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A History of the Exchange between
Lincoln School and Durham High School for Girls

Below are news articles written about each exchange experience.

April 4, 2013


Lincoln Students "Cross The Pond" and Jump Feet-First into British Culture

By Ruth Marris-Macaulay

After a very early and snowy exit from Boston, our intrepid group of seven Lincoln travelers touched down in London later the same day. Since our body clocks were registering five hours earlier, the fact that we sat down to dine close to midnight at Denise’s bistro close to the Tavistock Hotel did nothing to dampen our general high spirits and collective excitement.

Bright and early the next morning our five students and Robb Barnard were off on a sightseeing bus tour of London that included a short Thames cruise, the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and a ride on the London Eye, the giant ferris wheel on the banks of the Thames. After seven and a half hours of touring with Robb, the girls returned to the hotel for a short rest before taking by storm the Oxford Street teen shopping scene with Ruth Marris-Macaulay, where Top Shop provided everything from green nail polish to a fine selection of hats. Still excited and energetic, the group then took off for a night at the theater where we saw the award-winning The 39 Steps and followed up with an Italian dinner in Leicester Square.

On Sunday afternoon we arrived in Durham after a three hour train journey from King’s Cross Station, to be greeted by our host families. Ruth and Robb were reunited with the teachers they hosted at Lincoln last year, and each of our girls was borne off by a warm and enthusiastic family with whom to begin her English adventures. Robb was taken to tea in a castle, and Ruth to choral evensong in Durham Cathedral.

In the week that followed we attended school classes, assemblies and meetings, and collected and shared all kinds of pedagogical and administrative information. We were impressed by Durham High School for Girls, and at the same recognized the different things we have to offer girls at Lincoln. The value of this kind of exchange program became immediately apparent. At lunch times we reconnected with our girls and found them with clusters of new friends enthusiastically sharing stories and experiences about their schools and their lives. The Lincoln girls were charmed to recognize the organization of the school into houses with distinguishing ties and some healthy competitions for points that was not unlike the arrangements at Hogwarts. The weather remained cold throughout our trip with intermittent snow and hail, interspersed with brief periods of sunshine. Robb drank more cups of tea and commented on the weather more often than he ever believed was possible!

We got a break in the weather for our trip to York on the Tuesday of our week. A forty-five minute train ride from Durham took us to one of the most picturesque medieval walled cities in England. York is a small and walkable town founded by the Romans in 71AD, later settled by the Vikings and dominated today by the Gothic minster or cathedral, a major center of medieval scholarship. After a trip back in time to Viking York (Jorvik) complete with sounds and smells of the period, we caught our breath in Betty’s Tea Shop, an institution famed throughout northern England for its high quality tea and cakes. The rest of the day we walked around the medieval streets, admired the churches, visited the excellent shops and skirted the largely intact stone walls.

Durham Cathedral in all its Romanesque glory was our destination after a morning at school on Wednesday and then on Thursday we were taken on a tour of Durham Castle, which has been part of Durham University since the 1830s. Students actually have dorms in the castle, which were also featured in the Harry Potter films. At every opportunity our students seized the chance to add to their adventures, participating in some impromptu street dancing in the town square, sampling a whole new range of English candy, and adopting the fashion for “onesie” outfits, a version of footed pajama suits, in fanciful styles like Hannah Fitts’ cow onesie complete with tail and horns which she wore on the plane ride home with great panache.

Our hosts treated us to a pub dinner, a visit to the Angel of the North – a massive contemporary sculpture by Antony Gormley on a Gateshead hilltop, and took us for a look at the award-winning Sage Gteshead, a center for music and the arts designed by Foster and Partners and opened in 2004. Reminiscent of the Sydney Opera House in its inventiveness and organic quality, it has received major attention as an outstanding piece of contemporary architecture. Teachers who visited Lincoln in previous years guided us around some of the sights and took us out for tea.

