May Term 2024 Highlights

After two weeks of adventures, learning, and bonding with their fellow classmates, EA May Term 2024 has come to a close! During this two-week academic program, Upper School students and teachers explored a diversity of innovative topics in great depth, with daily updates of their exciting journeys near and far documented on our Instagram stories and on the May Term X (Twitter)

From snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, mangrove planting in the Senegal River, firing pottery vessels in a mobile Raku studio, and learning to make homemade croissants, to singing of the streets of New Orleans, hearing from notable leaders, volunteering at local organizations, and visiting historical sites around the Philadelphia area, Upper School students ended the school year with experiences of a lifetime!

This year, 31 courses and trips happened simultaneously. See below for highlights from some of the courses, and be sure to check out our week one photo highlights and week two photo highlights!

Taking It to the Streets: New Orleans

After "tuning up" on campus on Monday, May 20, the Taking It to the Streets group headed to New Orleans first thing Tuesday morning. Upon their arrival, singers performed at the airport before heading for a quick change at their hotel for an afternoon performance at Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis in Jackson Square. Students are especially enjoying the New Orleans cuisine! They stopped by "Rock and Bowl," where this talented group worked on their bowling and dancing skills. They also shared their musical talents with students at St. Martin's Episcopal School and Isidore Newman School. On Thursday, they met and watched a performance by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. During their second week, the group will continue performances at Philadelphia-area schools and locations.

Now That Chapel is Over

"Now that our Chapel service is over, let our service to one another begin." During this service-based May Term, students have immersed themselves in learning about food insecurity and issues related to hunger in our community while simultaneously serving those in and around the Philadelphia area. Thus far, this enthusiastic group has made chicken salad for St. David's Episcopal Church, completed outdoor work at Surrey Senior Center in Devon, and packed more than 200 Senior Boxes at SHARE Food Bank in Philadelphia with no mistakes ("Unheard of!" said their group leader). They also had the opportunity to visit Broad Street Ministry, where they served lunch to more than 300 residents with a smile. 

Escape EA: Escape Room and Design Challenge

In order to learn about the intricacies and strategy of designing an escape room, students in the Escape EA May Term spent their first week visiting (and escaping!) rooms at The Escape Game in King of Prussia. They also learned Morse code and created their own EA Scavenger Hunt before diving into teams of three to design and plan their own escape rooms from the ground up. The themes of this year's adventures are Casino, Murder Mystery, and Spies. The teams will try to escape each room before other May Term classes are invited to test them out on May 29. 

Senior Athletic Shield

Seniors Truth Lemke and Michael Woolery have spent the week designing, cutting out, and building the Senior Athletic Shield in the woodshop. This long-standing school tradition incorporates the names of student-athletes who have earned a letter during their EA playing careers. The shield also incorporates a touch of "modern culture." All eyes will be on the shield when the creative design is revealed during graduation.

Latinx Identities & Experience in Philadelphia

In the Latinx Identities & Experience in Philadelphia May Term, students are exploring the history, literature, food, and culture of Latinx folks in the city of Philadelphia. During their first week, students took a trip to the Penn Museum to learn about ancient cultures from Mexico and Central America, including the Olmec, Mayan, and Aztec cultures and their legacies today. They also visited Philadelphia's Magic Gardens to view art by Isaiah Zagar, who was inspired by Peruvian folk art and, in addition to the Magic Gardens, created 200+ mosaic murals throughout the city. They ended the week with fun activities, including a salsa dancing lesson with 'Salsa in the Suburbs'! 

Out Early and Be Active; Back Late

Climbing, biking, and more! The Out Early and Be Active, Back Late group has stayed active with all kinds of physical challenges throughout the Delaware Valley. During the first week of May Term, the group enjoyed a warm week of bike rides at Ridley Creek, Washington Crossing, and the Michael Castle Trail, rock climbing lessons at the Gravity Vault, zip-lining and climbing on the Go Apes Ropes Course, as well as trash collecting, beach games, and fishing in Ocean City, NJ! 


The Australia May Term trip has been an amazing Aussie adventure so far. After a long travel day (22 hours of flying and 10+ layover hours!), the group made it to Cairns and hit the ground running. After a walking tour of the city and a delicious dinner by the shore (complete with a taste of kangaroo steak, an Australian specialty) the first night, the group prepared themselves for water exploration! The group took ride on the Sunlover boat to the Great Barrier Reef and enjoyed a day of snorkeling and learning about the wildlife of this unique ecosystem before heading to Fitzroy Island. There, the group enjoyed more snorkeling, saw a turtle rehabilitation center, learned about the history of indigenous people in Australia, and went on a hike to Nudey Beach. 


