China Highlights Video

As presented to the Tuxedo Park School Board of Trustees at the annual Freshman Class Dinner with the Board.

China 2017

March 11, 2017
"After a LONG flight, we've arrived safely in Beijing, met up with our guide, Jacky, and are headed to the hotel." - Mr. Feinberg
March 12, 2017
"Today in China, we started off with a walk around Tiananmen Square. After crossing the widest road in China, we walked through the gates and into the Forbidden City. In the city, we saw the King's Throne and a lot of cranes statue. When we were finished walking through the "not so forbidden city," we were hungry so we went to lunch.  Then, we took a short drive to the Summer Palace and walked around the perimeter of it. The group then packed up and took an hour drive to the peking duck restaurant, which was great." - Matt K.
March 13, 2017
"On our last day in Beijing, we were very busy. After breakfast, we headed straight to The Great Wall, and all of us climbed up the steep staircase to get to the entrance of the wall. Everyone took tons of pictures and took in the unbelievable view! Our next stop was the tea house. We sat down at a large table and were served a few types of traditional Chinese teas. After our tea ceremony, we went to a Wuhan where we took rickshaws to dinner. We were invited inside a local's house and were served a homemade meal! Then, we were entertained by the number one cricket fighter in China (Ben's new hero)! The crickets and grasshoppers he showed us were huge, but I think we were all most impressed with how he captured our attention so well. Overall, it was a great way to end our time in Beijing!" - Rachel P.
March 14, 2017
"After our early wake up call and breakfast, we were off to the airport to go to Xi'an. We landed at two and immediately went to bike on the city wall of Xi'an. The ride offered a nice view of the city and some good exercise. After returning to the hotel, we sat down for a unique dinner style called Hot Pot, where you boil your own food at the table and customize your meal. Our local tour guide, Bruce, took us on a night tour of Xi'an, showing us the sleepless street, light and water show, and the pagodas. The light show was incredibly special; it is the largest fountain in Asia and has water jets dancing to the music. Our first day in Xi'an was very relaxing and incredible." - Dylan S.
March 15, 2017
"For our only full day in Xi'an, we went all over. We started off the day visiting the terra-cotta warriors. Although they are still being excavated, there was plenty to see. Our next stop was an art gallery where we took a calligraphy class. Some of us were better than others, but we all had fun. Afterwards, we hopped on the bus and headed to the Muslim Quarter. There were many variations of food being sold but, unfortunately, we could not buy any. We all practiced our bargaining skills with the shop owners. To conclude the day, we went to a Chinese buffet for a full dinner. Tonight everyone will pack their bags and prepare for our early flight tomorrow." - Ben W.
March 16, 2017
"Today in China, we flew from Xi'an to Guilin. After our flight, we drove to a small restaurant. We ate authentic rice noodles, a famous dish from this city. After this, we took a tour of the countryside. We rode in trucks, and we were able to experience the life of many locals. Lastly, we went to see the show Impressions of Lui San Jie. Spotlights lit up the mountains and rivers as dancers and singers performed on the river." - Lana U.
March 17, 2017
"Today started with a late wake up call at 7:30, a rest that was much needed. After breakfast, we headed off to the bamboo boats on Meeting Dragon with beautiful scenery, which is now my favorite part of the whole trip so far. Then we headed for a hike up Moon Hill, where we saw amazing views once we reached the top. After that, we all had lunch at the cafe at the base of the mountain. Then we went back to the hotel until we went to West Street for some shopping. For dinner, we had pizza since Jacky thought that we would be missing American food. To finish the day we went Cormorant fishing." - Tom S.
March 18, 2017
"Today we had an early wake up call at 6 and left the hotel at 7:30 heading for the airport. The flight felt short, and we were in Shanghai in no time. Right after we arrived in Pu Dong, we went to the very top of the World Financial Center building, which is the second highest in Shanghai. Surprisingly, Lana (who has a fear of heights) stood on the very edge of the glass floor and leaned up against the window while on the railing. After leaving the World Financial Center, we went to the hotel. We took a short rest, and at 6, we were on the first floor eating dinner. Next was the tour on the Huangpu river. Jacky told us the weather was perfect for the boat ride. The city looked incredible with all of the lights on the buildings, and we all took some great photos. We are now heading back to the hotel, where we will all have a long sleep because of our late wake up call tomorrow morning."- Owen D. 
March 19, 2017
"To escape Shanghai rush hour, we left the hotel at 9 am, which is later than usual. We started off the day by walking along the river bank, where Jack and Dylan were bombarded with paparazzi by some local women. After walking along the river bank for 20 minutes, we headed to the silk factory. At the silk factory, we had a tour of the factory and got to purchase silk items made at the factory. When we finished shopping at the silk factory we headed over to Nanjing street, where we ate lunch. The Buddhist Temple was the next stop on our agenda. After our tour at the Buddhist Temple we walked through the Yu Garden; my favorite part of the garden was the Koi fish in the ponds. The path in the garden took us to a market in Old Shanghai, where we did more shopping. Now the afternoon was coming to an end and it was time for dinner, so we headed back to the hotel to eat dinner. Then to conclude our day, we went to watch the Shanghai acrobatic show. Tomorrow is our last full day in China and will be another amazing day." - Peggy S.
March 20, 2017
"We started our last full day in China with a 7:30 wake up. After breakfast ,we hopped on the bus and began our 2-hour drive to Suzhou, a small city outside of Shanghai. First, we visited the beautiful Master of the Nets Garden, which was amazing even in the rainy weather. Suzhou is known as the "Venice of the East," so naturally we took boat rides through some of the many canals. The rowers entertained us by singing traditional folk songs, but none of us had any clue what they meant! After the boat ride, we had a delicious lunch at a local noodle shop, followed by a stroll down a 400 year old shopping street, which was highlighted by a stop at the ice cream stand. The rest of the night will consist of dinner at the hotel and getting ready for our flight home tomorrow!" - Jack F.

