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The McDermott Scholars Award covers all expenses of a superb four-year academic education at The University of Texas at Dallas, in concert with a diverse array of intensive extracurricular experiences, including internships, travel, and cultural enrichment.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Visiting the Chateau of Blois

We visited the Chateau of Blois today. It is magnificent. The first real chateau I have ever visited, besides Versailles. Remnants dating back to the middle ages are scattered across its gardens. The chateau itself shows a progression of periods as duke after duke elongated it, rebuilt it, changed it to fit his desires. So the wings move from the Gothic Flamboyant (red brick and Italian ornamentation) of the late 1400’s to the Renaissance style of the 1500’s to the Classical period of the 1600’s to the gargoyles of the Gothic eighteenth century. I moved from room to room, marveling because I was in a story land. I could get lost in the maze of rooms and passageways. There were even wooden panels that opened into hidden cabinets, like in a murder mystery :).

The town of Blois itself is charming. Gardens everywhere, and a Patisserie or Chocolaterie on every corner. In fact, this is the town where Monsieur Poulait got his start as a chocolate maker, and the trade seems to have been passed on. In one shop window, we saw sculptures of chocolate -- a torso, a hand, a pair of lovers in love.

Monday, September 15, 2003


I was in Nawaikoke, Uganda about 70 miles north of Jinja; smack in the middle of Africa, teaching grade school kids about HIV/AIDS.

When we arrived at Nawaikoke College, the school had very few textbooks, perhaps one per subject for the teachers to use. They also had the foundation of a library built, but had run out of money to complete it. After my local newspaper the Katy Times published an article about my situation, the people of Katy, Texas donated over 1,300 books, the cost of shipping them out to Uganda, and all the funds necessary to complete the project. It took a lot of work to make it happen -- you can't just call a contractor and sign a check in the Ugandan bush -- but somehow, we got it finished. The students and the headmaster and I are all so happy and so grateful to the people of Katy Texas for their immense generosity.

>> Learn more about Aidan's trip to Uganda