Sightseeing, cooking, and tasting Taiwan's specialties have topped the agenda for this crew. After a 17-hour flight, students checked out Longsham Temple, CKS Memorial Hall, and Taipei 101 (one of the world's tallest skyscrapers) on their first day. During a cooking class, students learned how to make milk bubble tea, soup, and delicious dumplings. They stopped by the National Palace Museum and took a day trip to Shifen and Pingxi where they saw an incredible waterfall. The group enjoyed decorating lanterns with their "wishes," setting them loose to the gods.

The Parks & Paths of Philadelphia

Valley Forge Park, Willistown Conservation Trust, Tyler State Park, the Johns Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, and the Radnor Trail kept the Parks & Paths of Philadelphia group busy during the first week of May Term. This energetic group finished up the week venturing into Philadelphia to check out the Boathouse Row River Loop.

The Art of Creative Leisure

There is an art to leisure and students in this course started off the week with a walk around Valley Forge National Historical Park. They have taken some quiet time most days to read and write poetry. As time permits, students break into smaller groups to share pictures they have snapped during their adventures and read their poems. On Wednesday, accomplished drummer, and Upper School English Teacher Doug Parsons, Hon. instructed students on basic drumming skills while others accompanied with the steady beat of shaker eggs. The group's first week ended with a trip to Whole Foods to experience the joys of a good meal.

Cuciniamo E Mangiamo 

Buon Appetito! In Cuciniamo E Mangiamo, students are taking their Italian cooking skills up a notch. Using Head of School T.J. Locke's kitchen, Upper Schoolers have been learning about some of the foods that play a central role in the lives of native Italians and those with Italian roots. In addition to making (and feasting on!) homemade ricotta, cannolis, pizza, bread, pasta, gravy, and sausage, they also had the opportunity to visit DiBrunos, Caragni Baking Company, the Pitruco Pizza Truck, the Italian Market, Isgro Pastries, and P&S Ravioli Company. 

Learning to Lead

In this May Term, students are learning about the attributes and skills necessary to become a strong leader. Guest speaker Ryan Newman helped students take a deep dive into a leadership profile and the anatomy of goal setting, while Assistant Head of School Chris Torino led a meaningful discussion on Atomic Habits. A number of alums also have given their personal leadership insights to students, including David Talbot '05 (public policy), Alexa Rousell '10 (storytelling), Sydney Grims '09 (restaurant/hospitality industry), and Abhay Malik '17 (AI and start-ups). Kevin Gregg '98 and Alex Nakahara '06 also hosted the group at Citizens Bank Park, where they discussed leadership, goals, and creating a strong culture along with Phillies CFO John Nickolas P '12, 15. To round out week one, students toured the Linc, visited Vanguard, and worked with Buckley Executive Director for the Center for Teaching and Learning Justin Cerenzia.

Stitch Smart

Thread the needle! During the Stitch Smart May Term, students are getting hands-on lessons on sewing and design. During their first week, they learned foundational basics of how to thread and use a sewing machine, read patterns, and prepare fabric to construct several items. After shopping at JOANNE Fabric and Craft and Fabric Row to get fabric and notions (buttons, etc.) for their projects, they got busy on completing their goal for week one: to create a lined tote bag! To end the week, students visited FABSCRAP, where they sorted fabric and had the opportunity to bring home leftover fabric for future projects! By the end of their May Term, these students hope to have a better understanding of how to choose fabric, stitch smartly, and be able to create their own accessories and clothing. 

CSI: Episcopal Academy

Can you crack the case? This week in CSI: Episcopal Academy, students are exploring the forensics of crime scenes! After finding/digging up a skeleton "body" and collecting evidence from a mock crime scene, students stayed busy with handwriting analysis, "urinalysis," dental imprints, DNA fingerprints, shoe prints at the crime scene, and more to see who—Mr. Kelly, Mr. Klein or Mrsl. Konopka—committed the "crime." Later in the week, this group learned about blood type and spatter analysis, conducted a virtual autopsy using EA's Anatomage Table, and discovered more about forensic science and criminal history through trips to the Mütter Museum and Eastern State Penitentiary.


