Summer Experiences: What We Did Over Summer Vacation


New students and buddies celebrate the end of the summer before returning to school.

Jon Sky, Reporter

Over the summer break, members of the Burroughs community participated in diverse activities across the world and locally.
Adina Cazacu-De Luca ‘20 visited her grandmother in the Romanian capital of Bucharest. She described contrasting areas of the city with parts unchanged since the communist regimes of the 20th century, and renovated districts filled with new buildings and sights. The food, she says, was incredible and different than anything found in the United States; these staples included various types of ciorba (soups), of which Cazacu-De Luca’s favorite is ciorba de perisoare, or meatball soup.

Leaving the city for Transylvania (yes, the one from Dracula), she fell in love with the rugged mountains, though the winding and steep roads made travel more time-consuming. In the countryside, common sites included cows “taking themselves for walks down the highway,” abundant fields of sunflowers, centuries-old monasteries and gypsies.

What disturbed Cazacu-De Luca was that the beautiful 16th-century monasteries, unheard of for hundreds of years, were now suffering from an excess of tourism. The problem has spread throughout the country, as tacky souvenir stands have become ubiquitous. Regardless, the region was still breathtaking.

Cazacu-De Luca summarizes her thoughts on what made the trip to Romania so remarkable: “Maybe it’s the many Unesco World Heritage Sites, the way I would lay in bed at 1 in the morning and hear young kids still playing in the park or the centuries old architecture next to billboards about the new Samsung S8.”
Carrie Zhang ‘20 travelled across California for two weeks. She visited all the major coastal cities and particularly enjoyed the beaches. She spent some time in Cambria near San Luis Obispo where Zhang appreciated her hotel, the quaint town and beach. Though Cambria was the highlight of her trip, she also got the full tourist experience through seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Hollywood Sign in LA, and of course, visiting Disneyland.

Jamie Wagner of the History Department toured the Hawthorne School, which was founded by a Burroughs parent that benefits underprivileged girls in St. Louis. Mary Stillman began work on the school as her children began leaving for college. She made the decision to establish a school that would change the lives of hundreds of less fortunate girls. She admitted that as an attorney, she had little background in education. Nonetheless, she knew how to bring together the right people.

The school is located in a beautiful old building on Kings highway in north St. Louis. The prominence and history of the building stresses the importance of education, and, within it, there are renovations taking place. The renovations have introduced spaces for independent activities, similar to our Commons.

Moreover, Ms. Stillman hopes to bring many aspects of Burroughs to Hawthorne, including morning assemblies. She has even brought in people from the Burroughs community to help her; one of her best teachers is a Burroughs alum, Andrea Woods ‘05, who assists with teacher development as well as day-to-day teaching.
In regard to Ms. Stillman’s efforts, Mr. Wagner says, “I was amazed at what she has accomplished.” He also expressed his hope that additional members of the Burroughs community will get involved with volunteer work at Hawthorne.

Christine Marshall, history teacher, spent the summer doing historical research about the Second World War and the American Revolutionary War. First, she attended a World War II institute at Valley Forge in Pennsylvania where she met the descendants of Supreme Allied Commander and President Dwight Eisenhower. Milt Dienes, a World War Two veteran, shared with Mrs. Marshall his experiences in Nagasaki, having visiting 100 days after the atomic bombing that demolished the city. Mr. Dienes wore no protective gear during that visit and has only recently begun sharing his experiences.
Mrs. Marshall also had the pleasure of meeting Woody Williams, who served with the 3rd Marine Division in Iwo Jima. The fight for Iwo Jima was one of the most brutal the world has seen, with nearly thirty thousand casualties in a month. He spoke to her about the intense fighting on the Pacific Island, and Mrs. Marshall noted how Mr. Williams humbly acknowledges that he wears his Medal of Honor for those who “gave their lives protecting him.”

Subsequently, Mrs. Marshall traveled to Philadelphia to tour the newly opened Museum of the American Revolution. She took part in the museum’s interactive exhibits, as well visiting Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. And, to achieve the full Philadelphia experience, she thoroughly enjoyed a Philly Cheesesteak for lunch.
To complete her summer of research, she visited San Diego. Outside of touring the city’s Old Town and Little Italy, Mrs. Marshall spoke to numerous other historians and teachers from across the country on board the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Midway. She describes the aircraft carrier as a “floating city” with every compartment compactly and efficiently designed. It was true simulation of what serving on an aircraft carrier would be like, and she felt uneasy and claustrophobic even just climbing the steep ladders.

Other members of the Burroughs community travelled to various locations such as Nantucket, Sun Valley, the Swiss Alps, and Virgin Gorda. Wherever you may have gone or if you stayed at home, hopefully you had a great summer and are ready for the school year.