Martha’s Vineyard – Three pupils’ accounts

Three of our Y9 pupils recount their Martha’s Vineyard exchange experiences:


In the early hours of Thursday 19th October, Manchester Airport was bustling with 41 lucky students from year 9. These pupils were on their way to Martha’s Vineyard – taking part in the annual American Exchange trip. Accompanying the children were five teachers – Mrs Flanagan, Mr Gledhill, Mr Coleman, Miss Rutland, and the trip leader, Mr Norman. Our first flight was to Amsterdam, where we endured a rush through customs to reach the plane on time! From Amsterdam, we flew directly to Boston, Massachusetts. Once we arrived at Boston Logan Airport, we were greeted by a traditional, yellow public school bus. That bus took us to Cape Cod, from which we took a short ferry over to the island. At this point we were all very excited, but extremely tired – after all, we’d been travelling for over 24 hours! – so we all went home with our exchanges (who’d met us at the ferry terminal) and fell asleep.

The next morning, we all sleepily met at West Tisbury middle school, where we got onto a bus and took a tour of the Island. The tour was narrated by an islander named Tom Dresser. The tour took up most of the day and was really fun – especially learning about the culture and places on the island.

Over the weekend, we were left to do activities with our exchanges, like bowling, going to the beach, making campfires, and overall just having fun with our American families. On the Sunday, we all rendezvoused again at a hog roast at one of the farms on the island. It was a chance to meet up again before the activities later on in the week.

Written by Isobel G, Y9 Press Team

On the Monday of the Marthas Vineyard trip, we took a 45 minute ferry to the mainland and then a two-hour bus to Boston where we walked the freedom trail and learnt facts like: the Boston Massacre was actually a misunderstanding, and that the roof on the new state house is made from gold liberated from the south. After walking the freedom trail, we stopped at Faneuil Hall market where we spent a hour looking in the various shops and stalls

On the Tuesday, we took a bus to the east side of Marthas Vineyard where we took a ferry that lasted 1 minute and 30 seconds to a small island called Chappaquiddick that has a salt marsh, a Japanese garden and a long stretch of beach that contains a wide range of wildlife; we visited all three of these locations. The Japanese garden was full of beautiful plants and ponds. On the Tuesday night all the students, teachers and parents went to the school for an event called a pot luck. The pot luck involved every family bringing some food like brownies or pasta and then that food got put in a buffet for people to walked up to and took some food

On the Wednesday, we where originally meant to go whale watching, but unfortunately the weather was too windy. Instead of whale watching we went ice skating, ate pizza and watched the film Jaws which was filmed on the island. We did these activities with our American exchange and everyone really enjoyed the ice skating.

Written by Ben D, Y9 Press Team

The second to last day started just the same as any other for the pupils on the MV exchange. For me this meant: Wake up earlier than I wished and crawl to the breakfast table, eat quickly and get to the bus stop. Once on the American school bus (far superior to the buses we have here) that took us across the island to the school, the same questions I had been asked by the West Tisbury pupils for the last 4 days began to roll in: “Can you say fish and chips?” “Don I have an accent?” “Do you know the queen?” by now the answers had become habit….

The original plan was to go whale watching for the majority of the day, but due to the sea being far too violent a last-minute plan to plan was set in place. We spent the day in the school experiencing the life of a regular student. At the start of the day we had their version of form where because of the extra students we had to sit on the floor and take part in a general knowledge quiz with an over-excited teacher and a class trying to amuse her games. We then moved onto art and created sculptures based on 1st graders art – this was the most engaging lesson of the day. After this we had a short walk to our final lesson called social studies; we learnt about a company based in Boston providing housing to the homeless and in need and created cards to welcome them to their new houses.

The bell rang and we all eagerly met at the front of the school to be taken to the much-anticipated annual football game: England vs USA. We had never lost a game and we weren’t planning on starting now. It didn’t take long for us to score our first goal, the first of many, but the USA put up a strong fight and even scored one for their side. The final score was 5-1. After being put against each other we joined our American friends to eat an abundance of pizza and rejoice at our time spent in America.

The school day came to an end at 2:15 and we all went our separate ways being led by our exchanges, who knew the entirety of the island like the back of their hand. Me and my exchange went out into the town, for one last night of fun; for most of the time we wandered about eating Twinkies. So all and all it was a great last night to say good bye to the island. We got home via the bus and I shoved all my clothes into my suitcase (inevitably I left a few things scattered through his room). The morning was essentially the same, we arrived at the school with my suitcase this time.

We said our rushed goodbyes, many shed tears, and suddenly we were off – back on the same bus that brought us here then back on the same boat that brought us here. We were heading to Boston for one last trip for shopping and a little history lesson around the “freedom trail.”

We were let loose in a small block of Boston for a while; my personal mission was to buy any gifts I needed with the little money I had left. Shopping spree over, back on the bus and hurriedly drove to the airport, where we said our thanks to the driver, retrieved our bags and smoothly made it threw security. We were given an hour to buy food and talk among ourselves.

We arrived in Amsterdam with plenty of time and, as a result of this, we had to sit for what felt like hours in the airport with our body clocks completely disorientated. Finally our plane was ready and we took the short flight to familiar Manchester Airport, retrieved our bags once more, turned a corner and suddenly there were our parents and families. Our adventure had come to an abrupt end but it was unforgettable whilst it lasted. We all look forward to the WT pupils coming over here.

Written by Sam S, Y9 Press Team

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