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GMC Prep Students Travel to England

GMC Prep School Students Travel to England

This summer Georgia Military College Prep School (GMC Prep) sent 13 high school students to England, to stay at Royal Hospital School (RHS), an independent co-educational boarding and day school for 11-18 year-olds. On June 2, 2018, three GMC Prep cadets, Emily Arp, Melinda Steele, and Mattison Strom, jet set off to England for five weeks. A couple of weeks later, on June 13, ten more GMC Prep cadets joined Arp, Steele, and Strom at Royal Hospital School for a ten day trip.

This opportunity came about four years ago when Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell, IV, met a father of two students who attended Royal Hospital School, Colonel Andy Jackson, who at the time was the British Liaison Officer at Fort Benning. Shortly after that initial meeting, Jackson and his family came for a visit to Milledgeville, and he and Caldwell discussed sending some students from GMC Prep down soon for an immersion experience in England. Before that, 32 students from RHS and four students from GMC Prep linked up at Ft. Benning for a four day get together. After a successful visit, GMC Prep started sending students to England for a period of time during the summer months, this is now Georgia Military College Prep School’s second year of the immersion experience. In August, Royal Hospital School will send some of their cadets to spend some time at GMC Prep.

“From the moment I heard about this opportunity I knew it would be a fabulous experience for our students who were able to take advantage of it,” said Colonel Pam Grant, Principal of Georgia Military College Prep School. “I believe it is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity filled with positive, wonderful experiences that any student who goes will never forget. I also believe this experience could be life-changing as students who have never had the opportunity to travel far from Milledgeville realize that there is truly a big world out there, and travelling to places other than the United States can truly enrich and enlarge their lives.”

The group of 10 cadets were accompanied on the trip by Major Emily Boylan, GMC Prep School Instructor, and Command Sergeant Major Steven Greer, GMC Prep School Associate Principal. At Royal Hospital School, they also have a military component to their educational structure, like GMC Prep. While in England, the 10 cadets participated in a RHS parade, they went through a weapons familiarization training before going on a 48-hour Field Training Exercise where they conducted patrolling, executed ambush techniques, medical evacuation, range estimation, hasty minefield clearing, and entering and clearing room techniques. The group even got to skeet shoot and attend a Combined Cadet Forces Royal Dinner.

Beyond the military training, GMC Prep School students were also able to do a good bit of exploring. The group visited and toured Old Cambridge City where they rode the punt boats down the River Cam. They visited the American Military Cemetery in Matingley and the Imperial War Museum in Duxford. They also traveled to London where the visited Greenwich, the Royal Naval Museum, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, Tower of London, St. Peter’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, and many other famous places.

Grant says this trip was an experience unlike any other the 10 cadets will get while in high school.

“It is a chance for them to see how teenagers their own age in another country live and see the differences and similarities that they have,” Grant said. “For many of them, this was their first trip out of the country and they were able to tour the United Kingdom and see so many different landmarks and sites. The students were also able to see what type of educational experience students are getting at the Royal Hospital School, and, once again, see the similarities and differences, between what they experience here at GMC.”

Greer says being culturally immersed in a different country is an experience that will benefit the 10 GMC Prep School students in their future.

“I think the students’ favorite experience was meeting so many new friends from places all across the globe,” Greer said. “Royal Hospital School draws students from China, Saudi Arabia, Spain, South Africa, Kenya, and so many other countries that it truly is a melting pot for international experiences.”
GMC Prep Cadet, Abby Greer, says her brother traveled to England last year and that made her want to experience the adventure for herself this year.

“I wanted to experience a different culture and meet new friends,” Abby Greer said. “Everyone at Royal Hospital School was so friendly to us and went out of their way to make us feel special.”

Fellow traveler, GMC Prep Cadet, Ryan Barsby, says in addition to spending time with RHS students, he enjoyed the military training they received on the trip.

“My favorite part of the trip was the 48-hour Field Training Exercise,” Barsby said. “The excitement of going and completing the military exercises with my new British friends made that experience so much fun. I feel like I really learned something about what the people in the military go through daily and how tough their job really is.”

Abby Greer says she’s grateful for the opportunity to visit England this summer.

“The biggest life lesson I came home with was that even though England is thousands of miles away from us and our accents are different, our two schools share similar missions and believe character development and military discipline play an important role,” Greer said. “I’m so grateful for this once in a lifetime experience.”

The 10 GMC Prep cadets returned to Milledgeville on June 23, and Arp, Steele, and Strom return July 8.