Sir Roger Bannister Visits Summerfuel Oxford

As part of our Oxford experience program we have a highly successful seminar series. The idea is to bring in speakers from outside the immediate academic world of Oxford University to give our students exposure to interesting people who have achieved success in various disciplines. In the past we have had magazine editors, journalists, politicians, actors, social entrepreneurs and the occasional professional athlete. The series is always well attended and the students especially enjoy the question and answer session which follows each visit.

In the summer of 2012 , to coincide with Great Britain hosting the Olympic Games and the Olympic torch passing through Oxford, we invited Sir Roger Bannister to visit the program. Sir Roger Bannister was the first man to run a mile in under four minutes and was a revered personality within the sporting world and took his particular place in history.

In the words of Oxford program director Emily Osborne, she was most struck by the fact that “Sir Roger Bannister viewed his professional and academic career as much more notable and important than the athletic feat he is most known for.” It is with great sadness that we learned of his recent passing. He was a great ambassador for Oxford and the sport of athletics. We feel privileged to have met him and he will be greatly missed.

Oxford Students have Departed

The LMH campus is now quite quiet as all students have departed for the airport and their respective homes.  These last two weeks have been a great time of learning, laughter and fun.  We wish all of the students the best as they finish their summers and start their next school year!

– The Oxford Team

Final Night Together

Friday has been our final day spent together. The students were up for breakfast and their final morning classes where they finished sharing the work that they have done over the past weeks. After morning classes ended, the group had the opportunity to head into town for lunch, complete their last minute souvenir shopping, and cross the final items off their Oxford bucket lists. Once they returned to Lady Margaret Hall, it was important for them to begin the process of packing and organizing their things for the journey home.

In the afternoon the students attended their final class session before returning to finish packing. Once packed, it was time to prepare for the final dinner which was a more formal event set to jazz and candlelight in a special location at Lady Margaret Hall. After the fancy meal together, students were able to work on signing cards for one another. Following the card signing, we came together for one final celebration, a variety show with performances and fun audience-participation games. Once the show ended, everyone returned to their halls for some much needed rest before a very early morning on departure day!



Thursday August 3rd – Punting and Pajamas

Students here in Oxford have been hard at work finishing up projects for classes, but many have had time to explore sights around Oxford during the last few days as well.  Some of the classes, including Oxford Authors and Oxford Art and Architecture, have spent a several class periods exploring various locations in the city.

Many students tried their hand at an Oxford tradition this afternoon: punting on the Cherwell River.  For those who aren’t familiar, it’s a bit like a gondola you would find in Venice and the punter maneuvers the punt using a very long pole to push off the bottom of the river and also use as a rudder.  While some of the students were more successful at navigating than others their first time, all students seemed to have a lot of fun!

This evening, many students chose to relax back at the LMH campus, including some who visited our Summerfuel Pajama Party!  Students also received details about how they were getting to the airport or train station.  Tomorrow is our last full day here in Oxford, but we still have a lot of fun events planned!

Wednesday August 2nd – Sights and Swaying

This morning the students were back to their normal class schedule after our trip to London yesterday. After class finished, the students had the option of heading into town for the Iconic Oxford Tour, an excursion to see the best sights that Oxford has to offer such as the St. Mary’s Tower climb, the Radcliffe Camera, the Sheldonian Theater, Christ Church Meadows, Tom Tower and exploring the streets along the way. Students were lead by Laura to these locations around town where they could snap photos to their heart’s content.

Also during the afternoon break, a few other students went to the nearby University Parks for a performance of Alice in Wonderland under a big circus tent. The students in the actor’s workshop were able to observe, critique and learn some tips from watching the performance in the park, while the Oxford Author’s class were able to see Lewis Carroll’s story come to life!

Once 4:15 hit the clock, the students were back in class for the afternoon elective courses followed by dinner in the LMH dining hall. After dinner we got ready for a night on the town with Club Night (under 18) at the Bridge Club. Everyone had the chance to dance to the beats until returning back to the college for a good night’s rest before our final few days together.


Tuesday August 1 – Sightseeing in London and a Mystery Night!

Today was our final trip to London!  Students woke up early to go to breakfast and we headed into London to pick up Britt, our tour guide for the morning.  We heard all about the history and current sights of London both on the coach and as we walked through Westminster.  We had the chance to see and take pictures of Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, the changing of the guard at the Horse Guards’ Parade,  Parliament Square and Big Ben, Trafalgar Square and Picadilly.   We closed our trip with a visit to Covent Garden Market, where students had a chance to explore shops, get a bite to eat, and even try some local sweets!

Back on campus, tonight was Mystery Night, where the activities centered around mysteries or riddles.  Some students played a mystery-based computer simulation, and Oxford Clue was also on offer.   The highlight of the evening was created by Benjamin, our activities director, who designed a Summerfuel exclusive Escape Room where students in small groups had a half hour to solve all the clues to retrieve their keys and win the game! While most teams solved it eventually, one team managed to solve it in the time allotted.  Congrats!

Tomorrow the students are back to class as they finish up their final assignments.  While there are only a few days left, students still have a lot more in store for them this week here in Oxford!

Monday July 31st — Pottering around Oxford

Today is the start of our final week together, and students returned to the weekly routine of breakfast followed up by morning classes. After class, a group met up at LMH to head into town for lunch and the always popular Harry Potter Tour. During the tour, students were able to see several of the colleges that make up the University of Oxford, which also served as filming locations for the Harry Potter series. They visited Divinity Hall in the Bodleian Library, the New College Cloisters, and Christ Church College, which inspired the Hogwarts Dining Hall. The students enjoyed touring the locations and also the opportunity to see a few of the colleges in the University of Oxford.

In the afternoon, the students all returned to LMH for their elective courses followed by dinner at the dining hall. After dinner we had the treat of listening to one of the faculty, John Rolfe, give an enlightening talk on the history of the English language and some of the key differences between British English and American English, which was interesting for all who attended.

Soon after, the group headed out to the field in back of the college for some sports. Ultimate Frisbee and a football (soccer) match were a big hit as well. After cleaning off the dirt and grass stains, it was time for a good rest since the group will be up early on Tuesday for a sightseeing tour of London!DSC07990

Sunday July 30th – A trip to Blenheim Palace

This Sunday, the Summerfuel students had some extra time to catch up on sleep before heading down for brunch at Lady Margaret Hall. It was nice for everyone to wake up rested and have a hearty meal before we met up at 1 PM to take the coach to Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire. This expansive estate is home to the Duke of Marlborough and was the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. While visiting the palace we had the chance to explore the rooms inside, visit the gardens around the property, and some students even took a little train to the ‘Pleasure Gardens’ where they saw butterflies and attempted the hedge maze. A bit of rain was the only downside to an otherwise fantastic Sunday afternoon.

Once we returned to LMH, the students had some time to relax, catch up on their work and enjoy dinner in the dining hall. After dinner it was time for Karaoke Night! Students entertained each other in singing songs and hits from across the decades. It was a great time for everyone. Our weekend has come to a close and soon it is time to begin our final week together here in Oxford.