RHS students to travel to Italy
Twenty-five Rhinelander High School students will take the trip of a lifetime to Italy next month. From March 28 through April 5, RHS students and teachers from the school district will experience Italian history and culture firsthand.
The trip, organized by social studies teacher Linda Goldsworthy, has been in the developmental process for more than 18 months. In that time, numerous fundraisers have brought in more than $22,000 for the trip. Such fundraisers have ranged from rummage sales to antique appraisal events and have been in partnership with multiple local businesses, including fudge sales through the Fun Factory and sporting event popcorn sales alongside the Athletic Booster Club. In addition to the numerous fundraising events, the students and chaperones have met monthly, and in some instances weekly, since the fall of 2011 to organize locations, activities and funding. The community’s participation and support, along with money and services donated by local businesses, have helped to make the trip a reality.
To be eligible for the trip, students had to have taken one or more of a series of courses including AP European history, accelerated English or Greek and Roman history. These classes, Goldsworthy notes, focus on specific elements related to Italian culture and help students gain a better understanding of the country in terms of past and present life.
“We felt it was important that we knew the students who were going,” Goldsworthy said. “A good portion of this trip includes interacting with locals, so we wanted the students to have knowledge of the country to ease cultural barriers.” She also believes that having teachers as chaperones will enhance the educational experience for the students. “Each teacher is skilled in a different area and all have their own area of expertise in European culture and history,” she said. “They’ll be able to offer the students a unique insight in their area of interest, allowing the students to take even more from this cultural experience.”
Upon arrival, the students will spend two days in Venice. Then they will travel by bus to Florence for two days and will finish out their experience for three days in Rome. Each stop includes multiple activities and opportunities for the students to learn about past and present Italian life.
“We chose to plan activities that incorporated the culture as well as the history,” said Goldsworthy. “We’ll be taking a gondola ride in Venice, learning how to fresco paint, taste test gelato in a factory and try our hand at authentic Italian pizza making, as well as touring historic buildings and foundations that depict the Italian renaissance.”
Students in Goldsworthy’s AP European history class will be focusing on the Italian unification time period at the time of the trip, which will allow them to make stronger connections between what they’ve learned and what they’re actually experiencing while in Italy. “I’m hoping that the students will absorb the country through multiple lenses and walk away with a newfound appreciation,” she said.
Goldsworthy believes that the amount of time and money each student has invested in this cultural opportunity will allow them to represent their school and community well. “These students have put in an enormous amount of time and effort into making this trip a possibility and I’m certain our group will be great ambassadors of Rhinelander.”