The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

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Behind the Scenes of Literary London: From Page to Stage


One of the greatest advantages of attending Poly Prep is the distinctive opportunities it affords— its sprawling campus serves as a haven for learning and a diverse set of extracurricular activities, allowing athletes to play sports on its two fields, people to make ceramics on pottery wheels, and, the cherry-on-top being the newest addition to Poly’s facilities: an arts center. However, there is an integral aspect of education that is often forgotten: the world outside of Poly. In an effort to expose students to other cultures, traditions, and lifestyles, trips are often implemented in a student’s schedule. Over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, a group of eighth graders traveled to London with the school. The trip was unique among other middle school endeavors because it was overseas, and also served as an extension to the book they had read in 7th grade, Romeo and Juliet.  

There is this whole world to explore and a place to apply all the things that students are learning here.

— Lee Marcus

English teacher Lee Marcus said the trip was born when he visited London in January of 2023. During his stay, the administration sent out a curricular travel form, and he thought it would be a great experience for middle-schoolers to visit London to help the curriculum come to life. Marcus then began a 7-month journey to plan the finalized six-day trip. He explained that he worked closely with English teacher Laura Caldwell and drama teacher Andrew Cooper-Leary to finalize the trip proposal. Marcus was also in communication with travel partners who helped him compile everything from the best place to dine to the best acting class, ultimately putting together a complete itinerary for the trip.  

The students underwent an extensive application process to be selected for the trip. At first, the trip was inclusive of 7th and 8th graders, however, because of an influx of responses on the initial interest form, it was then limited to just 24 eighth graders. From there, recipients were asked to write an essay and were then chosen by lottery. 

There were numerous activities planned while the 8th graders visited London. For example, one day, students visited “The London Dungeon,” which revealed the life of a prisoner during different time periods in London’s history, information about the plague and the rule of kings and queens from a civilian’s perspective. The students also saw two different live performances. At one point, the group even saw Shakespeare’s first folios — the first printed version of his plays at The British Library. It “sounds like a little thing — it’s just a historical book,” explained Marcus. “Ultimately it’s a way for them to bond over the importance of how this one person’s work has impacted so many different works of literature in the future”

Marcus said that the London trip also brought together a diverse group of students, united by a shared interest. Marcus feels that it is important for students to connect with people that are outside their comfort zone.

The Polygon interviewed several students who went on the trip, and their responses were positive. 8th-graders Caleb C.  and Joshua L. both described the trip as “well planned.” Caleb went on to say that “being in a very historical place with people I’m friends with was a very enjoyable experience.” 

Marcus hopes that the London trip isn’t an anomaly among other middle school opportunities. He told The Polygon that he is finalizing a proposal for another trip and hopes to improve that version for the incoming 8th graders. “I think what [the London trip] did for the student is just it brought the learning outside of the classroom, and I think it’s so important. We can get caught in this Poly Prep bubble,” said Marcus. “There is this whole world to explore and a place to apply all the things that students are learning here.”

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