2016 Upper School Trip: Day 4

The forth and final day of the Upper School trip to New York City featured a visit to The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), a picnic lunch in Central Park and a tour of the U.S.S. Intrepid.

The Met boasts an incredible collection of paintings, sculpture, installed facades and ancient artifacts from all over the world. Spanning nearly four city blocks, one could easily spend a week working through its several hundred rooms. Before sending the kids off to explore on their own, Miss Dey walked us through several sections, highlighting and relating particular pieces to their studies. Her knowledge and passion for history and art is invaluable in these moments.

We were fortunate to be visiting NYC during Fleet Week, a time when many active military vessels dock in the harbor. We saw dozens of service men and women throughout our four-day visit. Several students sought out opportunities to thank them for their service as they passed, an important tradition being passed down to this generation.

The U.S.S. Intrepid is a retired Vietnam war era aircraft carrier that has been transformed into a permanent sea, air and space museum. It has over a dozen military aircraft on the flight deck, including a special exhibit that features the Space Shuttle "Enterprise", a prototype that was used for atmospheric testing. The hangar deck is filled with interactive exhibits and history. Lots of really cool stuff.

We had a great time in New York City, traveling all over the place to keep everyone engaged in a productive and healthy use of their time. While we enjoyed lots of laughter together, the upper school trips are designed to gain tangible experience with some of the beautiful things God has enabled people to create and produce. It also provides an opportunity for growth through limited independence and responsibility. Everyone was always on time. Most of them rose early and finished breakfast before the adults. Some of the boys even ironed their clothes without being asked. That's part of the culture of Imago.

2016 Upper School Trip: Day 3

Ellis Island

Wednesday night's performance of Fiddler On the Roof was a great prelude to our visit to Ellis Island National Park. Many of the immigrants that came through Ellis Island shared a common story with the characters in Fiddler: Russian Jews suffering under the pogroms fled to America. The Ellis exhibit picks up where Fiddler ends so it was a great way to contextualize what we were seeing. We learned there were also lots of Italians that came through Ellis Island. One of our students looked up his family's name and found that his relatives might have come through. Pretty neat!

Lower Manhattan

Our afternoon was spent in lower Manhattan island. Many of us know this area as one of the great financial centers of the world, Wall Street. What was new to me was lower Manhattan's key role in U.S. government. As we stood on the corner of Wall St. and Broad these worlds intersect, seeing both the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall. Federal Hall is our first capital building, the site of Washington's inauguration and the centerpiece of many other important events in our early history.

9/11 Memorial

This is the first upper school trip to NYC where most of the kids were born after 9/11. It was good to pause and reflect on this important event. In addition to visiting the waterfall memorials of the two towers, we included a walk through nearby Trinity Church, a refuge for the rescue and cleanup workers.

Brooklyn Bridge

Before dinner at Buca di Beppo we walked part of the Brooklyn Bridge to get some spectacular views of the East river and the city.

2016 Upper School Trip: Day 2

Day two of the upper school trip to New York was hot, packed full of experiences.

Thomas Edison National Historic Park

We started with a wonderful tour of the Thomas Edison National Historic Park in Orange, NJ. Seeing firsthand how Edison worked was inspirational. Learning about the rise and fall of Edison's phonograph technology was a valuable lesson in economics, technology and marketing.


Lessons Learned

Our tour guide, Carrie, provided a lot of great context as we toured the city. We learned many silly and practical things:

  • the economics of taxi cab medallions, the difference between yellow and green cabs and the economic impact of Uber.
  • that not just anyone can perform music on the street.
  • how dog owners tend to look like their pets.
  • how to spot a movie shoot in New York City.
  • how to park cars in tight spaces by stacking them four high.
  • the "proper" way to jaywalk and the importance of staying together.
  • how to enter a turnstile and not get hurt.
  • that you need to pay for your food at the deli BEFORE you eat it.
  • that some people make a living letting you hold their pet snakes and taking a picture of it and that it's probably NOT the best career choice.

As we walked we stopped periodically to perfect our count-off system to make sure we didn't loose anyone.

Central Park

We had a nice walk through Central Park, providing a bit of shade from the heat. We watched someone try to row a boat backwards, listened to a family "busking" under the bridge and watched Mrs. McKee handle a python around her neck. Just a normal day in NYC. 

Fiddler On the Roof

The second day finished with a classic Broadway show, Fiddler On the Roof. The production was spare and thoroughly engaging.

2016 Upper School Trip: Day 1

The bi-annual upper school trip to New York is a highlight of the Imago experience. Miss Dey has led this trip every other year, alternating with Washington, D.C., for 35 years. Her passion for providing educational and fun experiences outside of the classroom shines through the carefully selected itinerary and interactions with the students.

Cloisters Museum

Day One of the trip included a stop to The Met Cloisters museum, a lesser-known treasure. It is a collection of four monastic cloisters, assembled from Europe, that showcases medieval architecture and works of art, including tapestries, frescos and unusual artifacts. Miss Dey connected with the students on their historical architecture classroom studies. The gardens with over 250 medieval medicinal plants is beautiful.

Times Square

Not all of the first day was serious and educational. After a walk through Times Square we enjoyed dinner at Ellen's Startdust Diner. All of the wait staff at Stardust are professional actors aspiring to land work in Broadway productions. Each take turns singing musical numbers to the guests for a very interactive and fun experience. One of the students thought it would be funny to pretend it was her birthday. When this was discovered by the emcee, he took time to make a show of it. The whole restaurant had a great time.

West Point

Our visit to the Army's West Point military academy was the spiritual highlight of the first day. The main chapel is beautiful, featuring the largest pipe organ in North America in a place of worship. Many of us were struck by how a sense of character is embedded in the place. As we walked the campus along the Hudson river even the benches provide reminders of character, each inscribed with a trait: responsibility, leadership, courage, integrity, compassion, loyalty, dedication.

Evening devotions for both the girls and boys drew from the Cadet Prayer, which is posted in the main chapel:

Strengthen and increase our admiration for honest dealing and clean thinking, and suffer not our hatred of hypocrisy and pretence ever to diminish. Encourage us in our endeavor to live above the common level of life. Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth when the whole can be won.