After a farewell lunch on Friday where we were presented with house ties and t-shirts as well as books about the school, we took the train back to London. Friendships had been cemented, and there were some tearful goodbyes as well as anticipation about return visits of the Durham girls. Despite delays on the return journey we reached Kings Cross with time to find Platform 9¾ where we had fun being photographed running “through” Harry Potter’s wall.

Learning more about each other was one of the great benefits of the trip. Learning more about our new friends “across the pond” extended everyone’s cultural understanding.

A gallery of pictures

Student Reflections

This was my first experience in Europe and it was a amazing!  On my first day, Sunday,  my host family took  me to Wet 'n’ Wild, an indoor water slide park. This was a chance to interact and break the ice with my host, Megan Blake, and her little brother, Oliver. Throughout the course of the week I was able to experience an authentic feel for their everyday lives. I went to Oliver’s chorus recital at the Evening Song, saw his crazy makeup for his part as the Stepsister in the play Cinderella, and relax with Megan’s friends in the hot tub. Even though I only stayed with her family for a week I felt as if I were a new member and always welcome back. I hope in the future I would be able to visit again.
—Mary Larcom

Ever since we’ve returned from our trip to England I have been bombarded with the phrase “tell me all about it! Was it amazing?” To start, I’m not really sure how to begin to explain to everyone how truly amazing this trip was so I guess I will just start from the beginning. We arrived in London after a 6 hour and 18 minute flight. It was dark and drizzling, the city lights seemed to set a magical scene for our future adventure. After gathering our luggage we hopped on the Underground and headed toward our hotel. By the time we unpacked and decided to get dinner it was 11pm. Apparently at 11pm on a Friday night in London almost all of the kitchen’s to restaurants are closed. We stopped by about 5 different restaurants and got the same result every time. Just as we were going to give up we spotted and glowing red sign that said “ Serving dinner until 2am”, we were saved! We ended our first night in London at a tiny French restaurant eating Italian food while eavesdropping on a German conversation that we could not understand a word of. To say the least we were immersing ourselves in a new culture. This moment embodied everything that this trip would be and is. It was the beginning of a bizarre, exciting and life-changing adventure with five Lincoln girls and their two amazing chaperones.

When I first began emailing with my host for the Durham exchange she told me that she lived on a farm. I pictured some ducks or chickens maybe even cows. My vision was quickly altered as our train descended further and further into the English countryside and closer to the city of Durham. When my host family picked me up and we finally reached their house I was beyond shocked. It was enormous farm in comparison to the standards that I had set. They had cattle and chickens by the hundreds and Kate (my host) had a horse and a pony that she had to take care of all by herself. Before you count yourself out of going on this trip in the future, I can promise that this is not the typical living situation for most, in fact I think I may be the only person who has ever stayed on a farm during this exchange. It was an amazing experience. It turned out that living on a farm was not the only surprise that this trip had in store for me. One day after school my host mother picked Kate and me up for a trip to Raby Castle and Barnard Castle. My host mother told me stories of the deer that lived at Raby Castle but it was nothing in comparison to seeing it in real life. We drove around the back of the castle and we were met by a herd of about 200 deer. They were huge and had giant antlers; some were even white! It was one of the most breathtaking experiences I have ever had. They were incredibly close to our car and as I rolled down the window to take pictures they turned their heads toward it and posed. With my host family I got to see Durham and Lanchester as more of a local than a tourist. They exposed me to things that I would have never thought to try, for that I will be forever thankful. So to sum it up, my trip was amazing, I could not possibly tell you everything that happened, but I hope that these two memories will help to give you an insight.
—Isoke Samuel

Travelling to England for a week not only gave us an opportunity to sightsee and learn about the culture, but we also had a chance to connect with girls just like us in another country. The girls from Lincoln were energetic and fun to spend time with, and we got a chance to get to know each other along with the new friends we made in Durham. We spent two nights in London, took a bus tour, went on the River Thames and the London Eye, and went shopping!! When I met my hostess, Lizzy, we instantly clicked. She, her family, and the school community all welcomed me with lots of tea and British accents. During lunch time, I got to spend an hour talking with Lizzy and her friends about the different ways we pronounced words like, “mascara” and “aluminum,” and different words we used such as: hair tie vs. hair bubble and trash vs. rubbish. Despite the differences in the language, we found a lot of similarities between America and Lincoln and England and Durham school for girls. For example, the uniforms were almost identical, (although they were much stricter about their uniform), and what they were learning in classes was similar to what we have been learning. The weather was also very similar to New England winters; it snowed almost every day and then would quickly be sunny.

