Fond memories and a new appreciation for gelato are just a two of the many things that came to mind for the Portland Secondary College’s first tour group to Italy.
Three staff and 30 students embarked on an 18-day trip across several states of Italy, visiting cities such as Florence, Rome and Venice.Teacher Andy Harris and a small group of students got together last week to reminisce about their trip of a lifetime.The unanimous highlight for the group was in Capri, where they saw the Blue Grotto in person."It was just the way the cave lit up," said Braiden Malady, 14."The way the sunlight brought out the blue in the water was amazing.""Seeing some of the great buildings, such as the Florence cathedral, opened my mind to Christianity symbolism and the role they played in their culture," added Caydn McIlroy, 14.A mainstay across the trip was the obsession of fresh gelato, which started after an afternoon of sight-seeing."We found the most delicious gelato stand in Sorento," Mr Harris said."It was just the right thing for the hot afternoon."Soon it because a daily ritual, with many of the kids going on ‘gelato runs’ for each other in each place we visited."Caydn and Tovi Kitt, 17, said the trip created an opportunity to learn about themselves and their school mates."The bonding experience was great," Tovi said."Spending time with each other in a completely different country was very unique.""The chance to bond with the teachers was awesome too," Caydn added.Likewise, Cady Phelan, 17, and Sam Budde, 17, reflected on the freedom on the trip, saying it was both exhilarating and eye-opening."We had to be independent, as we were away from our family for such a long time," Cady said."The teachers let us do our own thing, which was great.""But it also meant we were doing our own laundry at 10pm," Sam added.Mr Harris said he saw the students grow in confidence as the trip progressed, to the point where they competed in an impromptu Amazing Race."We were given a list of activities and a map," Caydn said."One activity was to go to a mask shop and buy a mask that represented our personality.""It was great to see the students work together," Mr Harris added.Despite only returning from the trip recently, Mr Harris is already planning another trip for 2018.
Photo courtesy of the Portland Observer.
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