Summer travels: Team BCPS staff, students traveled all over the globe

Photo of American Music Abroad students in Slovenia.

Catonsville High Band and Orchestra Director Christopher Gnagey is a Band Director for American Music Abroad. Gnagey and 27 Team BCPS students had the chance to perform and tour Europe. Here is the group at picturesque Lake Bled in Slovenia.

In July, Catonsville High band and orchestra director Christopher Gnagey was in Croatia admiring the sixth-largest Roman amphitheater in the world.

Meanwhile, Windsor Mill Middle science teacher Anuradha Bajpai witnessed the blue fire produced by Mount Ijen in Indonesia.

To say they had memorable summers would be an understatement. And they weren’t alone. For some Team BCPS students and staff, summer meant a chance to experience different cultures and visit new cities and countries.

We enjoyed following their travels on Twitter so much that we wanted to share them with our Team BCPS community. Here’s a look back at their unforgettable journeys.

Experiencing Europe

Photo of American Music Abroad participants in Salzburg, Austria.

Team BCPS was well represented when American Music Abroad performed in Austria. Here’s the group in Salzburg, Austria.

Who: Catonsville High Band and Orchestra Director Christopher Gnagey is one of the band directors with American Music Abroad, which travels and performs concerts throughout Europe each summer. This year, the all-star band with students from five states included 20 Catonsville High students, three Parkville High students and one student from Patapsco High, Perry Hall High, Eastern Technical High, and Towson High.

Where they visited: This year, American Music Abroad visited Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, and Germany.

Memorable moment: Gnagey said Croatia was his favorite stop on the tour. It was the first time the tour visited the Eastern European country. They stayed in Porec, along the Adriatic Sea coast. The views were fantastic. They also did excursions to the nearby cities of Pula and Robinj, both of which were stunning.

Pula has the sixth largest Roman amphitheater in the world and Roman ruins dating back to the 1st century.

“The country is absolutely gorgeous and the people are extremely friendly,” Gnagey said. “Much of the country is on the Adriatic Sea, so the views were spectacular.”

Incredible Indonesia


Windsor Mill Middle science teacher Anuradha Bajpai had the opportunity to visit Indonesia and learn more about education there.

Who: Windsor Mill Middle science teacher Anuradha Bajpai was one of 14 teachers who visited Indonesia for an international experience and cultural diplomacy sponsored by IREX and TGC. Indonesia is a large country consisting of more than 17,500 islands.

Where she visited: Bajpai’s host school for her visit was in West Java near Bali. She interacted with 2,000 highly motivated students there who have high expectations.

Memorable moment: Bajpai visited Mount Ijen to see the blue fire naturally produced  by the volcano. She went on a midnight hike that took four hours at Lake Ijen. Memories that will last a lifetime. She couldn’t wait to share them with her students.

Postcards from all over the globe


Several Team BCPS staff members visited San Antonio this summer for the ISTE and NSPRA conferences. The history of San Antonio is depicted in a spectacular light show at the Cathedral of San Fernando.

San Antonio, Texas: The ISTE and NSPRA conferences were both held in San Antonio this summer, giving Team BCPS staff an opportunity to learn new skills. The light show depicting the history of San Antonio at the Cathedral of San Fernando was a popular stop.

Xi’an, China: Once again this year, Team BCPS students and staff visited China as part of the Chinese Cultural Exchange Program This partnership gives students from Xi’an and BCPS the chance to live with families and attend schools in their host countries.

Tajikistan: Mason Miller-Breetz was awarded a National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholarship  by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Miller-Breetz studied Persian in Tajikistan for six weeks.

Chicago: BCPS was named the American Association of School Librarians’ 2017 National School Library Program of the Year. Fran Glick, coordinator in BCPS’s office of digital learning, accepted the award at the AASL conference in Chicago in June.




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