My favorite day was Tuesday, when the Lincoln group traveled to York. We had tea and cakes at Betty’s Tea Room and ate the sugar cubes from the bowl. The five of us then went shopping in the narrow cobblestone streets, while Mr. Barnard and Mrs. Macauley ventured the town themselves.

When I was with Lizzy, she took me around Durham and we went to the cinema to see “Oz the Great and Powerful.” On the last night in Durham, Riley and her hostesses, and Lizzy and I all went to the Metro Centre and met up with Grace and Mary and their hostesses to eat at Nando’s, a popular restaurant. The Metro Centre is a HUGE mall, with a few American stores, including an American Sweet Shop. Many of the girls in England were in love with American candy, which I found surprising, because it is so common that I take it for granted. They only have one nearby store to buy American candy (for about six times more expensive than in America), which is in the Metro Centre. So while Lizzy bought American candy, I stocked up on about 15 pounds of British candy. I also got one of the very popular onesies, and I ended up wearing my cow onesie to the airport and on the plane ride home!

Overall, I loved being able to have an experience to connect with Lizzy and her friends in England; we bonded over both our cultural differences and similarities. I also really appreciated getting the chance to spend more time with Grace, Isoke, Mary, and Riley, (and Mr. Barnard and Mrs. Macauley of course!!) and to get closer with this happy energetic group. We took selfies, got lost, sang a lot, and just enjoyed experiencing another country together.
Hannah Fitts

April 12, 2012

Friends and Colleagues Across the Atlantic

Teachers Jacqui Durcan and Becky Stephenson and five students from Durham High School for Girls arrived on March 30 to visit Lincoln for a week. It was a week of interesting cultural exchanges and comparisons on everything from teaching style to uniforms and dress code. Durham High School for Girls is a direct counterpart to Lincoln in that it is single-sex, covers the whole elementary and secondary age range... and was even founded in 1884!

As well as visiting classes and meeting with administrators, our guests received a slice of local offerings in museums—New Bedford Whaling Museum, Rosecliff in Newport, the State House, and the historic buildings on the Brown University campus—music (a concert of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra and the opportunity for Jaqui Durcan, who sings in a choral group in Durham, to join the First Baptist Church in America’s choir on Palm Sunday), and ethnic restaurants ranging from Caserta’s Pizza to The Cuban Revolution.

The value of the exchange program is considerable, since it opens our eyes, on both sides of the Atlantic, to different ways of achieving our shared mission of providing a high-level college preparatory education for girls. In addition both Durham High School for Girls and Lincoln have an ethical ethos—theirs derived from the Church of England and ours from Quakerism—that infuses the culture of each school. This was the underlying topic of many of our discussions as we talked about our curricula and values. Although our differences were a wonderful way of re-examining through an alternate lens what we do and why we do it, we shared many reassuring similarities. On a trip to Newport where our English guests toured Rosecliff it was evident there were many things in common between English and American teenagers in terms of popular culture and future aspirations.

We are particularly grateful to the host families that all gave the students memorable experiences—some even taking them as far as New York City while they were still very jetlagged! The girls really enjoyed all the wonderful opportunities families offered them of a look at American life outside Lincoln School. The involvement of our whole community is what has made this exchange program so rewarding and diverse. Grade 5 teacher Kaitlin Palmieri, who visited Durham two years ago, provided the group with a wonderful lunch at the Cilantro Mexican Grill in Newport. Even alumna Stefanie Chorianopoulos took time off from her studies at Harvard to show the Durham girls around Boston on their last day in the United States. Our “special relationship” with Great Britain is alive and well insofar as girls’ schools are concerned!

