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News Education Local students head to Europe for the week

Students from Franklin High School and Macon Early College will be leaving Friday to fly to London to spend nine days touring Europe. The students will visit several landmarks.A group of 28 students and teachers from Macon Early College and Franklin High School are scheduled to fly out of the United States of Friday, March 22, for a nine day trip of Europe.

A vision of Franklin High School art teacher Joan Lansford, after seeing the trip announcement Meghan Reynolds at Macon Early College contacted Lansford to make it a combined trip for additional students.

On Friday, the group will fly into London to make a connecting flight to Rome. “In Rome, we will visit the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, the Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel, among other things,” said Reynolds. “From there, we will travel to Florence and visit the Gates of Paradise, the Piazza della Signoria, and the Duomo. Following that, we will travel to Tyrol, Italy, which is located in the Alps, for an overnight stay on our way to Munich, Germany. There, we will visit the Neuschwanstein Castle, the Olympic Stadium, and Dachau concentration camp, among other things. Finally, we will fly back to London, then back to the United States on March 31.”

All of the students participated in several fundraisers to raise the money to go on the trip, and were able to raise enough money to pay for the trip in its entirety.

The experience to travel the world and experience cultures that some students are only able to read about can be invaluable to a child's education. While the trip will be fun and exciting for the students, Reynolds and Lansford have worked to make the trip an educational, hand-ons experience that will give students a firsthand experience and knowledge of Europe.

“I am really excited about this opportunity. My students have worked really hard to raise money for this trip," said Reynolds. “I am also thankful to the Macon County Academic Foundation for giving us a portion of the money for the trip, as well as the school board for approving this trip and making it possible. Lastly, I am most thankful for Joan Lansford...without her, this trip would not be happening!"

"I am looking forward to going to the Alps (Innsbruck). The views are supposed to be beautiful and there should still be snow on the mountain tops. But for an art teacher, nothing tops Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel," said Lansford. "I hope these students get a more global view of the world they live in and seeing Rome, Florence and Munich should give them an insight into a variety of cultures. We are traveling with an art teacher, bio-tech teacher, history teacher and an English teacher so this trip will apply to all these curriculums.”

Macon County students will be visiting the Vatican City, just days after the Catholic Church held the inauguration of the new Pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who will be called Francis, the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. He is also the first non-European pope in more than 1,200 years and the first member of the Jesuit order to lead the church. This stop is among the many historical sites students will see during their nine day trip.This is Landford's 10th time taking students on trips with this educational tour company. "I am so happy that this is such a large group this year," she said. "I hope they learn a lot, make new friends, try new foods, hear different languages, take lots of pictures and create unforgettable memories."

Students are excited for the opportunity to get outside of their comfort zones and explore Europe. Sarah Nichols, a senior at Franklin High School, is among the lucky students who will be making the trip on Friday. To get ready for the trip, Nichols said she did a lot of shopping for travel supplies to make sure she had everything she would need over the nine day period.

Nichols said she is looking forward to “absolutely everything” about the trip, especially the opportunity to expand herself. “I feel so honored to go on this trip. I’ve always wanted to travel to Europe,” said Nichols. “I think this trip will help my education because I’ll be more worldly and educated about cultures, art, and people.”

While she is excited, Nichols is also anxious. “I’m really nervous that my money will be stolen or my luggage will be lost,” she said.

Chris Chastain, a third year student at Macon Early College, is most looking forward to seeing Italy. "To get ready for the trip, I have googled stuff and kept account of the weather. I have also test packed," said Chastain.

Emilee Curtis, a junior at Franklin High School, said she is most excited about seeing Europe first hand. “I am excited about getting to see a country with so much history and culture, and hearing the accents,” she said. “I can’t wait to see the castles and the ruins, because that is something that we don’t have in America.”

To help her prepare for the trip, Curtis downloaded a special translator application on her phone to help her understand the different languages she will encounter. “I’m really nervous about having to communicate with people who speak a different language,” said Curtis. “We will be in Rome on Palm Sunday, and there will be so many people. I’m scared that something will get stolen, or I’ll get lost.” She has also been planning what to pack for months and had visited multiple travel websites to make sure she is as prepared as possible.

“I’ve never been so excited about anything in my life. I can’t wait, and I’m so thankful to everyone who helped out,” said Curtis. “I think that I will gain a better understanding of the world, and how different cultures relate to ours. I really want to have a job where I travel, and I think that this will better prepare me for what it takes to interact with people from other countries.”

Kristen Cope, a fourth year student at Macon Early College said she is most excited about seeing Rome and getting the opportunity to get a different view of other countries.

Preston Mashburn, a fourth year student at Macon Early College, did his research to prepare for the trip. "I am most looking forward to flying and seeing another country," he said. “I looked up different things in each country to visit and I have bought supplies to get me through the trip.”

Look for pictures of the trip in the April 4 edition of the Macon County News. 


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