Students left for Europe on June 11, and returned to the states on June 31. Students participating were: Keevin Walker, Bailey Spears, Cameron Terry, Megan Schilly, Jacey Staponski, Alex Mareth, David Thomas, Jake Beaty, Jessica Ball, Taylor Reynolds, Kelton Mattingly, Chelsea Mareth and Devon Bennett.
Adult sponsors for the European trip were Adam Wilhite, David Mareth, Gary West, Rob Jackson, and Shelli Wiseman.
The group met with a school from Omaha, Neb., and traveled with them throughout the trip.
Students were required to raise $5000 per person to participate in the adventure. Students sold items throughout the year to raise the funds, including candles, cookie dough, flowers, candy, and other merchandise.
Before departing on the trip, students received 30 hours of instruction to learn about the places they would be seeing in Europe. Each student was required to keep a journal of his or her daily activities, as part of the earned history credit.
Students awoke at 5 a.m. to depart for Europe on June 11. They rode on a school bus to Memphis, Tenn., to meet their first flight. Storm conditions delayed the flight several hours. After departing from Memphis and the students flew to Atlanta, Ga., where they had to run all the way across the concourse to make their connecting flight due to the earlier rain delay.
After a long jog, students boarded the plane and got situated in their seats for their 10-hour flight to London, England.
Students traveled to London, Paris, Switzerland, Florence, Rome, Venice, Austria, and Germany.
In London, students saw Big Ben, rode the London Eye and visited some cathedrals. The third day in London was Spears' 17th birthday, and they rode the world's biggest Ferris wheel, the London Eye, to celebrate.
During their stay in Paris, they also visited the Eiffel Tower. Some students got lost in the city because they missed the last subway of the night. They took three buses and walked a great distance to get back to the hotel at 4 a.m.
Students who did not get lost had the opportunity to experience an authentic Catholic Mass.
In Switzerland, students stayed at a hotel in Lucerne that featured a spectacular view of mountains and a lake in the valley. While touring Lucerne the next day, students had the opportunity to visit the Rolex/Swiss Army Knife factory and showroom floor.
Spears had an interesting encounter with a Swiss doctor due to a sore throat during the beginning of the trip. The doctor's visit was very thorough--Spears had her blood drawn to test for bacterial infection, and received a prescription of medicine and throat spray.
In Florence, Reynolds celebrated her 17th birthday. A few students went out and rode a carousel at night, and Mattingly danced with her at a restaurant.
In Rome the students watched a lot of soccer (football, as it is called in Europe) and toured major sites such as churches, the Coliseum, beautiful houses, the Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain.
The male students and Wiseman traveled to Pompeii for the day.
In Venice the group stayed at a hotel on the beach, located in a popular shopping area. On the second day, the students took a ferry into Venice, toured the city, and rode the famous gondolas.
Germany was a very memorable place for one student. Keevin Walker got to meet up with his brother, Clay Wilkinson, who has been stationed overseas for four years. He spent the remainder of the trip with his brother.
Students visited the Dachau concentration camp, where they saw the gas chambers, barracks, and cremation facilities.
When the students reached the airport in Munich, Beaty realized he left his passport at the hotel and Wilhite took a cab back to get it and nearly missed the flight.
Students left Germany for a 12-hour flight back to the United States. Students arrived in Purdy at 2 a.m. and were very excited to see their family and friends.