The following are two letters to the WAVE newspaper by two students from Scholars' Academy that traveled this summer.
This summer I was granted the opportunity to attend a Celtics Course in order to obtain 3 college credits concerning Ireland history. After numerous classes this course concluded with a weeklong trip to Ireland. I cannot thank Dr. Cashin, Mr. O’Connell, our teachers, chaperones, and tour guides enough for this wonderful opportunity. The knowledge and support they provided have enabled all to create their own personal connections and realizations throughout the trip.
This journey started as the 10 students from Channel View met with the 10 students from Scholars’ Academy. It took a couple of classes to become familiar with one another, but in time the ice was broken. By the time Ireland came around, everyone felt comfortable sitting and talking as if we had known each other for years; and as the trip endured, so did the close bond between us. We all shared the same new responsibilities, excitements, and wonders of a new environment. I specifically remember sitting in a conference room, mid-way into our trip as everyone reflected upon what they had seen. Our instructors guided us in many directions, which resulted in everyone coming to numerous conclusions about Ireland and the role it played in our history. Eventually everyone was building off each other’s ideas, as a powerful rare conversation across the room had developed.
In America, many people often forget that we weren’t the only ones who fought for our freedom, struggled through stereotypes, and had domestic issues. It’s surprising how even countries across an ocean have similar problems; knowing this allows me to further explore the idea that all people share certain traits regardless of time and place.
Initially there were many of us who didn’t understand the significance behind visiting a thousand year old rock, tree or castle. However after fully understanding the history of Irish culture, we were able to put things into perspective. These rocks, trees and castles were symbols of past years fight to freedom and a better life. It was in these very rooms in castles and on carvings in rocks that certain individuals were present, such as Oscar Wilde and Queen Victoria who would change the course of history for all Irish mankind.
I would like to tell you what the ultimate highlight of this trip was, however that would be impossible to pinpoint. Looking out the window on our tour bus, from Shannon to Dublin, was alone remarkable. All the greenery, and well preserved history going back thousands of years still amazes me when thinking about it. Other excitements such as kissing the Blarney stone I will remember forever, while watching River dance enabled me to truly see the beauty in Irish arts, and their strong culture.
The Irish literature we read, history learned, and reports that we wrote have taught me a significant amount about our world, and where we stand. Knowing that Ireland holds such an intense past further encourages me to visit and explore other parts of the world. I know this trip has kept my summer productive, and will help me in the long run when applying to colleges. The personal insight and connections I was able to make have enabled me to grow and mature as a more intellectual being.
I can go on explaining events and things learnt day by day, however reading about Ireland is not half as amazing as actually being there. I will carry this experience with me for my entire lifetime, and for that I cannot thank everyone enough.
This summer I had the privilege to attend a class in Irish Literature, and traveled to Ireland to learn even more about the culture. It was an amazing experience, and I learned so much.
The main theme of the trip was to learn about Celtic history. I noticed many common factors shared by both Ireland’s history and America’s history. For example, we were both ruled by England, and we both revolted to free ourselves from English rule. Traveling to Ireland and being able to actually see the places we read about such as castles, Kilmainham Gaol, an Irish prison, The Blarney Stone and the magnificent scenic countryside brought our class experience to life!
On this trip I also had the opportunity to work with Dr.Cashin, fellow students from Scholars’ Academy and students from Channel View. It was really great getting to know Dr.Cashin. Her vast knowledge and enthusiasm made the trip even more enjoyable. Meeting different students from Channel View was fun too. Traveling with my principal Mr. O’Connell also added to the uniqueness of our experience. Administrators, teachers and students all together on a trip brought exciting new perspectives to our experience.
This trip was a wonderful experience for me; I learned so much and discovered that there are many similarities shared by the different countries and cultures of our world.
The Scholars’ Academy H.S.