Pine Crest Junior Classical League Set For State Forum in Orlando 2018

I was brought to Pine Crest to develop a Latin program and in our third year, we are showing signs of exciting growth.

Not only have we hired another teacher, to teach Latin I Honors and Latin II Honors classes, we also offer Latin III Honors and will expand to AP Latin next year. We also have a lively JCL chapter here known as the Pine Crest Junior Classical League or PCJCL. It has taken some time to develop, but this year we participated in our first ever regional forum at Northeast High School and we jumped into certamen competition at both Level II and Advanced. We came away with 4 medals for 6 participants – 3 bronzes for a 3rd place finish in certamen Advanced and 1 gold medal for classical art in the academic testing category. Not too bad!

We have just been approved for our trip to Orlando to participate in the state forum. It will be our first time and my second (attended with a small contingent from my Somerset program at the time). We plan on heading up to Disney the first day, then being well-represented at the convention over that Thursday, Friday, and Saturday period in April. This will build camaraderie as well as publicize the fact that Pine Crest Latin is a program on the rise!

Another Year, Another Trip to NYC for AP Art History

This is becoming a true tradition! With more students than ever before in the program (56 students which is up from previous years) we have a big troop headed to New York in March.

The idea behind the trip is to give our students the opportunity to walk through museums having learned about these amazing works of art throughout the year. They will have a deep and enriching experience as they get to see these works in person while being immersed in the excitement of New York City.

We have been doing this trip for years and I am proud to have been able to successfully keep it going. This will be our second year in a row (we had an off year in 2016) and we are adding the Whitney to our tour of the Met, MoMA, Guggenheim, and Frick museums. It’s going to be a lot of fun for the kids and I always look forward to their expressions when they first see an image that they had been looking at on a screen or textbook all year!

AP Art History Tours New York City 2017

Two years ago, I “inherited” a group of students in my first year at Pine Crest to take to New York City to tour the major museums for our AP Art History class. It was a terrific experience and it was one I was looking to repeat each and every year with my students.

Sadly, last year, due to the terror attacks in Paris – and heightened security alerts in New York City – we had to cancel the trip. I did try to create an alternative to Chicago, but there just wasn’t enough time to really get the trip fully mapped and planned out.

This year, we started early and got the trip together. The students who were in AP Art History last year were also invited onto this year’s trip – and with 29 students, we packed our bags. We toured the MoMA, the Guggenheim, the Met, and the Frick collection while also seeing “Sunday in the Park with George” on Broadway, starring Jake Gyllenhaall.

We started with guided tours at our first two stops – the MoMA and the Guggenheim – to help give our students an overview of what the museum experience could be like. It is important to invite students to look at art but to taper expectations – there is no reason to expect to see every single work of art in any museum. As the saying goes, museums are like libraries and you wouldn’t expect to read all of the books in one visit.

We packed a lot of art in our tour of NYC – walking around 20 miles in our time there. We stayed at the Blakely on 55th and walked through Central Park to our destination, the Guggenheim on our 2nd day in the city.

We also made a stop across town to lower Manhattan to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum on our 3rd day, which was a very moving experience for everyone. We all have our stories to tell; the students were mostly very young when the attack occurred but their interactions with the museum helped shape the event for them from a passing thing into something more tangible. What was at stake, I hoped, was the concept of a museum and what role it could serve. At what point would we be memorializing an event, and doing it service, and at what point could we go to far?

After the dust settled, the students made it back to sunny Fort Lauderdale with a grander experience to build on. The artwork that we had been studying all year long became something real and tangible and, in some ways, was like meeting a celebrity in person. The works were larger than life and they were free to get a closer look and a feel for the work as the hands of the artists were there to share their stories. We will look to do it again next year and, maybe, in bigger fashion.

Completed AP Art History Trip to NYC 2015

Since recently taking over the AP Art History program at Pine Crest, it also fell to me to lead the tour to New York City. It’s a tough job…as they say!

This trip definitely proved to be an amazing opportunity and experience for our students. The fact that this is sort of a long-standing tradition at Pine Crest – dare I say, even a right of passage – is a testament to the school’s vision. To have the opportunity to see these artistic visions in person and experience them in a museum setting will prove to be a formational moment for our students.

We started our odyssey of art after we landed at La Guardia. We proceeded to the Met directly from the airport in order to maximize the time we had in New York City. We spent a good three and a half hours there and then hiked on down to the MoMA for an evening visit. After closing the place down, we then head back to our hotel and grabbed dinner.

The next day we walked from our 55th street hotel all the way up to the Guggenheim, seeing Central Park to our left along the way. We spent a few hours there and then walked back to our hotel area for lunch in the snow – in late March, by the way.

We spent the evening out for dinner and then caught a Broadway play. We closed down for the night, had a nice easy morning with a great breakfast, then loaded back onto the buses for our trip back home.

Three days, three major museums – thousands of artistic works. Almost as many selfies and tweets along the way. The students enjoyed their time in New York; they took to posing like their favorite works and I made sure to drill them whenever I could (which is probably why I roamed alone in the museums!). Truly a unique experience and a wonderful opportunity not just for our students, but even for myself, as their teacher, to become reacquainted with some of the most important works in our field. It had been some time since I have been to NYC, after all.