Students plan to cross the pond a day earlier

European history teacher Mike Egner’s trip to England and France will depart the states earlier than expected.

European history teacher Mike Egner. Egner has taken students to Europe since 2011. photo by Julia Kerrigan

European history teacher Mike Egner. Egner has taken students to Europe since 2011. photo by Julia Kerrigan

by Julia Kerrigan, Staff Writer

Every two years since 2010, European history teacher Mike Egner has taken students across the pond to England and France for 8 days of learning and sightseeing.

“One of the main reasons I like to do this trip is because students have had the chance to see the Tower of London and the Thames River and the things that I talk about when they come back and take my European history class as seniors,” Egner said.

As of  Aug. 19, the trip will be extended an extra day due to Brexit, a vote which resulted in England leaving the European Union. Because of this vote, the value of the English pound is as low as it has been since the mid 80s, at one pound to every $1.30. This allows the tour company to spend enough for another night at the hotel.

“I was excited about [the extra day],” sophomore Natalie Kistler said, “because it was gonna be lots of things in a little time and it’ll be nice to have a day to spread things out and get to explore things more in depth.”

Those taking the trip, normally girls going into their senior year, will be visiting prominent sites such as the Tower of London, Stonehenge and Versailles. This change of plans will provide some relief in the packed schedule.

“I have a hard time fitting everything in 8 days anyway,” Egner said.

Another global event that could affect the trip is the rising terrorist threat in France. If events in the weeks leading up to the trip cause concern, then the tour company will have to reevaluate whether or not the trip happens, or if the students go to a different location.

“We just kinda have to see what the situation is,” said Egner. “You don’t want to get caught in the middle of something. Terrorism, it’s not announced. It happens when it happens.”

The turmoil abroad could eventually convince parents to pull their children from the trip, but many students have not been deterred and no major concern has been raised. For Kistler, there is hope that the threats die down.

“I know family there and they’ve been telling us about [the terrorism] because they know I might be going and so they’re telling us that we probably shouldn’t be worried about it,” sophomore Brooke Moore said.

Within two days after the informational meeting in August, the trip was completely full and a waiting list was created for still holding out hope of attending. After collaborating with the tour company, two more people were added onto the trip, including Moore.

“I’ve always wanted to go to England and France,” Moore said, “and I just thought that going with school would be more fun than with family because you’re spending time with your friends, but you’re also having a learning experience.”

Egner’s formula for the itinerary includes history, culture, and leisure.

“There has to be a little shopping, a little sightseeing mixed in with the museums and the cathedrals, castles, and those kinds of things,” he said with a smile.

Students will depart June 13 and return June 22, filled with knowledge of both England and France and tales of their travels to share with friends and family back home. This will be Egner’s fourth time taking the trip with students.

“I just enjoy the wonderment and the fascination that I see on students faces when they see things that they’ve only seen pictures of in books or movies or on TV,” Egner said.