IRISH CASTLE RUINS - From left, front row at bottom are Liam Harrison, Meghan Sponable, Mikalya Glode, Shannon Ovitt, Chelsea Gazaille, Colleen Fuller, Nick Porter, Ashley Loomis, Chet Prouty. In middle row, teachers Pete Gilbertson and Steve Tomb, Dylan Moore, Ethan Cooper, Kala Williford, Sierra Galusha. Top group: Jessi Yates, Jon Ordway, Lydia Knickerbocker, Matt Hayden.
Students and chaperones alike report that the Johnsburg Central School trip to Ireland and Paris during April vacation was a wonderful trip.
On April 4, English and Irish Literature teacher Steve Tomb and French teachers Mary Blackhurst and Pete Gilberston took 17 of their students overseas, for the first time combining a school trip to the two countries. Blackhurst has organized numerous trips to France while at JCS, and Tomb led his first Ireland trip for JCS students a few years ago. The combined trip was a year in the planning and everyone has positive reports about the 10-day tour.
“It was an excellent adventure,” said Blackhurst. “My favorite part was watching our students as they experienced something for the first time as well as watching them grow as travelers and adapt to new situations. Of course, it was exciting to see them using their French language skills.”
Mikayla Glode, 11th grader, concurs.
“I thought it was fantastic. Probably the best experience to have overseas.”
Tomb’s favorite part was traveling with two “incredible” colleagues and witnessing students experience new and different cultures.
“Another favorite part was seeing students apply things they learned in the classroom, such as language skills and historical knowledge to real life, real time experiences,” Tomb said. “We as teachers representing Johnsburg feel really proud when we receive email like this one from Mr. Peter McNamara from Lahinch Bus Hire, who transported the JCS group: ‘The students were great ambassadors for the school they attend, and also the area they come from. You must be proud of them.’”
When asked how he felt the trip went, Gilbertson said, “I feel it went extremely smoothly. It appeared that the students were soaking up many aspects of foreign cultures and appeared to be having a good time, almost all of the time. From a chaperone’s perspective, this group of students was extremely self-disciplined and a pleasure to travel with.”
Tomb thought it was a great adventure and success.
“But I think we will see the true success manifest itself in years to come for the travelers,” Tomb said.
Junior Ethan Cooper, who took part in a surfing adventure early in the trip.
“Surfing was fun in the Atlantic,” Cooper said. “It was a different experience than our local skiing and snowboarding at Gore Mountain. The scenery was just beautiful.”
Junior Colleen Fuller agreed.
“My favorite part was the cliffs of Mohr in Ireland. Ireland was a beautiful country,” Fuller said.
The housing for the students on this trip was far different from the average hotel room.
“My favorite part was our unique lodging experiences: A surfer lodge in Ireland and a converted barge in Paris,” Gilbertson said.
The first JCS combined trip to Ireland and Paris trip was a great success, with students returning in the early morning of April 14 to share photos and tales of their adventures with friends and family back home.