Martha Douglas-Osmundson and Beatrice Swift visited Durham in March of 2010, with a return visit from two Durham teachers in April of that year. In March of 2011 five students accompanied by Kaitlin Palmieri and Maureen Kelsey visited Durham with a return visit from two Durham faculty in April.  Robb Barnard and Ruth Marris-Macaulay will be visiting Durham next March with students from Lincoln to continue this exchange program.

April 21, 2011

Visitors from England

Last week, Lincoln was excited to continue our exchange with Durham High School for Girls in the northwest of England, as we welcomed Paul Allaker and Stuart Kime for a week of exploration, both in and out of school. We enjoyed introducing Paul and Stuart to all that Southeastern New England has to offer:  the Newport coastline, the charm and collegiality of Providence, and the history of Boston. We were also so happy to showcase our Upper, Middle and Lower Schools, in particular the Shakespeare Recitation Contest, our outstanding music program, and the Battle of the Books preparation. Most importantly, both Paul and Stuart remarked on our pride and joy—the students.  

As an aside, Paul and Stuart were having such a fantastic time, they extended their stay in order to attend our Light Up Lincoln celebration!

April 7, 2011

Durham High School for Girls Exchange


During the first week of this year's Spring Break, five Middle and Upper School students and two faculty members traveled to the United Kingdom for an exchange program with Durham High School for Girls. Stefanie Chorianopoulos ’11, Leah Tinberg ’12, Kali Ridley ’13, Katie Holt ’14 and Caitlin March ’15 spent a week living with families in Northeast England and spent their days at Durham High School for Girls in Durham.  They were accompanied Maureen Kelsey and Kaitlin Palmieri, teachers in Lower School. 

The group was able to see a lot of England in the time they were traveling. They arrived in London and spent a weekend sightseeing before traveling North to Durham.  While in Durham, the girls traveled to surrounding areas including York and Newcastle.  Next week two teachers from Durham will visit Lincoln and have similar experiences by spending time at Lincoln, having social time with faculty and staff, and touring Providence and Boston. 

There are many similarities between Lincoln School and Durham High School for Girls.  Both all-girls’ schools were founded in 1884 and have students from Nursery through Grade 12.   This exchange is a valuable experience that allows for observation, participation and sightseeing in England.  It has made a lasting impression on all that were involved and we look forward to continuing the exchange with Durham in the coming years.



February 24, 2011

Durham Exchange - Take Two


We are about to undertake the second year of our exchange with Durham High School for Girls in the UK.  Spending the week of March 13 in Durham will be Lower School teachers Maureen Kelsey and Kaitlin Palmieri, with students Stefanie Chorianopoulos '11, Leah Tinberg '12, Kali Ridley '13, Katie Holt '14, and Caitlin March '15. 

The group will spend two days in London before heading to Durham, where each will stay with a family.  The focus of the trip is to experience a British school, so most of their time will be spent in classes at school; afternoon and evening activities will give students and teachers time to visit Durham and the surrounding area as well as to get to know their British hosts. 

Stuart Kime and Paul Allaker, Durham faculty members, will join us in April for the second part of the exchange.


April 22, 2010
Beatrice Swift and Martha Douglas-Osmundson
English Department

Seeds of Exchange

The seeds of an exchange between Lincoln School and Durham (England) High School for Girls were sown this spring. Situated “across the pond” from one another, the two all-girls’ schools, both 125 years old, are grounded in values that follow from their respective Quaker and Anglican cores. The seeds of exchange, carried by emissaries Beatrice Swift and Martha Douglas-Osmundson from Lincoln and Suzanne Hart and Louise Pickering from Durham, took root in the rich soil of two communities eager to learn about one another.

In Durham, we were gently shepherded through the school and community by our hosts, Suz and Louise, and by everyone we met at the school. We attended morning assemblies, where we saw the strong leadership of the Head of School, an ordained minister, as well as the strong leadership of students beginning at the very youngest levels.

