Spring Break Trip to England & France Underscores Importance of Global Citizenship
Suzy Logan

Thirteen Blair students and four faculty members explored London and Paris together during spring break on a trip that took them to both sides of the English Channel.

The group, chaperoned by Head of School Chris Fortunato, director of health services Tara Parker, language teacher Kate Lavelle and her husband, Blair operations analyst Tom Pomeroy, spent the first four days enjoying all that London has to offer—including St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, Trafalgar Square, the British Museum, the London Eye and the Churchill War Rooms. The evenings were dedicated to enjoying British cuisine and the London arts scene, and included productions of Les Miserables and School of Rock in London’s West End.

“The experience of traveling abroad with teachers and friends is an extraordinary one, and it was incredibly gratifying to witness how much a trip like this broadens horizons and deepens our understanding of our place in the world,” said Mr. Fortunato, who was accompanied by his own children, Matty and Katie. “In everything we do at Blair, we encourage our students to become global citizens who are confident about who they are and how they interact with the world around them. Trips like this are critical to introducing the idea of global citizenship outside of Blair and building on all of the skills students are learning in the classroom.”

Among the trip highlights was a dinner presentation and discussion on Brexit, which, with a European Union (EU) withdrawal deadline looming at the end of March, was unfolding in real time while the Blair group toured the United Kingdom’s capital city. “We capped a great day spent exploring London with an in-depth discussion about the political, social and economic ramifications of Brexit as negotiations between Britain and the EU continued,” Mr. Fortunato said. “To be living through this moment in British history was pretty special for all of us.” That moment was made even more poignant by the fact that Mr. Fortunato was in London in summer 2016 with a different group of Blair students when the news initially broke that more than half of British citizens had voted in favor of England leaving the EU.

After five days in London, the group boarded the Eurostar train bound for Paris, where they took a walking tour along the Seine and visited Notre Dame, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. The day-trip included excellent Parisian cuisine before students and teachers returned to London to explore more tourist attractions, including the city’s famous parks and museums. Other excursions included trips to Stonehenge and Windsor, the latter of which included a tour of the University of Oxford. The trip concluded with a formal afternoon tea and a farewell gathering at which travelers shared their most meaningful and impactful moments.

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