Transformed Through Travel
When teachers travel the world, they bring back a piece of it to the classroom.
Sam McClure, co-creator of the Arzonetti-McClure Fund for Faculty Travel, with just some of the Trinity faculty who have benefited from the fund.
With the holiday season on the horizon, many families are making travel plans for snowy adventures or tropical escapes. But travel can be more than just a fun family getaway. It can enrich us with new perspectives, new knowledge, and new experiences.
If you believe in the power of travel and you’re interested in philanthropy opportunities with Trinity, the Arzonetti-McClure Fund for Faculty Travel is the perfect way to support your child’s teachers.
The fund was established in 2006 by Sam and Tim McClure, parents of Trinity alumni, in partnership with Sam’s parents, Barbara and Walter Arzonetti. It funds trips for teachers, providing them with enriching experiences and fresh ideas they can bring back to the classroom.
Sam McClure was born in Belgium, lived in the Philippines, and spent most of her childhood in London. From a young age, she understood the value of experiencing different places and cultures.
“The fund really grew from that passion and wanting to help teachers travel and bring those experiences back into the classroom,” McClure said. “I think the more the teachers can get out into the world and have these enriching experiences, it benefits the Trinity community. And that’s why, when we were looking at a way to give back to the school, we wanted to establish a fund that would support that.”
Teachers can apply for the fund each year, explaining how their proposed trip would contribute to their professional development. The heads of school select the recipients. Most recently, Middle School theater teacher Sarah Stuart visited New York in July 2019 to experience Broadway for the first time.
“It just enriched my whole perspective all over again. It was like being a child again learning theater,” Stuart said. “I couldn't even begin to tell how grateful I am for having been able to do that. I took all of my Broadway programs and hung them on my wall, so when the kids come in, they’re like ‘Oh, I saw that.’ It’s so cute, and it’s a conversation starter.”
Sarah Stuart shows off playbills while visiting the theater district in New York.
McClure’s son is a professional actor who is also passionate about directing, and he directed his first production at Trinity. She said hearing about Stuart’s experience was rewarding.
“Getting a letter from Sarah about getting to go to New York and seeing all those plays — it was just so heart-warming,” McClure said.
Through the fund, Middle school art teacher Linda Herron visited Italy in 2016, and the experience inspired ideas for her curriculum.
“The trip was very special. The city of Florence really surrounds you with the art experience, whether you go to a museum or on the street,” Herron said. “That to me was one of the most important things: to be immersed in the art. I brought back ideas for my projects that have benefited my students.”
Academic dean and former Spanish teacher Karyn Rayburn said her trip to Mexico in 2015 enabled her to bring back authentic materials — or “realia” — to her students, which helped them see the value and real-world applications of what they were learning in the classroom.
“Every hotel I went to, every tour I went on, everything I could get that was in Spanish, I brought back so I could show them,” Rayburn said. “I think as a non-native Spanish teacher, it’s important to go back to the country again to get immersed in a language. Having that opportunity was truly amazing.”
Head of Lower School Jennifer Morgan and Head of Middle School Shanna Weiss visited Finland 2014 to study the country’s leading educational system and learn best practices.
“Over and over, what we saw was that teacher quality really, really matters,” Weiss said. “It made us so much more excited about our hiring process and being able to be selective and be very intentional about the professional development we are providing for our teachers.”
Other faculty excursions made possible through the fund have included Alaska, Austria, Cambodia, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Holland, and San Francisco.
McClure said these teacher stories inspire her, and they are the reason her family established the endowment almost 15 years ago. She hopes other people will be inspired, too, because these types of experiences enrich the lives of our teachers and make them better educators.
“I would really just love there to be more knowledge of the fund and more participation eventually, so we can serve more teachers,” McClure said.
Want to support the Arzonetti-McClure Fund for Faculty Travel or other philanthropy opportunities at Trinity? You may be surprised at the variety of ways you can give. Learn more at www.austintrinity.org/giving or email Chief Development Officer Kristi Katz at email@example.com.