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Floresville High School students travel abroad
Roxane Rakowitz (l-r), Christine Warzecha, Christopher Barclay, Alysha Reyes, Charles Felux, Julie Rakowitz, Gabriel Petri, Group Leader Anthony Warzecha, Jody Trevino, Assistant Group Leader Heidi Zertuche, Michael Barclay, Alyssa Leal, Shine Trabucco, LeAnn Yelton, Jennifer Atherton, and tour manager Dimitra Neonakis visit Vatican City.
By Anthony T. Warzecha
After about a year and a half of planning and preparing, students at Floresville High School experienced a trip of a lifetime touring the ancient ruins and culture of Greece and Italy. Nine FHS students, two FHS teachers, two parents, and two family members of students embarked on this journey from July 8-17. We traveled with two other groups from Iowa and Illinois and were led by our wonderful tour manager, Dimitra Neonakis, and the travel company American Council for International Studies.
The trip began with our airplane ride to Athens, Greece. Participants stayed two days in Athens to tour the ancient ruins of this Greek city-state. We hiked up to the Parthenon and walked in areas where famous philosophers gave us the idea of the first democracy. “For me, being where music and theater began was so surreal. It was inspirational!” expressed LeAnn Yelton, a student participant on the trip.
Our third and fourth days included a journey across Greece to visit the site of Delphi and the Temple of Apollo. “During my trip to Greece, I really enjoyed climbing to the top of the mountains,” expressed Gabriel Petri. After visiting Delphi, we then took a ferry ride to the country of Italy and toured the ancient site of Pompeii, a city preserved by a volcanic eruption that took place in 79 A.D. “Seeing the ruins in Pompeii inspired my college dreams to become an archeologist preservationist,” said Shine Trabucco.
As we continued our journey, we had a nice relaxing day and a half in the beautiful cliffside city of Sorrento and the island of Capri. Students were able to swim in the turquoise-colored waters of the Mediterranean, which was a favorite part of the trip for many. “Of all the sites we visited, the island of Capri was my favorite. A day of gelato, Italian pizza, and clear blue water was unforgettable,” said Julie Rakowitz. The island of Capri was a favorite place for Alysha Reyes as well. “Getting to explore the beautiful island of Capri was my absolute favorite, but all in all this trip was definitely an unforgettable experience,” she said.
Our last two days included a tour of the historic city of Rome. Students viewed the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, Vatican City, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and many more sites. “Our experience in Rome was an unforgettable one. Actually being able to walk through the Pantheon was amazing; textbooks just don’t do it justice,” said Alyssa Leal. As we left for the airport on our last day, we did have a canceled flight and stayed in Rome for one more day!
Overall, this was an amazing trip filled with many memories for the students that will last a lifetime. Assistant group leader Heidi Zertuche reflects on the students’ experiences on the trip. “Floresville was very well represented in Greece and Italy. Our students eagerly participated and seized the day!” explained Zertuche. Jody Trevino, a student on the trip, said, “Traveling to Europe was such a life-changing experience. Seeing all of the different cultures really opened my eyes.” Chris Barclay expressed his thoughts on the trip simply by saying, “If I could it again, I would do it in a heartbeat!”
Michael Barclay, father of Chris, told me that “being able to experience this trip with my son and tour and explore all these historic places” were some of the best parts of the trip. Roxane Rakowitz, mother of Julie, said, “Traveling to Greece and Italy was amazing! I am so glad I got to experience this trip of a lifetime with my daughter and her friends.” Christine Warzecha highly enjoyed the trip, stating, “I enjoyed experiencing the cultures of Greece and Italy and seeing the breathtaking scenery. It will be forever life-changing.”
As the main group leader, it was very rewarding for me to see the students excited to learn about new cultures. To take students abroad and experience this firsthand is something we will all never forget! It was an honor and privilege to travel with this group of people and I plan to keep this going every two years. Let’s see where the next trip takes us!
Anthony Warzecha is the Pre-AP World History teacher and National Honor Society sponsor at Floresville High School.
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