Malvern Prep, PA → Austin Prep, MA

Malvern Prep, PA → Austin Prep, MA

Malvern students, Andrew Davis ‘25, Austin Trout ‘25, and Jack Hechler ‘26, accompanied by Mrs. Chrissy Leonard, the Academy Coordinator, and Mrs. Diane Dougherty, the Family Outreach Coordinator, traveled to Reading, Massachusetts to experience what it is like to be a student at Austin Prep and to be a part of the first Augustinian exchange ever!

From April 1, 2024, through April 5, 2024, the first-ever Augustinian Exchange trip took place, and we were fortunate enough to be a part of the “pilot” program. 


Mr. Andrew Goyer, Malvern Prep’s Campus Minister, shares the behind-the-scenes of the Augustinian trip and what the future holds. 


“It had been coming to the surface for a while. [There was a] talk of why don’t we get two of our ten Augustinian schools together, so they share more about their Augustinian school culture. And so this year the pilot program happened. In the future, it looks like it could grow into maybe a host program where students and their families would even take in those guest students throughout the week they are here to even more fully immerse them in the culture,” Goyer said.


Our group of five left the Philadelphia International Airport, where our journey began. After about an hour and a half of a flight, we landed at the Boston Logan International Airport, where we were greeted by Dr. Bill Driscoll, who is the Assistant head of Austin Prep. 

He drove all of us to Austin Prep, which was about 30-40 minutes from the city. There, we were greeted by our hosts for the week. Their names include Mark-Henry ‘26, Dereck ‘26, Shane ‘26, and Colin ‘25. I was fortunate enough to already know them from when they came to Malvern in December. They gave us a brief tour of the campus, and where to find everything. During the tour, we were able to see the library, all of the athletic fields, classrooms, and their amazing dining hall. Students get lunch for “free” because it is a part of the tuition. We also learned how similar Austin Prep and Malvern are. They share the same values and believe in the same beliefs. 



Every night, Austin, Andrew, and I would reflect on our days and what were our favorite parts. Austin Trout, a Malvern Prep Junior, is very blessed and grateful to be given the opportunity to go on this incredible trip.


 “I wanted to step out of my comfort zone, meet new people, and experience new things. I didn’t want to become too complacent with the current community. I just wanted to kind of get a little preview of what you know, leaving the community I love so dearly now [is like],” Trout said.


Mrs. Dougherty, the Family Outreach Coordinator, has been on a few service trips before, but this was her first time going on an exchange program. She had a very positive experience at Austin Prep. 


“ [My favorite part was getting] the opportunity to meet other colleagues at another Augustinian school and learn from them, [to] see what their communities [are] like,” Dougherty said.


Day two arrived, which was the first day of classes, and we were ready to go! All day, we followed our hosts around, met amazing teachers and students, and got to experience what an Austin Prep student experiences on the daily. We were very fortunate enough to see how they do their Adeodatus reflection. For the most part, their reflections are very similar to ours. In the chapel, where the reflection took place, Andrew, Austin, and I were given the opportunity to talk to the Juniors and Seniors about our experience so far. To finish the day, we all went to the Varsity Baseball game. “The environment was awesome, as we watched a dominating performance,” Trout said.


Mrs. Leonard, the Faculty Coordinator, doesn’t get to see and interact with the student body as much as she wants to at Malvern, so she really enjoyed this trip and getting to meet other students at Austin Prep.


“[My favorite part of the trip was] spending time with [Jack], Austin, and Andrew. It gave me a chance to [get to] know you guys and I don’t get to see the students as much as I have in my previous role here. So I really did enjoy spending time with you guys and seeing how you shined. You really represented us well, and yourself so well. Everybody that we talked to said the same thing day in and day out,” Leonard said.


Relic Room
A picture taken inside the “relic room,” which had over 500 first-class relics.

Day three was finally here, and it was by far the best day of the trip. We started the day off by going to the Saint Benedict Abbey, located about 45 minutes from Austin Prep. At the abbey, we met a few monks who dedicate their lives to serving God and others. We then got a tour of the property, and the original house, which was built in 1670. It was then time to do some service. Colin, an Austin Prep Junior, and I were in charge of the “demo,” while Austin and Andrew were in charge of spackling. It was very rewarding in the end to see what we accomplished. Once we were done service, we went into the most incredible room ever. It was a room filled with over 600 relics. There was Mary’s veil, pieces of the True Cross, all of the Doctors of the Church, Saint. Augustine, and even my Confirmation saint, Saint. Francis of Assisi. Later in the day, we went into Boston to explore the city. We got a very detailed tour of Boston College by Dr. Driscoll, who graduated from B.C. We were very fortunate enough to see the main athletic field, too!


Andrew Davis, a Malvern Prep Junior, loved every minute of the relic room and had a remarkable experience inside. 


“It felt like I was there with [the saints]. Like Jesus was there with his hand on my shoulder. There’s just something about it. I can’t describe it,” Davis said.  


Ms. Teresa Lohse, Director of Global Programming and Upper School Spanish teacher, explained how the first trip was very successful, and the hope is to continue with it every year.


“I think that everyone would agree just from hearing your feedback from you, Austin, and Andrew, and also from Mrs. Dougherty and Mrs. Leonard. It was just super successful and same with all the guys in Austin Prep. So the idea is what is the next step? Do we continue with it? Do we continue working exclusively with Austin Prep? Do we expand it almost like [the] SAVI experience and we start to visit other schools too? These are the questions we’re working on right now. I know that there is the potential to continue again with Austin Prep, but there is also the thought of what might it become. Do we want to ultimately visit all of the schools or is this every other year? So that’s still to be determined,” Lohse said.


Day four was here, and it was a very cool day! We were not expecting it to snow, but we woke up to snow falling from the sky. We went to classes all day and met even more students, faculty, and teachers. Austin Prep has a community meeting once a week where the entire student body (Upper and Lower School) and all faculty and staff get together. That day, numerous students jousted in an inflatable pit and tried to knock each other off a platform. Before the games began, Andrew, Austin, and I shared a few words with the community. We shared why we were there, what we were doing, and our favorite parts of Austin Prep. I personally appreciate how passionate every student was. After the school day was over, we hopped in an Uber, and off to downtown Boston! Our tour of Fenway Park began, and we received a very in-depth tour and learned so much cool history. Our tour guide knew everything about the park. We were given the chance to sit in the oldest seats in MLB history. They are called the “Grand Stands.” We also got to see the “red chair” where a fan was struck by a ball. The ball was hit by Ted Williams, and to this day, it’s the longest in-park home run. After Fenway, we went to the Prudential Center, which was a very cool experience. We ate dinner on the 50th floor and then viewed Boston on the 52nd. The views were incredible. We were able to see MIT, Harvard, Fenway Park, and many other places and sites. We then ended the day getting ice cream. 


Before we knew it, the trip was over and we were heading home to Philadelphia. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity. I learned so much and gained four great relationships. Thank you, Mrs. Dougherty, Mrs, Leonard, Andrew, and Austin for giving me the best experience I could ask for. Thank you to Austin Prep for allowing us to step out of our comfort zone and for giving us this incredible chance. I will always remember this trip!

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Friar's Lantern Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *