Wednesday, 24 October 2018

USA Exchange - Day 5 - Ste Gen Tour

Monday Morning and back with the kids. They were all looking a little tired which is fantastic to see. They have all been doing so much with their host families and had an amazing time. Our plans for the day were to have the first hour in lessons followed by seeing some of the history of Ste Genevieve.
I wanted to go and see the PAC, Performing Arts Centre as Ted had said that it was amazing and with my background in the West End I was keen to go and have a look. On the way, we had a little tour of other areas including the Auto Workshop where Shelley's son was working and it was a really fully equipped car workshop. We also saw another example of celebrating success in the school. The boys' football teams players names showcased at the side of the road and the girls' volleyball names on the other. These boards so that they are held in really high regard and well celebrated in school.

When I reached the 'PAC' I couldn't believe my eyes. It was an amazing building, with huge classrooms for their band, and choirs on opposite sides of the main auditorium. There were over 100 students in the band practise room with space for instruments to be stored and rehearsals to take place. I imagine you could get a whole symphony in there at once. The opposite side had a large class of singers learning a new song as part of the choir. The main auditorium was incredible. Permanent seating for over 1000 people a full-size stage and plenty of space in the wings for set and scenery. A large green room is also part of this amazing setup including a fully functional technical area too. This put some of the West End theatres in London to shame with how amazing this building is.

On from the 'PAC' is the school's football field with bleachers on both sides, a running track around it and the main surface is astroturf allowing use in all weathers. I loved this field and was again in awe of what the school has. I can only imagine what a game is like on this field with the band, cheerleaders, and most of the school community coming out to watch and support their team.

The historical tour of Ste Gen started at the Cemetary in town. Our tour guide Mickey was there dressed in traditional 19th Century wear. She started off talking about the cemetery and I was concerned with how our students would respond to a tour of the cemetery. However, our tour guide was brilliant, the amount of history that she shared was exceptional and the town has worked really hard to confirm it's history by getting some ground penetrating radar in to confirm locations of graves in the grounds. The story that stuck with me the most was about Senator Linn and his wife that had been buried in the cemetery and there had been a reason to move him and his wife to the new cemetery he had to been moved and then the town put a fence around the outside of the old cemetery they were moved back. What made me the most amused about this story is that having been buried in a lead coffin so he had been mummified and then the town decided to parade the local school children round so that they could see him, this before he was reburied for the third time, this time by the Catholic church back into his original grave. Not bad for a man that was a Baptist! My students were unimpressed with my laughter at this story but with all the things that happened to him after death, it was definitely not a rest in peace!

We then went on to look at one of the older properties in the town. The ghost stories about the house and its former occupants got under the skin of our students. This together with the fur pelts that were on show to explain the trade of the day the students were completely glued. I was really impressed with the amount of history in the town despite its relatively short history. There is far more to this town then I realised and I am really keen to come back and learn more.

After our lunch in the Anvil restaurant, we had time for one more of the historical properties to look at. Again we weren't disappointed with this and the explanation about the vertical log construction of houses and how the whole of the roof structure had been made without a single metal nail!

After the tour of Ste Gen and a catch up with the students, we were off to Jefferson City. Rhett was a finalist in the state teacher of the year competition after winning his region, and the evening was a banquet in their honour. This was an interesting evening as we surrounded by educators and those connected to education. The whole evening was a lavish banquet in a large hotel and I wondered where this would fit in the UK. I know the event had corporate sponsorship and these sponsors supported the event and also education in the state which we really don't have in the UK at all and I was left wondering if such events do occur and if they do would they be as lavish as these? This fits into my own little paradox from this trip, as I want to celebrate success, but in education, at least in the UK, money is so tight that I'd rather it was saved and spent on frontline teaching. I guess I'll have to ponder this some more to work out exactly what I will be completely happy with here.

No comments:

Post a comment