Freshmen Work Together and Climb to New Heights

Grade 9 Kicks Off Year with Trip to the Adirondacks
The Freshman Class and their advisors spent the first week of school camping, hiking, and canoeing in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondacks. This trip has been a perennial favorite for TPS freshmen, and this year was no exception. Adirondack National Park is a beautiful, expansive area, and the views from the mountaintops are breathtaking, but this was merely the backdrop for the orientation trip this year.
As soon as we arrived on Tuesday, students began working together to setup camp, start a fire, and prepare dinner. The following morning we set off early to hike the rocky face of Mt. Algonquin, the second highest peak in the Adirondacks at 5,115 ft. This is a particularly challenging hike with steep rock scrambles. Nevertheless, with teamwork, grit, and a positive attitude, the group made it to the summit just after noon. We concluded the trip canoeing through Middle and Lower Saranac Lake.
Whether they were washing dishes, assisting a classmate in a canoe, or sharing stories around the campfire, the freshmen approached everything with a sense of humor, coalesced as a group, and truly made the most of the trip. The next step after taking the trip to Frost Valley in Grades 7 and 8, the Grade 9 experience in the Adirondacks provides students with a unique opportunity to connect with their classmates as well as their teachers, and the physical and mental challenges help prepare them to take on the challenges of the new school year with confidence.

Freshman Year at Tuxedo Park School

It is important to recognize the benefits the Freshman Year provides, including rigorous coursework, small classes, leadership opportunities, and outstanding educational travel. The Freshmen begin the year with an orientation trip to the high peaks region of the Adirondacks, and later in the year, they conclude their coursework on Chinese history with a trip to China to observe, experience, and delve deeper into the culture they have been studying. (Read more about the China trip below!) Based on our experience, the academic, social/emotional, and leadership confidence gained as a result of the Freshman Year pay dividends in high school and beyond. Listed below are key points shared from alumni, parents, and faculty alike:
  • The quality of the academic program for the Freshman Year is a vigorous course of high school study, comparable to ninth grade programs at the most competitive secondary schools.
  • Social restructuring as a result of matriculating eighth graders provides a tremendous opportunity for growth as our Freshmen break their traditional social roles and forge new relationships with old peers.
  • Small class sizes in the Freshman Year offer unparalleled student-to-teacher ratios, individualized attention, and a safe environment to take intellectual risks.
  • Participants in the Freshman Year often cite their close relationships with faculty and confidence with adults as instrumental in their future self-advocacy and success.
  • Tuxedo Park School Freshman Year participants enter the sophomore year at their respective schools with a level of confidence and self-assurance gained from small class sizes, close relationships with faculty, and unique, specialized opportunities.
  • Students entering public school have seen positive results on NY State Regents and proficiency exams, often allowing for placement into honors and Advanced Placement courses.
  • Students who participate in the Freshman Year see marked improvement in SSAT scores in comparison to their eighth grade year, as well as an increased rate of acceptance to their first choice schools.

Freshman Trip to China

In the spring of the 2008-2009 school year, the idea of a ninth grade trip to China was conceived. The freshman class of 2010 made the inaugural trip visiting Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai in March 2010. These three cities are respectively the political capital, the historic capital, and the financial capital of China.

Later, the trip was trip was extended from nine to twelve days so Yangshao in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region could be added. Yangshao is rural south China replete with paddy fields, abundant fruits and vegetables, and groves of sweet osmanthus in a unique and spectacular karst landscape.

Tiananmen Square in Beijing is flanked on the east by the national museum, the west by the Great Hall of the People, the south by Mao Zedong's mausoleum, and on the north by the Palace Museum, the Forbidden City. It is vast. It is meant to inspire awe and by its sheer scale and the presence of huge numbers of people, it does. Imperial China is also represented by the Summer Palace and off to the north the Great Wall. Forests of high-rise apartment buildings and a nested set of ring roads filled with traffic say clearly that history is not all China has to offer.

What do you think of when someone says Xi'an: Emperor Qin Huang Di's army of terra cotta soldiers? The Wild Goose Pagoda? Biking on the city wall? Yes to all.

Yangshao: those funny shaped hills wreathed in mist? Moon Hill? Rafting on the Meets Dragon River. Of course.

And then there is Shanghai with the French Concession reminding you of the past and the ultra-modern architecture of Pu Dong of the future. The Astoria Hotel and the Garden Bridge of the past and the mag-lev (magnetic levitation) train of the future.

Unmentioned are over one billion people, the different foods of each stop, the thought that a side trip to Sichuan would be splendid, and so on and so on.

The trip is the culmination of a survey course in the history of China in which, "We learned that the Duke of Zhou was a paragon, a model for all rulers. We learned that the Master (Confucius) said, “Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application?” and that during the Three Kingdoms period the incident called Straw Boats Borrowing Arrows presented a novel way that a wily strategist found to resupply his troops. We learned that dynasties begin with the virtuous and wise and according to the official histories always end with a “bad last emperor,” and The Dynasties Song taught us the dynastic order from the Shang to Mao Zedong. We read The Great Learning. It was an autumn of discovery. "

"The winter term addresses the history of China in the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries that is the last one hundred years of the Qing Dynasty, the era of the Republic 1911-1949, and of the People's Republic from 1949 to the present. "

With an itinerary as exciting as the one below, it is easy to see why the trip to China is high on the list of memorable moments of the freshman year at Tuxedo Park School.

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