of Michelangelo’s painted ceiling. They also were able to see the Pope giving an address in St. Peter’s square. Ms. Day particularly enjoyed praying the Our Father in Latin, with the students who had been in her class, in St. Peter’s Basilica.  After Rome, they headed to Pompeii and traversed the vast ruins under the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius. After this they headed to what ended up being their favorite part of their trip; The Isle of Capri, renowned for its beauty and a wealthy clientele throughout history.  While they were there, they took a speedboat around the island and had some amazing gelato.  Then they headed to Greece, where they began their journey in Greece by enjoying a nice day at a stoney beach.  Then they visited Delphi for a day, and after that they went to Athens.  Ms. Day could also notice many changes since she had last been to Athens, particularly because they were there two days before the banks shut down.  One thing she noted was that areas that were usually kept nicer for tourists were covered with graffiti and were not as pretty as usual.

Courtesy of Ms. Day
Courtesy of Ms. Day