A group of pupils from Strathallan, one of Scotland’s top independent schools, rounded off participating in New York’s world famous Tartan Day Parade with a visit to a Bronx school with a trans-atlantic connection to the Perthshire school.
27 pupils aged from 13-18 years old, including members of the Strathallan’s pipe band, folk group and girls’ choir, flew out to the Big Apple on the 8th April for four days and packed a lot of unforgettable experiences into their full itinerary. This included the pupils participating in New York’s Tartan Day Parade on April 9th where they marched, in pouring rain, down 6th Avenue from Bryant Park to Central Park.
The wet weather did little to dampen the spirits of the pupils and their teachers as they soaked up an incredible atmosphere as the Strathallan Pipe Band played for the crowds. Craig Muirhead, Piping Instructor at Strathallan and member of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers commented:
“The weather was pretty horrific, but it all added to the experience and we had a fantastic time marching through Manhattan. We saw a lot of incredible sights, from marching dogs to people dressed as Vikings, so the Parade itself was very relaxed and a lot of fun. We all thoroughly enjoyed it."
After being inspired by Tartan Week’s informality and sense of fun, trip organiser and Assistant Director of Music, Neil Hamilton, realised there was a lot of different cultural experiences that could be incorporated into the visit, including linking up with a school in the Bronx area of New York. Neil explained:
“We had a really amazing itinerary of activities for our trip to New York. We started off performing at the wonderful and atmospheric Tartan Day Parade, then experienced a range of tourist attractions and activities, from a Mets basketball game and Les Miserables to the Rockefeller Centre and Staten Island.”
“We thought it would be a great learning and cultural experience for the pupils to visit another school. Ahead of the trip, we got in touch with one of our alumni, Jindra Zitek, who left Strathallan in 2001. He now sits on the Board of Directors at a school in the Bronx called the AMS II New Visions Chartered School (Advanced Maths and Science II).
“We arranged with Jindra to visit the school. When we arrived, we were greeted by cheerleaders, gospel singers and enjoyed a workshop with pupils before everyone sang Amazing Grace together. It was a really special moment.”
After the success of their New York adventure, Strathallan hope to make the Tartan Week excursion a bi-annual trip.
To find out more about Strathallan visit www.strathallan.co.uk