Language and arts departments visit New York


Submitted photo

Students from the high school’s language department visited New York on a December first trip.

Lilly Guenther, Copy Editor

This December, Bellefonte High took on New York City again – not just once, but twice. Each group had the opportunity to explore different aspects of the big city. 

On Thursday, December 1, BHS language classes traveled to the city. The Spanish Department attended its tenth yearly trip to the Repertorio, a Spanish-language theater, to see the production “The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.”

“We try to go at least once a year to see a production in the Spanish language and pair it with other sightseeing opportunities in the city,” Spanish teacher Mrs. Emily Zimdahl-McManus (Profe) said. 

Profe helped plan the trip, polling students on which play to see, coordinating with the theater, planning the bus trip and roster, organizing lunch orders, and more. Although it was a lot of work, she thinks that the trip is worth it, as an educational opportunity for the students. 

“Not only did we discuss Spanish-speaking culture, since the main character [of the play] is from the Dominican Republic, but also urban/city culture compared to Bellefonte,” she said. 

The students ate lunch at Mexico Lindo, an authentic Mexican restaurant, and later had time to explore the city, including Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center, and Times Square. 

Senior Natalie Mattern, who attended the trip as a member of Spanish Honors Society, thought the trip was both fun and informative. 

“I love day trips to the city, so I jumped on the offer…I learned more vocabulary and traditions their culture has. I loved being with my friends in the city,” she said. 

Students from BHS Chinese classes had the opportunity to learn about another culture. These students learned about the practice of Buddhism at the Mahayana Temple, and then traveled through New York’s Chinatown. There they experienced authentic Chinese cuisine, Taiwanese Boba tea, and other aspects of this culture, including shopping and spending time at a park in the midst of it all. 

“The purpose of this trip was to provide students the opportunity to immerse themselves in authentic Chinese culture by spending time exploring Chinatown and Columbus park…Students were able to use and apply the Chinese language they learned in the real-world setting,” BHS Chinese teacher Wan-Tzu Chen said. 

Like Profe, Chen also notes that this was not only educational in a way relating to culture, but also gave students an opportunity to experience life in a more urban setting than Bellefonte. 

“My favorite part of the trip was that students had a chance to go to New York Chinatown and be able to apply what they learned in the school in authentic real-world situations.  Students were able to compare the landscaping in Chinatown and living among the hustle and bustle of city life with their own,” she said. 

For junior Alyssa Beers, this was her first time in New York City. She said that she enjoyed the variety of activities, and one cultural aspect that she learned about was shopping. 

“Tipping is very interesting in the Chinese culture – there are lots of bargains,” she said. 

The following Thursday, December 10, BHS returned to the city, this time with art students. The artists walked through Central Park, where they had the opportunity to sketch and explore. They then traveled to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to see some works that are known around the world. 

Mrs. Heather McClure helped to organize the trip, organizing tickets to the museum and show, as well as factoring in walking and free time. She believes that art is an important aspect of culture in NYC, and that this made it a fitting trip for the art classes to take. 

“New York is known for many things, but it’s accessibility to artistic outlets, culture, and talent amongst the performing arts…is what comes to mind when going to visit NYC. It’s truly a celebration of the diversity that exists in the visual and performing art worlds,” she said. 

Senior Kara Leanori is a member of Senior Institute, a combined art and English class as well as Art Club and other art classes at BAHS. She remarked that she had been highly anticipating the trip to the MoMA. 

“I have wanted to go to the MoMA for years because I love art and their collection is incredible and I am also going to university for art,” she said. 

The museum did not disappoint. 

“I learned about many great artists and how they not only created art but how their lives affected their art. It was truly inspirational and made me more motivated to create…I loved seeing such important art and culture with people I care about,” she said. 

After some time at the MoMA, the students saw the classic Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. 

“The Rockettes’ performance was really spectacular. All the hours of working on precision of movement and uniformity was pretty amazing,” Mrs. McClure said. 

  After the show, they had time to explore the city. They eventually met up in Bryant Park, which had seasonal artisan shops to browse. 

“Bryant Park was a nice ending to the day with the ice skating rink and the holiday shops that allow independent/small businesses to offer their unique products and works of art,” Mrs. McClure said. 

Kara remarked on her experience for the rest of the day. 

“The show was amazing and I was blown away. I love New York and visiting is always fun, especially with my friends. Even though navigating the city can be rough, I still enjoy the hustle and bustle all around,” Kara said. 

Whether a student of language, the arts, or both, it seems that BAHS students who attended these two trips can agree on one thing. 

“There really is nothing like New York during the holidays,” Kara said.