Photos/Caroline Pitman and Lisa Osborne
Foreign language department head Lisa Osborne and English department head Lauren Culliton took 16 students, ranging from sophomores to juniors, to France. The students left on Saturday April 15 and returned on April 22. They first visited the province of Normandy in which they toured the site of the D-Day battle as well as Château de Chambord and Giverny (Monet’s garden). “Going on this trip, I didn’t realize that I was going to see the whole country. Exploring Monet’s Garden and the Chateaus of Normandy, and even just driving from place to place, I really felt like I was able to see all of France,” said junior Tara Gordon. The students also visited the Musée d’Orsay, Invalides, the Eiffel Tower, Opéra, Versailles and Mont Saint-Michel, which is considered to be the eighth wonder of the world. The students emphasized the importance of the new friendships that they formed while on the trip. “I think it was cool that the group was really close by the end of [the trip]. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to go with,” said junior Ellen Irmiter. Students were also able to apply their language skills while participating in a culturally enhancing trip. “Students were able to experience French culture beyond the classroom, use their linguistic skills speaking French, and hopefully develop an interest in becoming a lifelong traveler,” said Osborne.
Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands
Photos/ Taylor Petrucci
For the first time in Walpole High School history, a group of students traveled to the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. Science teachers Susan Wick, Lindsey Reichheld and Leah Milne took 19 students ranging from sophomores to seniors to the country through the program EF International Tours. The EF program aims to provide a more holistic cultural immersion of the country as opposed to simply a tourist perspective. The group began their trip in Quito, where they got the opportunity to explore and experience the city. The students then made their way to the Andes Mountains in which they visited various villages and volunteered to help build a school in the local area. The students also got the chance to live one day in the life of local women in these villages to observe cultural differences in depth. The group finally flew to the Galapagos islands in which they traveled to four of the five islands: San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Baltra and Isabela. They traveled to nature reserves where the tour guides taught them about the diverse wildlife found on the islands. “Our time in the Galapagos was very meaningful because some of the wildlife there doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world, so it is interesting to see how the animals there aren’t afraid of people because they haven’t learned fear,” said senior Taylor Petrucci.
Photos/ Ryan Barry
Nineteen Students traveled to Taiwan over April break, the biggest group that Mandarin teacher Gordon Strick has brought abroad out of the four trips he has chaperoned since 2009. Strick, along with Latin teacher Gabriel Bakale and Special Education teacher Margaret Fisher chaperoned the trip. The group flew into Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, at the beginning of break. The city of Taipei offered various attractions, one of which is Taipei 101, one of the tallest buildings in the world, as well as night markets, museums, temples and mountains. “My favorite part of the trip was driving through the mountains. We could see everything; we had a view of the cities, fields and little towns spread throughout the valley. It was amazing,” said junior Ryan Barry. However, probably the most anticipated part of the trip was the excursion to a coral island off the coast of Taiwan called Xiaoliuqiu where the students got to go snorkeling. Strick brought students to China twice before switching over to Taiwan. Strick emphasized the benefits of traveling to Taiwan as both a culturally and academically enriching experience. “Taiwan is the best of China, it’s the first democracy in 5,000 years of Chinese history. It is very traditional, and everyone speaks Mandarin,” said Strick. “[The country] is friendly, safe, and clean, it has all of the best aspects of China that make it both culturally interesting and also educational because they can practice their Chinese.”