Princeton Secondary School has been offering school trips to students for years. Most recently, the trips have been coordinated through EFTours (Education First). With physical education director, Kirk McConnell and his wife agreeing to escort the students who signed up for the excursion, students were soon looking and planning for the day that had finally arrived. On Friday April 22, at 10 a.m. the eager travellers boarded the PSS van for the beginning of a trip they will never forget.
Day One the group flew out of Vancouver on their way to Ireland. After arriving in Shannon, Ireland they travelled to Killarney. On Day Three the tour begins in earnest with a tour of the Ring of Kerry. From Killarney to Dublin for Day Four and the Blarney Castle, the guided tour intensifies with a tour of Phoenix Park, Georgian Squares, O’Connell Street, the Book of Kells at Trinity College and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
From Ireland on to Wales, the students travel by ferry to holy head and travel through Snowdonia National Park to visit a Welsh Castle. Day Seven is another tour packed day with a tour of Stratford, England to Shakespeare’s birthplace and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. Before the day is over the students will be treated to a tour of Oxford and Basenose College.
On Day Eight, the tour stops in England at probably one of the most exciting times in years for their country. The Royal Wedding of Prince William to Kathryn Middleton will be in full swing. The students along with other Canadian school groups will be treated to a seat of the event. EFTours has secured a spot for their clients.
After England, comes Paris by high speed train. On Day Nine, a tour of Paris will include the Place de la Concorde, Champs Élysyés,Conciergie, Les Invalides and the Arc de Triomphe. Day 10 is for a walking tour of Paris to visit the Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral. Each tour group is assigned a full-time bilingual EF Tour Director.
Katelin Marshall, Meagan Haayer, Frankie Riechert, Rachel Halipchuk, Taylor Kostiuk, Katie Lamoureux and Courtenay Hassell were the travelling students. “EF Tours works primarily with schools,” stated PSS principal Sandy Blair. “Our students will join up with other schools their trip.”
“Every year the tour offered is slightly different,” Blair continued. “The one thing that is consistent is that the students usually stay in traditional European hotels which are much smaller and often much older than anything they would stay in in North America. The students will be getting the full experience especially with their packed schedule. They will do lots and see lots.”
A trip of a lifetime is likely to have some good stories at the end. Safe, sound and with a whole new world opened up for them, the travellers from PSS will return. “I really hope they have a wonderful time,” said mom Wanda Marshall – a thought echoed by the rest of the parents and well wishers.