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Square in Beijing.

While most students enjoyed some extra sleep on the first day of Spring Break, a group of 22 Upper School students and three faculty members met at 4:30 a.m. on Friday, March 10 to begin their 18-hour journey to China. After a long flight, they arrived in Beijing, China's political capital and the former center of many ancient Chinese dynasties. Beijing is a city with deep historical and cultural riches. Historically named Khanbaliq, it served as the imperial seat for the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty in the 14th century. During their four days in Beijing, they toured the Summer Palace and the Forbidden City, which served as the imperial palace from the Ming through the Qing dynasties (1420 - 1912). Highlights of Beijing also included visits to several temples, including the Lama Buddhist Temple, the Confucian Temple and the Temple of Heaven.

Students took an early morning trip to visit the Temple of Heaven.

Through the visits to these various sites, students became more knowledgeable about the rich diversity of belief systems in China. Everyone enjoyed great food, including a traditional meal prepared by a local family in the historic hutong area of the city. Built around the many historical treasures is a very modern city with an efficient public rail system, high-end shopping centers and high rise office buildings. A highlight of Beijing included a trip to the street market where several students dared themselves to experience the tastes of Beijing with live scorpions, snake and other interesting street foods. Just outside the city lies the Great Wall, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The climb was steep, but well worth the view as we stood atop and marveled at this magnificent structure built over 2,000 years ago!

Carson O. impressed the group when he ate a live scorpion at the Beijing Night Market.

From Beijing, the Tampa Prep travelers took the overnight train to another former imperial city, Xi'an, also known as Chang an. Much like Beijing, this city held many treasures of the past while displaying a vibrant sense of modernity. In Xi'an, they experienced yet another Wonder of the World, the Terracotta Army of First Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Taking a break from sightseeing, the travelers spent a morning visiting a local school where the Tampa Prep students were able to interact with Chinese students and learn about the differences in educational styles. This was definitely one of the more surprising highlights of the trip!

Tampa Prep students had the incredible opportunity
meet Chinese students and compare education styles.

Finally, they flew from Xi'an to Shanghai where they were surrounded by the sights and sounds of the city. Having spent eight days in the more ancient cities, Shanghai was an exciting contrast with its world-class shopping and soaring skyline. At the Shanghai Museum, they could map the many continuities and changes of Chinese history through the amazing collection of artifacts. The students took the elevator up the Jin Mao Tower, reaching the 88th floor in nine seconds!

Overall, students and faculty alike had an amazing time discovering China's past and experiencing its current vibrance. Mrs. Enaye Englenton said, "The opportunity to enrich students with a global perspective through travel is something I very much value as a teacher of World History. The world is our classroom and I look forward to continuing the adventure next year!"

Being able to enjoy the Shangai skyline at night
was definitely a highlight of the trip for many of the travelers.

Congratulations to Rachel C. and Kyra F. on their great scores
at the Florida State Spanish Conference!

Kyra Foley and Rachel Cosmas competed in the Florida State Spanish Conference over Spring Break. Both participants performed an impromptu speech and recited a poem for their declamations. For the entertainment competition, Kyra danced the Punto de Guanacaste from Costa Rica and Rachel sang a popular song from Mexico. Kyra scored a sobresaliente (the highest score) on her impromptu speech and Rachel scored a superior on her impromptu speech and declamation. It was a great success!

Isabella B., Grace B. and Savannah H. from the Talent Club
emceed and organized the event.

Tampa Prep's first-ever Middle School Talent Show took place last Friday, sponsored by the Middle School Talent Club. Students were invited to sign up and share a talent for an audience of their peers and parents. Brave participants sang a cappella or with a music track, played piano and performed magic! It was an impressive exhibition by talented students.

Thank you to the following students who helped put the show together: Grace Bailey, Savannah Harlan, Isabella Belknap, Abby Brannagan, Gabby Bennati and Judah Fox.

Check out a video of each performance on Facebook or Instagram below!
Congratulations to the performers:
Lauren Alexander, sang Maybe from Annie
Grace Bailey, sang Girl on Fire
Kendall Curtis, Piano, Hedwig's Theme
Kate Cutler, sang Reflections from Mulan
Lelia Dennis, sang Won't Give Up cover by Cristina Grimmie (original by Jason Mraz)
Judah Fox, card trick
Ms. Grosso, juggling
Maiyah Hall, piano Finale From Surprise Symphony
Savannah Harlan and Grace Bailey, sang You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift

Following the Talent Show, Middle School students enjoyed their traditional movie night with a viewing of Zootopia. Each student selected their choice of movie candy and was provided popcorn and a drink. They curled up in Smith Black Box Theater for the show, bringing blankets and pillows to create the ultimate movie experience.

The Talent Show performers take a bow.

Students met with Hollywood Directors Gavin Wiesen and Susan Johnson (center)
to discuss the film industry.

Tampa Prep welcomed two acclaimed Hollywood movie directors, Susan Johnson and Gavin Wiesen, to Prep this week. The directors are in Tampa this week screening films in the Gasparilla International Film Festival (GIFF).

Susan Johnson (director/producer) is premiering her film "Carrie Pilby". She has 11 Producing credits to her name, including the award-winning "Mean Creek." Gavin Wiesen is a writer/director whose first full-length feature "The Art of Getting By" premiered at Sundance in 2011. He is premiering "All Nighter" at GIFF.

Students asked detailed questions of the two visitors during a lunch-time Q&A session. Although both directors attended film school, they agreed that it is not essential to get into the business today. It is essential, however, to make relationships with people in the industry. They advised students interested in film to begin creating content and to try everything - to do it all - direct, edit, film, write. They said that the way into the industry varies, so having a multitude of experiences can only help them become better. Both indicated that since storytelling is essential, writing is an important skill.

The small group of students and professional directors discussed the ways the changes in distribution channels have impacted the film industry. "The opportunities kids have now are incredible," Ms. Johnson said, when talking about the fact that today kids can film a movie on an iPhone and post it on YouTube for immediate exposure. They talked about how rapidly the industry is changing. Thank you to these filmmakers for taking time to share your insights with our students.

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