By Mary Langhill
A few years ago when our daughter was entering 4th grade, we decided we wanted her to go to a Christian school. We did some research, took some tours, and even had her take advantage of shadow programs. During this process, a Trinity family talked to us about their daughter’s school experiences and showed us pictures of her recent trip to England– yes, England. And that was the deciding vote… we had no idea how or when, but knew if we registered her with Trinity Lutheran School, she would have the opportunity to study in England.
Our questions were answered last fall, when the coordinator of the Independent Schools Cultural Association visited TLS and explained the program to us including the fact that our school was invited every other year. As a sixth grader, we knew she would be given this opportunity again after her eighth grade year, but we didn’t want to wait. She was the only member of her grade level on the trip, but the fantastic students in the higher grades included her in everything, and she had the time of her life!
So, besides an opportunity of a lifetime, what is ISCA…? It’s far more than the brochures describe. Yes, she visited a lot of historically significant locations in England; yes, she learned a lot about the culture of England and how that affected the culture of her own country; yes, she learned how to play cricket and rugby. But she also learned how to manage her money, how to get a 5 on a room inspection (maybe I should try this at home), and how to take responsibility for her own actions and possessions. Her teachers this year have commented on how much more she participates in discussions and how much her confidence level has increased in general. The friendships she made on her trip span the globe. On our way to the airport to drop her off, we asked her what she hoped to gain from this experience. She said she wanted to meet new friends. Goal accomplished. We do not regret sending her in 6th grade. We saw a personal growth from this trip that would not have happened at any local camp.
But wait, there’s more… Now, since she participated in ISCA England, she has been offered the opportunity to participate in ISCA Scotland. This trip will take place during Christmas break of her 8th grade year. This second trip is only offered to students who participated in the summer session in England. Any student who meets this criteria is invited back to Scotland even if they have already moved on to a different school, but we like that she will still be in Trinity. We have signed her up for this follow on trip. Participation in both programs opens an opportunity to apply as a counselor after she graduates from high school.
We never could have imagined that a chance discussion with a family prior to her 4th grade year has resulted in opportunities that will continue long after she graduates TLS. As for our daughter, she’s looking forward to her next adventure abroad already!
Mary Langhill is the mother of one daughter, and has been part of the Trinity family since 2016.