39 pupils, four staff, one alumni event, five nights, two unbelievable cities and 56,000 steps…


An early start for the group saw us all gather for the very first time on the bus at the Sports Centre car park… anticipation and excitement hung thick in the foggy morning air. For the pupils, this was anticipation for the adventure ahead – for the teachers, I’m sure the smiles were somewhat behind gritted teeth, as they worried about forgotten passports, lost luggage and other potential disasters… Heathrow saw delays but any disappointment was sweetened by a celebrity encounter at the check-in desks, namely Reece James the star Chelsea player. The excitement failed to cease, as we found ourselves on the same flight to JFK as the footballer! We arrived in New York City as the sun was setting and the city lights appeared in waves upon the skyscrapers that rose on either side of us. The evening saw a trip from the hotel into the famous Flatiron district for a meal and an opportunity to take in the sights of the concrete jungle in which we found ourselves.

United Nations Headquarters


On Friday the noisy morning bustle on the streets below us was the only thing that managed to summon the group of jet-lagged teenagers from their bunk beds. Fuelled by breakfast bagels, burritos and iced coffees, we set off on the journey walking north up the streets of Manhattan, eventually arriving at the United Nations Headquarters building. We were given a tour around the HQ by incredibly knowledgeable guides who were passionate about the work of the UN. We were even lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a live debate that was occurring in the General Assembly chamber. The group walked away feeling inspired and energized for the rest of the trip.

Next, we walked to Grand Central station which the Gossip Girl fans among us enjoyed thoroughly. Our first attempt at navigating the New York Subway led us to the very south of Manhattan Island, where we were greeted by local legend and trip icon, Renée. She walked and led us around all the sights Lower Manhattan has to offer, including the Stock Exchange, Trump Building, the Charging Bull, Wall Street and Battery Park. Her insights and knowledge were second to none and we were all fascinated by the history of the area and the stories she shared with us. This was a trip highlight for us, and no doubt her thick New Jersey accent will live on in our memories for years to come whenever we remember our New York trip.

She finished off the tour by leaving us at Ground Zero, the 9/11 memorial and museum, for us to explore and take in for the rest of the day. The museum is special and deeply moving. The giant pits in the shadow of the Twin Towers stunned us to silence, and a visit to the museum below the ground was very emotional but one for which we were all grateful. Friday was wrapped up with a trip to the iconic Times Square. Dinner at the Dave and Busters arcade and shopping pit-stops at Sephora and the likes culminated in the ultimate NYC experience and we all went back to the hotel exhausted!


Our final day in New York began with another early start, to make the most of the incredible city. We headed straight down to the ferry terminal at Battery Park, and boarded a ferry that took us across to Liberty Island, the home of Lady Liberty. A hiccup saw the group somewhat separated, however we managed to be reunited at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. This was fascinating as we delved into learning more about the historic roots of the country. The museum was originally the building that processed all incoming immigrants into the United States so is a core monument of ages past. We saw the dorm rooms in which the immigrants stayed while processed, the procedures they endured and many other features that were so interesting, including DIY citizenship quizzes!

A short trip back to the hotel to collect our bags saw the end of this stint of the trip, and just like that, we were on our way to Washington DC. The bus journey took us through the rest of the day, and upon arrival, those brave enough embarked on a journey of their own: the Midnight Walk with Mr MacEwen to the impressive Jefferson Memorial illuminated by the night lights of the capital city.


Sunday saw another eye-opening day which got off to a rather damp and drizzly start, however, the daytime views up and down the National Mall made up for this. We walked to the west end of the plaza and met with our guide, Becca, who showed us around the incredible Lincoln Memorial statue, as well as the poignant Korean and Vietnam War Memorials. We then continued East and caught our first glimpse of the White House, disappointingly containing no President Biden, although the occasional helicopter noises overhead did fool many of us into thinking his arrival may be impending. It was not. Nevertheless, we carried on to visit the Washington Monument which stood towering over the city wherever we seemed to be.

Street vendor food and DC merchandise in hand, we visited the impressive National Museum of African American History and Culture, a Smithsonian Institute Museum, to learn about African American roots in the country, as well as the continuing impact that they have on American society today, especially in areas such as music and sports. Finally, we walked to the National Archives which gave us a glimpse of the original constitution of the United States.

A key part of our course, it was very special to see the original Constitution document, including the actual signatures and handwriting of Alexander Hamilton and other founding fathers. We walked away, with more merchandise from the gift shop than we probably needed, exhausted but ready for the excitement of Super Bowl Saturday Night!! We celebrated the special event by having dinner out in the city, followed by toffee apples and ice creams at Kilwin’s. Eventually, we headed back to the hotel, needing some sleep to prepare us for an exciting final day.


The final day of the Politics trip rolled around, and another grey day in the capital loomed outside our windows. But nothing could dampen our spirits as this was the day many had been anticipating as we were visiting the Supreme Court. Upon arrival, having passed rigorous security checks, we attended a talk in the main court chamber. We learned all about the operation of the court as well as the history and architecture of the actual building.

The young clerks and assistants then took us in groups around the building, giving us insider access to the coolest and most exclusive areas. We saw floating staircases, the private basketball court used by the justices, the law library, as well as lifts that each had their operator inside who helped you get to where you needed! Finally, we attended a Q&A session with Justice Neil Gorsuch, which was enormously special as we were able to ask him questions and listen to what he had to say. Not only did this give us a multitude of useful insights to aid us in our A level studies, but the experience was truly once-in-a-lifetime and unforgettable. Finally, we had privileged access to his office and chambers to see where he works on a day-to day basis where we also met his Law Clerks and office team that help run the show behind the scenes.

Sadly, this is where our journey came to an end and as we travelled home that afternoon, we waved farewell to an incredibly special experience and one that we will never forget. Thank you to all that helped organise and run the trip; Mr Barbuti, Dr Rees, Ms Edwards, Mrs Best and of course Mr MacEwen.

Evie (J)