Nine Whitehall English National Honor Society students will be packing their bags and taking off for Italy next year.
English teacher Karen Short presented the trip to the Board of Education at its June meeting.
“I’ve been wanting to do international travel for a long time,” she said. “About 10 years ago I took some students to Canada, and we had a great time. Things went awry with responsibilities after that and I was waiting on another good group to bring on another trip.”
Short is familiar with students traveling abroad as she sent her daughter on a trip to Italy in the spring. The program the group will be using is EF Tours and she said they have a backup plan for any situation, even a global pandemic.
“They are trying to make the tour experience more modern and educational for students so each year they have been adding more educational value to the experiences,” she said. “They also create the itinerary from day one to the day we get back and they build programs that challenge and ignite a passion for learning in students.”
Current juniors were the ones to present the idea to Short; they brought up how she sent her daughter and it’s their turn to go now. Short will be attending the trip as a chaperone. Short also said there will be full reimbursement options should the trip need rescheduling or canceling.
“Everything is completely covered by liability coverage, releases, and travel protection plans so if anything were to happen, we as a district would be protected,” she said.
Students have already started fundraising for the trip and have another planned for this coming fall semester. The cost per student to attend is $3,790. Donation pages have also been made for the trip.
“We’ve done two fundraisers this year to help offset the cost and we’re going to be able to fit in one more fundraiser in the fall to help a little more with offsetting the cost,” she said. “But most of it will come from them getting a job or fundraising through the donation pages.”
Students Louis Pratt and Blake Bird were at the meeting and happy to hear the board vote in favor of the trip. Bird said she has dreamed of being able to see Italy.
“We didn’t expect it,” Bird said. ”Mrs. Short called us all into a room over the intercom and when we got to the room, she was acting really serious and when I opened the form up that she gave…”
“She was like ‘we are… going to Italy?’ and everyone was shocked,” Pratt added.
Pratt said that they have worked incredibly hard to go on a trip such as this and that getting to go with friends adds a whole new layer of excitement.
“The process she did was really cool and rewarding because she asked us what it means to be a NHS English student and it gives us the opportunity to reflect,” he said.
Students will also be able to count the trip as half of either high school or college credit and will see historical landmarks in Milan, Rome and even Pompeii.
“We’ve worked so hard to be offered this opportunity. The reason why we’re going is because the nine of us have worked hard on keeping our grades up,” Bird said.
“It’s something we will remember forever.”