All-School Trip – Washington DC

Here at Buxton School, we go on an all-school trip every year to a different city in the US to learn about various topics that are relevant to that city. And every four years, we go to an international destination. Also known as the Annual Urban Intensive, students and faculty split into groups to study issues such as homelessness, crime and punishment, media, education, and many more.

The week before we leave, students and faculty have trip group meetings to set up interviews and meetings with various groups and organizations in DC. Students call and schedule with these people and they also plan most of the trip. The faculty help in whatever way we can to facilitate that process but overall, the trip is student-driven. They decide on what and when to eat, what to do on cultural night out, and they help book buses and hotel rooms.


Taking a break from calling and setting up meetings.

This year, we went to Washington DC. Because it is an election year and we were in the capital, some of the groups focused on topics like women’s rights, democracy, climate change, gun control, Israel/Palestine, ISIS/Iraq/Syria, and immigration and refugees issues.


Capitol Hill.

My group was on immigration and refugees issues and we had the opportunity to meet with many great organizations that are doing research, advocacy work, and just general awareness-raising on the problems with our current immigration system.


Tour at President Lincoln’s Cottage with the American Immigration Council.

While we are in the city, we also bring an all-school play along to perform at various venues as a way to give back to the city. Every student is involved in the play in some way, whether they are acting, doing lights, make-up, drumming, dancing, or singing. This year, our school performed The Persian, which is one of the oldest surviving plays in western literature.


The Persian, one of the oldest surviving plays in western literature.

This week, the trip groups will be meeting again to prepare a presentation in order to share with the school what we all learned. Every student also contributes to the trip book, which is a reflection of the different experiences that students had in the city, in this case, DC.

This was definitely one of my favorite trips!


The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

If you have been online over the past few weeks, chances are, you know about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. ALS, short for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The person with the disease progressively loses function and control of the body and eventually dies. During this time, the person is fully aware of what is happening, and what a terrifying thought it is to not be able to do anything. 

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has brought attention to the disease and donations have skyrocketed since the conception of the challenge. Many with the disease have spoken out while well-known celebrities and athletes have done the challenge and donated to the cause. 

Although the effort to raise awareness about ALS is admirable, encouraging, positive, and supportive, many have pointed out the negative sides to the challenge. One prominent argument against the Ice Bucket Challenge is that hundreds of gallons of water have been “wasted,” meanwhile, droughts are happening all over the world, with many people living, and have been living, without access to clean water. This view has its merits and maybe better ways to bring focus to ALS are out there, but the fact is that we waste water everyday and we may not even know it. In 2010, The National Geographic Magazine covered the topic of water conservation and pollution, which is more relevant now than ever. So, instead of dragging down and bringing negative emotions to the original intent of the challenge, we should find other positive ways to make a difference in saving water and be well-informed about the issue because water conservation encompasses much more than not dumping a bucket of ice water over the head.

Another argument is that many people who did the challenge only did so because they wanted the “attention” or they did it “just for fun.” No disagreement here. But again, let us see this as a positive effect to the cause. Yes, these people may be attention-hungry and function on applauses and nods, but they are also contributing to the cause, however accidentally it may seem. So, let them have the “fun” and “attention” that they need or want, and let’s see it as a win for everybody.

Because, darn it, this world needs more wins. #ALSIceBucketChallenge

Oh, internet.

How wonderful you are. I came across this list on StumbleUpon and I could not help but admit that I have seen 85% of what’s on there. The amount of information on the internet is increasing exponentially and no matter how much I try to avoid looking at “useless” and “lame” videos or articles, I still hear about them from students, friends, and social networks. I am glad that I still do not have a smart phone but I do realize its convenience, especially with apps like the GPS. I also found an interesting article that shows you how to completely remove yourself from the internet. One day, just maybe, I will do it.

Guillaume Apollinaire – Le Pont Mirabeau

C’est un de mes poèmes préférés…

Le Pont Mirabeau

Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
Et nos amours
Faut-il qu’il m’en souvienne
La joie venait toujours après la peine

Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure

Les mains dans les mains restons face à face
Tandis que sous
Le pont de nos bras passe
Des éternels regards l’onde si lasse

Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure

L’amour s’en va comme cette eau courante
L’amour s’en va
Comme la vie est lente
Et comme l’Espérance est violente

Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure

Passent les jours et passent les semaines
Ni temps passé
Ni les amours reviennent
Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine

Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure