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Italy tour offers global experience

A common stereotype placed on high school students is that they do not fully appreciate their teachers. In some cases, it is believed that students do not realize that their mentors even exist outside of the classroom.

One example is the oft-told story about a little kindergartener that was overwhelmed with the horror of seeing his teacher shopping at his family?s grocery store. Puzzled, he asks, ?What are you doing here?? unable to cope with the sight of his teacher outside an academic setting.

However, one teacher to whom this stereotype never is campus English teacher Greg Stobbe. During his summers, Stobbe leads tours of high school students on treks across Europe.

“Whether it is visiting John Steinbeck country as a sophomore while reading Of Mice and Men or viewing the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican while studying the Renaissance, we all can better undertand our world by experiencing places, people and culture,” Stobbe said.

Currently, there are 40 students and parents planning on traveling to Italy with Stobbe beginning June 5 on a 16-day tour. Besides visiting museums, major cities and historical buildings, students plan on participating in group experiences and having a fun time.

?I am going to Italy with Stobbe because I think it will be really fun,? Micah Walker, ?05, said. ?I?m excited to get to see where so many historical events actually took place.?

Stobbe has been leading tours since 1996 when he first took students to England and Scotland. Recently he led a one-week tour to New York City as part of the journalism and drama seminar/workshop trip.

“I love taking students to places where their culture collides with another worldview,” Stobbe said. “I hope we can stretch them even while singing in a gondola, standing on the Leaning Tower of Pisa, walking through Rome’s Colosseum and swimming in the Mediterranean. And the food…oh the food will be so old-school; I can’t wait.”

Others students, who have participated in some of Stobbe?s past trips, feel that they were well worth it.

?Even though my family will not go to Italy with Stobbe this year, I will always remember how much fun I had on the trip I took with him two years ago,? Erin Elmore, ?06, said. ?Going to Europe in the past with Mr. Stobbe was awesome. He made every activity interesting for both teenagers and adults; there was never a dull moment.?

Other students have gone on multiple excursions with Stobbe throughout their years in high school.

?I?ve been on multiple trips with Stobbe, and I?ve had a great time on each one,? Ali Ramirez, ?05, said. ?I?m looking forward to having the same wonderful experience in Italy this year. I most anticipate visiting the Vatican City and its library.?

Jon Endicott, vice principal, believes that participating in any group-type activity in which students experience another culture is beneficial to the next level of higher education.

?Experiencing another culture broadens a student?s horizons,? Endicott said. ?It?s a valuable thing to see a place in a different light. Learning firsthand about Italy, or any country, is a good way for students to establish a global perspective, so that they don?t just have an American one.?

The unique experience of travel abroad expands students? worldview through cross-cultural experiences.

?I have never been to Europe before,? Mikey Wills, ?06, said. ?I have never even left the United States, and I think that a trip to Italy is a rare opportunity. I?m looking forward to going out of the country and experiencing other cultures.?

For more information regarding the Italy tour, contact Stobbe at 299-1695, ext. 151 or at [email protected].

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