British invade Lakenheath school with lessons on U.K. heritage
May 7, 2008
RAF FELTWELL — With field trips taking a big blow on funding this year, Lakenheath Middle School devised an innovative event to bring British culture and heritage directly to its students.
The event, dubbed U.K. Day, brought from off base more than 50 presenters, who set up 32 interactive stations to teach everything British inside the school’s classrooms last Friday.
Presenters shared their wisdom on British tea, scone-making, medieval weapons and armor, storytelling, cricket and more. There was also a station that allowed students to discover native underwater species in a large transparent tub of pond water.
Even the school cafeteria got involved and dished out British specialties for the day.
The school’s host-nation teacher, Fiona Guyer, thought up the idea of having the Brits invade the American school.
“We have a lot of community involvement,” Guyer said of the school’s first U.K. Day.
She said field trips are still possible though, despite funding cuts in that area made within Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe.
“We still go on field trips but not as often and they tend to be more local,” she said.
DJ LaFon-Bynnom, the school’s assistant principal, estimates that it costs $2,200 to take 100 children on a field trip to London. The price tag for the U.K. Day was about $4,000, which catered to all of the school’s 600 students. Event funds were raised by various organizations on Feltwell as well as RAFs Lakenheath and Mildenhall, Guyer said.
“We’ve never had anything like this before,” LaFon-Bynnom said of the event. “We have something for every child to rotate through and pick what they want to do.”
Students chose at least four one-hour stations to take part in for the day, she added.
One of the stations that sixth-grader Layne Little picked was British afternoon tea.
“I think it’s really fun,” Layne said of the all-day event. “I can learn a lot from the British culture.”
Sebastian Martinez, also a sixth-grader, took part in the tea instruction, as well.
“I think it’s a good opportunity to learn about England,” he said. “If we choose to go anywhere off base, we’ll know what they were talking about.”
Although his class is scheduled for a field trip to Hunstanton Beach in Norfolk, Sebastian, like other students, would prefer more field trips, in addition to U.K. Day.
“I’d rather do both so I can see more of England,” he said.
School officials hope they can scrounge up enough funds for a second U.K. Day next school year.
“Hopefully we’ll go on with it,” LaFon-Bynnom said. “It’s a very unique, worthwhile experience for our kids and teachers.”
That experience was also passed on to the Brits, who traveled onto the secured base for the event.
“It’s nice that the community can come onto the base and bring our culture to the students,” said Christine Rooke, a Briton who taught the British tea class.