The students on the Senegal trip had quite the trip! After a quick stop in Lisbon, where they treated to great sightseeing and history lessons, the group journeyed on their final leg. Upon arrival in Senegal, Upper Schoolers had incredible adventures in Mind, Body, and Spirit, including a tour of the salt dunes near Lac Rose, playing with talibé children in Saint-Louis, a bird sanctuary visit, boating and mangrove planting in the Senegal River, and a safari day! They spent their final days in Dakar, where they met friends from the Eden Academy in Dakar at the African Renaissance Monument, visited a mosque and a beach, learned sand painting, and had dinner by the shore.

Capture Your Memories: Scrapbooking

In this digital age, students in Capture Your Memories: Scrapbooking spent two weeks appreciating the beauty that a physical book of memories can provide. Over the course of May Term, students designed, clipped, and made collages for the final pages of their scrapbooks. Some of the books capture students' favorite moments at EA, family trips, and significant life milestones that will be treasured in the years ahead. The class displayed their creative works in the Coote Honor Hall to finish out what was a successful two weeks of scrapbooking.


Students in Earthworks immersed themselves in the endless creative possibilities and exploration of clay during their two weeks of May Term! Using both traditional and contemporary techniques, students got their hands dirty working nearly nonstop creating six pottery vessels before firing them in the kiln. A highlight of the course was having the opportunity to glaze and fire their ceramic pieces a second time in artist Brett Thomas’s mobile Raku studio, a ceramic studio on wheels. 

Hollywood and History

Lights, camera, action! In Hollywood and History, students examined, critiqued, and learned from eight major motion pictures from both the lens of the public and a historian. Were they historically accurate, or did the filmmakers take liberties? In addition to the film watching, teams earned "money" through various assignments to start up their own production studios. While “The Pharaoh of Rome” team earned today’s best film trailer prize, “The Rise of the Han” team won the overall competition. Their reward? Getting to choose the final flick to enjoy as a class!

Seriously, Dough!

"This was a lot of work," proclaimed one student as she and her classmates distributed 1,000 cupcakes across campus. After three trips to the market, including two to Costso, this class of 13 students tackled ten different recipes during their May Term. They used 15 dozen eggs, 20 pounds of butter, 10 pounds of sugar, and 100 pounds of flour! The most unusual ingredient students used was rutabaga for a British favorite, Cornish pasty. On the final day, students had the Great EA Bake-Off where they baked anything they wanted to try out. And then like any serious baker, they meticulously cleaned up their kitchen space.


What didn't the students on the Spain trip do? The group arrived in La Herradura and hit the ground running by visiting a castle, kayaking to a cave, spending time on the beach, watching a guitar maker, and playing soccer with locals. After that, the group traveled to Guadix, where they learned about the region's culture by making bread and pottery before heading to a "glamping" location where they swam in hot springs, learned about the nearby environment on a beautiful hike, and came together in a special moment to plant a ginkgo biloba tree. They also had the chance to visit the Alhambra and a paleontology exhibit in Granada, take a flamenco dancing class, and hike at Caminito del Rey.

Defining Independence

What does it mean to be free? The Defining Independence May Term was full of fields trips, adventures, and learning about our early nation! After visiting numerous historical sites around the Philadelphia area, including Independence Hall, Fort Mifflin, Museum of the American Revolution, Valley Forge National Park, Paoli Battlefield, and the Constitution Center, the Defining Independence group ended May Term by producing documentaries about some notable people from this important era in our history.

A League of Our Own

In A League of Our Own, students took a look at American history, cities/urban planning, and economics through the lens of major and minor league baseball. After seven days of research, interviews, and field trips to minor and major league ballparks like FirstEnergy and Yankee Stadium, the students worked in groups to make "pitches" to a team of judges to start a new MLB expansion team—complete with operating budget and plans for location, branding, sponsorships, promotions, concessions, merchandise, and more. We can’t wait to cheer for the San Juan Sharks (winner!), Utah Swarm, Omaha ’Nados, and Providence Islanders one day!

Stickers, Toys, and Games

Students started their May Term with learning how to use different software tools to create 2D and 3D objects. With their new skills, students printed cookie cutters, dice, yo-yos, spinning tops, puzzle cubes with a box to fit them in, stickers, birthday cards, keychains, stamps, and bookmarks. Then the brainstorming got underway as students contemplated design ideas for a game. "Some of the games students are making are original, but others are recreations of familiar games like Scrabble," explained Upper School May Term Teacher Shannon Crowley. Students stopped by the Seriously, Dough class to make cookies with their homemade cookie cutters. On the final day, the class finished up printing the last of the game pieces and playing the games.