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A t the Palais Garnier in Paris, an animated and effervescent set of individuals forged a bond that would carry through for the rest of our time in France. As we danced and cheered Elliot on, we all soaked in the marvelous spontaneity of the moment. But before I get too far into our trip, let me back up a little.

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Its art, architecture and culinary delights help make France one of the most culturally rich countries in the world, and what 19 Country Day students and three chaperones experienced over 10 spring days exceeded all expectations. Sixteen hours after departing LCDS, the skyline of Paris emerged before our eyes and we caught our first glimpse of the majestic Eiffel Tower. The views in Paris seldom disappointed. Our thousand-foot climb up the Eiffel Tower was rewarded with the blustery nightscape of the City of Lights below.

This experience was only outdone by the view out the window of our boat as we traveled down the tranquil Seine another evening. Too soon, our time in Paris came to an end as we found ourselves aboard the fastest train in Europe, en route to the French Riviera. There, we traveled the Mediterranean Coast from the palm-lined streets of Nice to the royal Grimaldi palace of Monaco.

Atop the village of Saint-Paul de Vence, where painter Marc Chagall is buried, we beheld a surreal view of the Mediterranean on one side and The hottest Sacre-Coeur rich cougars Alps on the other. Our instructors were former national boules lyonnaises champions, and were awed when we split into two teams and became infected with a competitive fever. Our final day began at the Fragonard Perfume Factory, which left us all smelling like irises for the rest of our time abroad.

I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to be a part of this incredible trip to France. It would not have been possible without the careful planning of Madame Drobot, her husband Andrey and Ms. I made memories that I will never forget and became closer friends with everybody on the trip. Merci beaucoup! On the first day of class, Catherine Haddad walked into her room of fifth graders, introduced herself and promptly began teaching — just without speaking English.

Instead, she relied on Mandarin and gesticulation, pointing to or picking up the thing she was talking about. Then Haddad led a tone pronunciation exercise that combined the call-and-response of the blues with the rhythm and energy of a cheerleading routine.

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Throughout the lesson, Haddad asked questions and hands shot into air, their owners raring to answer. The curtain just fell on the first trimester of Chinese language instruction in Lower School. A big part of the challenge in teaching Mandarin to native English speakers is that Chinese is a tonal language. Whereas English, Spanish, French and other Indo-European languages rely on different words to convey different meanings, Chinese uses variations in pitch to wring multiple meanings from a single word or syllable. Another obvious difference between Mandarin, the most widely spoken Chinese dialect, and English is a writing system that uses pictograms instead of the Latin alphabet.

She introduced the idea of tones by having her students speak English using Mandarin inflections. Expanding Mandarin instruction to the fifth grade is the realization of a goal Haddad and the school have shared since she began teaching at Country Day in Horizons is a national organization that partners with independent schools and colleges to help low-income students realize their academic potential.

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The group comprised 14 students eligible for free or reduced lunch, two-thirds of whom tested at grade level while one-third tested below. The program is free for students. Those students, who are just learning to read, and some at more advanced levels than others, averaged an 8-point increase in both of the language areas Horizons tested. Several students doubled their scores over the course of the six weeks.

Some were more eager than others, but none of them had any swim skills on the first day and by the last day, everybody had something. One little boy was even swimming freestyle. It was fantastic and it looked like there might be Olympic swimming in his future. Reed surveyed parents after the program ended. A broken leg kept Reed much more on the sidelines than she had planned. They had to commit two weeks at minimum, being here from every day, being in the pool with the kids every day, going on field trips, cleaning up spills and taking kids to the bathroom. I have to give them so much credit.

On September 19, she will host the first of Saturday reunions for the recent gr, filled with fun educational activities for the kids plus a workshop for parents and a meal. Pediatrician Dr. Vinitha Amanullah will present to parents about health and wellness, and there are also plans for a special holiday The hottest Sacre-Coeur rich cougars in December, which volunteers will help with. Like Horizons on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Emerging from the Naples airport into the fresh Mediterranean breeze, Lancaster and its foot of snow seemed far behind us. After all, 20 students and three LCDS teachers had crossed an ocean, mountain ranges and several other countries to reach this point, so we nodded and agreed: We had earned some fair weather.

