Tramping abroad
Middle schoolers take on Italy

Meghan Hagan
Eighth grade Landstuhl Elementary and Middle School

***image1***Jane Bellieu, Landstuhl Elementary and Middle School Spanish and Italian teacher and Foreign Language Club sponsor, had been trying to get a student study trip to Italy on the road for two years, but the trip was always cancelled for security reasons. Finally, the approval came through.

The level of excitement among students seemed to continually grow from the time the trip was approved.

At last, May 19, 31 Landstuhl middle-schoolers and 10 chaperones boarded a bus to Italy.
The trip included an overnight ride to Pisa and a half day there, then three overnights in Rome. There was a day trip to Pompeii, and on the return trip, a stop in Florence.

The students were awed at seeing the Leaning Tower, as well as the Basilica and Baptistery in Pisa; the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, the Coliseum and the Spanish Steps in Rome; the ruins and city of Pompeii; and the Giotto Cathedral and Baptistery, Piazza Signoria, in Florence, with a replica of Michelangelo’s “David.”

They seemed especially captivated with St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world. There they learned the legend that rubbing the feet of the statue of St. Peter brings good luck, and excitedly gathered round to try it.

“Look how shiny they are,” said seventh-grader Craig Layton. The feet of the statue had been rubbed so many times they were hardly recognizable.

When a tour guide told the students that rubbing the snout of a huge statue of a boar it meant that they would return to Florence, they all eagerly rubbed the huge shiny snout, hopefully ensuring their return.

As students walked and talked, they were excited. Over and over the comments included some variation of, “Can’t we stay in Italy instead of going home?”

The overnight ride home was filled with comments like those of sixth-grader Lindsey Wesloski, “Remember the statues in Vatican Square?” and seventh-grader, Cristina Adames, “I can’t believe that was a real person in Pompeii.”

“I never drank so much water in three days before,” said eighth-grader, Jason Lillis.
All of the students met each milestone through this unforgettable trip with enthusiasm – from the moment a bus was found, to seeing all the amazing sights, to the final leg of the return home.