Bon Giorno: Students head to Italy

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

“This is going to be the chance of a lifetime for all of us.”

That was the way St. Joseph High School student Caiti Anderson described a trip 36 students and 12 adults will make later this month.

The St. Joseph students and family members will depart Ironton April 18 for a nine-day trip to Italy.

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The idea for an Italian sojourn began when students were planning last year’s prom and wanted an Italian villa theme. Some students liked the idea so much they wanted to scrap prom altogether and just go abroad. The seed was planted.

The trip is planned through EF Educational Tours, a company that plans educational and cultural exchange trips and bills itself as “the world’s largest private education company.”

To pay for the trip, students raised much of their money through fundraisers. Last year’s prom decorations were sold after the dance. Students also had a rummage sale and sold trash bags and basketball programs.

The visit to Italy will include stops in Florence, Venice, Rome and Vatican City. The Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum and St. Mark’s Square in Venice are most often mentioned as must-see places.

“It will be kind of exciting to see the artwork and the culture,” eight-grader Caitlyn Fout said.

“It’s going to be awesome,” ninth-grader George McCown said. “I’m excited.”

For eighth grader Kayla Pyles, it will be perhaps Prada, not the ruins of Pompeii, that will likely get her attention.

“I’m looking forward to the shopping,” she said. “It’s going to be like ‘Guess what? I went shopping in Europe!’”

Ninth-grader Scott King said he was most looking forward to the experience of visiting another country.

“Just to get a different perspective on the world, to see how other people live,” he said. “I think that takes you out of your comfort zone, just to see what the rest of the world is like.”

St. Joseph High School Development Director Sissy Clyse said the students will likely come back with a changed perspective on their own country, seeing the world from another vantage point.

“Global thinking, it’s a serious thing,” she said. “We need to see how other people live.”

For some of the students, this will be their first trip to Europe and for that matter, their first experience with flying. The trip to Italy will require a total of 14 hours in the air each way. It will also be their first opportunity to hear a language other than English spoken 24 hours a day.

“I’m a little nervous about getting lost in Italy,” eighth grader Levi Hopkins said. “I imagine that would be pretty scary.”

“Losing my luggage” was the one thing tenth-grader Jami Mathis most feared. “I just know I’m going to lose it.”

Throughout the nine-day trip, the focus will be partly on education, with visits to see Michelangelo’s David and Doges Palace, and partly on church history, with visits to Assisi, where St. Francis founded the Franciscan order, and The Vatican, the

governmental and spiritual capital of the Roman Catholic Church.

“Heritage,” senior Crosby Clyse said. “It’s going to make this year a big school heritage year.”