We met our unforgettable tour guide, Stephania, and were off. She gave us nonstop facts and anecdotes about Italy through a tinny microphone as the bus rocked on its wheels around every corner, whizzing us through Naples toward Sorrento. Everywhere we looked, the scene begged for its own postcard: the colorful little block houses with their laundry out on the line, the orchards polka-dotted with their famous The hottest Sacre-Coeur rich cougars and oranges, the sea shore rocky and blue. And it was only the first day.

We were not disappointed — despite having a special bus with a presumably d driver, we still flirted with the cliff edge from time to time, trying to catch a glimpse of the azure water and sheer terraces below. In Amalfi, we sampled more gelato and some super-hot Italian chilies by the shore of the Mediterranean.

Afterward, we visited Greek temples in Paestum and the accompanying museum with plenty of Grecian urns which were certainly ode-worthy. Vesuvius had loomed in our sight since reaching Sorrento, and we finally understood its awesome power in the ruins of Pompeii. The eerily immaculate preservation of buildings, frescoes and bodies told a colorful story about how people lived when the volcano erupted, entombing the city in ash and freezing time in 79 A.

With the help of Mr. Bostock, the Latin students were even able to translate some of the Latin remnants scattered around. We said arrivederci to the coast and headed for Rome and the Vatican. The day ended with some good old exercise at gladiator camp, where we practiced swordplay, javelin throwing and archery, culminating with a battle between everyone and the net-throwing retiarius — played by your correspondent!

We saw another archaeological wonder in the ancient port of Ostia, once bustling with Roman trade. We had no time to spare — andiamo! Hopefully the coins we tossed into the substitute basin will still guarantee our return. We ended the day where Julius Caesar ended his last.

The wine cellar at the restaurant where we ate dinner is thought to be where Caesar had a rough day on the Ides of March. Certified gladiators that we were, our final day saw us at the Coliseum, marveling at the arena where thousands died for the entertainment of commoners and emperors alike.

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From there, we wound a historical path through once-lavish palaces and temples in ruins. As the sun set on the cobblestone streets of Tivoli, our little group — which had become quite close-knit — reminisced about the trip that would be over much too soon. We passed a ball of string back and forth, naming our favorite parts, laughing and shaking our he. Then, we cut the string, so each of us got a souvenir better than any gift-shop postcard: a simple string bracelet, and memories to last a lifetime.

Of course, the trip would not have been possible without Mr. Bostock, Mrs. Oravec and Mr. We would all like to thank them for taking us on such an incredible journey and we would also like to apologize for petting the stray animals. An arrival our luggage failed to make. We met up with our warm and energetic guide, Albert, and his partner Monse, a tour-guide-in-training.

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Together, their infectious energy and trendy, European style made them an ideal pair. We headed into the medieval quarter to behold the Plaza Mayor, a magnificent square, dotted with small shops and cafes. While many of us were instantly opposed to this obvious cruelty toward animals, our local guide encouraged us to consider the mistreatment that animals face in the American meat industry. Spanish bulls are raised in beautiful, sprawling ranches where they have ample space to roam whereas cattle in America are physically restrained to fatten them up.

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This take on a Spanish tradition gave us a new perspective to consider, to say the least. We rounded off the meal with some Magnum ice cream bars, giving us energy to tackle our next round of touring. The painting is jarring, evoking a sensation of utter confusion and chaos.

It effectively captures the horror of war and deserves its status as one of the greatest paintings in the world. Javi spent the remainder of the weekend touring with us and showing off his beautiful city.

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On Sunday we enjoyed an excursion to Segovia, a small city where a 2,year-old Roman aqueduct runs right through the center of town and the site where Queen Isabel was crowned isthe Alcazar. This stunning castle inspired the famous Cinderella castle in Disney World. The structure, built into the side of a mountain, is beautifully adorned with mosaics and colorful frescos; however, we all agreed that the monument serves more to glorify Franco than those who perished in the war.

Back in Madrid, we prepared for the most highly anticipated event of the trip: attending a Spanish soccer match. We encountered some rather enraged fans when Valencia tied up the game, but it was a great game nonetheless.

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