By Hannah Carney Year 13 Maricourt Catholic High School
After four jam packed days of activities and endless sightseeing, the business studies team and students from Year 13 arrived back home from New York City. The excursion brought the students closer together than ever before and allowed them to make memories and undergo new experiences they will be able to carry forward and look back on in the future.
The once in a lifetime opportunity gave both the students and teachers the chance to witness the breathtaking and immeasurable views of New York City first hand. Visiting the plethora of iconic landmarks the city had on offer as a school highlighted the sense of community both the pupils and teachers had with one another and emphasised how fortunate they were to be a part of something that allowed them to see such stunning and spectacular sights.
Each and every person who attended the trip came away with memories and stories they will be able to cherish and remember forever.
Manchester to Manhattan starting off with a bit of ‘stardust’
The adventure began on Thursday 10 February when the pupils and teachers met in Arnold Layby with their bags and suitcases. Everyone boarded the bus and checked in at Manchester Airport ready to set off to New York. Excitement filled the entire group as they stepped foot onto the plane which was prepared for take-off and landed at JFK Airport in New York. After an entire eight hours, the plane lowered onto American soil which marked the beginning of a momentous and unforgettable trip for everyone.
The group checked in at The Residence Inn Hotel before getting ready for the first meal at Ellen’s Stardust Diner. On the way to the restaurant, the group took in their first taste of the sights and views the city had to offer by walking through Times Square and visiting the infamous Red Steps. After taking in the city and hive of activity they arrived at the restaurant greeted by staff who enthusiastically served plates of cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, chicken fingers, salads and pastas whilst putting on a showstopping performance of singing familiar songs and tunes to keep the audience entertained. The retro 1950s themed diner gave the students and teachers their first taster of the American Dream and started off the trip on a memorable and musical note.
Looking at Lady Liberty
The second day involved travelling to Grand Central Terminal before getting on the metro to Battery Park.
Once united together, the groups boarded ‘Miss Ellis Island’ which transported them directly to the 305 feet statue at the final destination of Liberty Island.
The students were given the opportunity to embrace being in the presence of Lady Liberty herself through walking around the island, going inside of the museum, stopping off for food with one another and appreciating the statue, which acts as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.
The groups then boarded the boat again to stop off at their next location, which was Ellis Island. Here, the sixth form dispersed around different areas of the museum which allowed them to gain more knowledge about the immigration process, both before and after the Ellis Era.
Thought provoking and extremely moving, the various exhibitions and displays the museum had on show provided the school with an insight into the migrant journey and what life was like for the individuals involved. This gave both students and teachers the chance to feel connected and become more educated about the journeys of over 12 million immigrants whom arrived in the United States through Ellis Island. Once together again, the school travelled back to Battery Park before being given some free time to go and explore the different areas of New York surrounding The Battery.
The 9/11 Memorial – Remembering those who lost their lives
A pivotal moment of the day was visiting the 9/11 memorial museum. The students and staff took some time to reflect and remember those who were victims of the September 11 attacks. Emotionally moving and eye opening, walking around the museum gave the sixth form a chance to become more knowledgeable about 9/11 and pay their respects to those who died in the disaster. Listening to recordings, looking at videos and seeing reminders from the attacks provided the teachers and students with a first-hand account of the disaster and gave them an insight into what that day was like for those involved. The exhibition allowed the students to think carefully about the tragedy and hold onto a sense of hope about the future.
Brooklyn Bridge to Hardrock Cafe
To finish off the day, the sixth form walked together to see the Brooklyn Bridge. They took in the various views before their eyes before travelling back through Times Square to reach the final destination of the day – Hardrock Café. The students and teachers became immersed into the world of music which accompanied them as they ate their food in style.
The Empire State Building
Witnessing unbelievable sights… inside before going up many floors in the lifts to eventually reach the top. At the top of the building, the school had a clear view of the entire city beneath them which seemed miniscule from the impressive height they were stood at. The students were then given time to venture off and see different parts of the city in their friendship groups before commuting back together again later on in the day.
Bubbagumps – Stop, Forrest Stop!
Towards the end of the day, the group dined at ‘Bubbagumps’ which allowed them to experience the magic that made ‘Forrest Gump’ – an American classic. Greeted by enthusiastic staff, the sixth form spent time together in a fun and energetic atmosphere, whilst reviewing their own knowledge of the timeless film to help them answer questions in groups. The trivia questions brought the sixth form closer and encouraged team work skills to win various pieces of merchandise that were distributed amongst those who could answer the questions correctly.
Moonwalking Magic hits Broadway
To end the day, the sixth form attended Broadway’s ‘MJ The Musical’ which followed the life of the famous Michael Jackson all the way from his Jackson 5 years to his solo career.
The students and teachers took their seats and were taken on a musical trip down memory lane through watching the singer’s most notorious tunes and parts of his career being played out before them. The performance showcased over 25 of Michael’s biggest hits and the school became a part of the audience singing along and taking in the show being acted out on the stage. This allowed them to experience Broadway first hand, spend quality time with their friends and make unforgettable memories that would last a lifetime.
Snow, St Patrick’s Cathedral and saying goodbye
The sixth form made the most of their final day in New York territory. As well as taking in the beautiful snowy surroundings, some of the students and teachers made their way to one of New York’s most prominent destinations; St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Snow filled New York, as the sixth form ventured out to take in their last full day away from home. Many of the students made their way over to 5th Avenue and Central Park which was filled with thick layers of snow. The haven of outstretched land and winter-wonderland-like scenery concluded the trip on a magical note, giving the school the full American experience. The school admired their surroundings for one last time, making the best of their free time in the big city.
Attending Sunday Mass, lighting candles and feeling connected gave individuals the same familiarity to being at home in a completely different city. Being a part of this event emphasised how religious beliefs and shared practices united the school with people from across the world into one collective community; highlighting the catholic values and giving those who attended the chance to reflect and appreciate their surroundings.
The trip concluded with the sixth form meeting back up together again before setting off home. Each and every person came away from the experience with memories that would last an entire lifetime.