We were taken on tours of the beautiful medieval city, the University, and the Cathedral, where Durham’s equivalent of Lambrequins have performed. An especially exciting experience was learning about the school’s involvement in the Durham-Lesotho (Africa) link, established by the Durham parish.  For the past six years, faculty and students have been traveling to Lesotho during the summer to refurbish schools, lead HIV/AIDS prevention workshops, and provide supplies and services to hundreds of Lesotho children.  Best of all, we were offered friendship by the teachers and students who welcomed us into their school, their homes, and their lives.

Two weeks after our visit to Durham, we welcomed Suz and Louise to Lincoln School.  They participated across grades and subject areas: they baked cookies with the kindergarten, read stories to the 3rd grade, sang with the Middle School Chorus, explained GCSE and A Levels Exams to seniors, and participated in Book Lynx with 5th and 6th grade students and parents. Beyond the classroom, they were taken by Lincoln faculty to explore Brown University and Harvard Square, to tour Benefit Street, to browse on Thayer and Wickenden, and to sip tea with a view of Poppasquash Point. Their visit to Providence included a culinary tour that was a microcosm of America:  Japanese sushi, Lebanese felafel, Indian curry, Italian pizza, and pastries from Seven Stars.  The long list of available ice cream flavors at Ben and Jerry’s inspired an equally long conversation about the role and value of individual choice in American culture and at Lincoln School: food choices at lunch, uniform choices, curricular choices for teachers, course choices for Upper School students. Our rich discussions allowed us to explore Durham’s school community and culture, and also to see our own school through their eyes.

We were struck by the many similarities and differences between our schools. Both schools offer rigorous courses taught by dedicated teachers who cherish the responsibility of educating young women. Some differences center on curriculum; in Durham’s Senior House, curriculum is driven by national exams that shape course content and require the older girls to focus on fewer subjects.  In both schools, traditions are honored. Durham’s green and gold uniform is similar to Lincoln’s, and is strictly followed. Finally, the sense of spiritual core and community values is evident in both campuses and connects us across the ocean. The teachers from Lincoln and Durham returned to their schools with new ideas to share, and with visions of future exchanges between the two schools.

 March 4, 2010

   Cheerio to Swift and D-O

Over spring break English teachers Beatrice Swift and Martha Douglas-Osmundson will travel to Durham, England, to visit with teachers and students at Durham High School for Girls, an independent school for girls ages 3-18.  As part of an exchange program, two teachers from Durham will visit Lincoln School in April during their spring break. Our hope is that an ongoing exchange of teachers and students will result from these initial visits.

The two Lincoln teachers will stay with Durham teachers Suzanne Edwards and Louise Pickering.  They will visit classes, meet students, and participate in school events.  A medieval city, Durham’s cobblestone streets lead to Durham Castle and Durham Cathedral, where music groups from the school often perform. Besides the obvious and primary similarity, Durham shares a lot with Lincoln, including a green plaid uniform and a 125 birthday! While in Durham, Ms. Douglas-Osmundson will focus on the English and drama programs with her Durham colleagues, and Dr. Swift will explore the English program and curriculum planning.

We look forward to hosting our friends from Durham when they visit our campus in April.  Suzanne Edwards currently teaches Year Four (ages 8-9), and has taught students in Year Three and Year Five as well.  She teaches everything except PE, music, and French, and also has responsibility for the library in Junior House.  Louise Pickering is a music teacher who works predominantly within the Junior School, and also coaches in the Senior School.  A visit to the school website reveals many exciting programs, including the Durham-Lesotho Link, a service learning project connecting Durham girls with AIDS orphans in Africa.

The exchange has already begun with a flurry of emails between our schools and teachers. Dr. Swift and Ms. D-O welcome your questions and hope you will participate in welcoming Suzanne and Louise to Rhode Island and to the Lincoln School community when they visit us from April 5 through April 10.






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