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The Queen Has Invited Us For Tea!

August 25, 2015
By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal

Well, not exactly with her but to the British Isles. While most of you are aware of our extensive missions program that has changed the lives of hundreds of our high school students, another of our unique opportunities that is offered is our annual summer Europe trip. Through the years, 498 students, parents, grandparents, family members, and teachers have traveled to 20 different countries throughout Europe. Our mission trips have sent 2343 students, parents, and teachers to 22 different countries. So over the past 13 years, Indian Rocks Christian School has sent 2,841 travelers to 42 countries. Not too bad for a small school in Largo.

The summer Europe trip is not a mission trip. It is purely a recreational and/or educational trip for students and their families. In fact, students that have completed 8th grade can earn ½ credit in European History by going on the trip and completing a project such as an academic travel journal, a power point presentation, a scrapbook, a travel brochure, or writing a paper about the experience. By doing this twice in high school a student would complete the Social Studies graduation requirement after their junior year. Students must be at least 15 years old to travel alone with the group, those younger are welcome to travel if accompanied by an adult. Many families have used this as their summer vacation.

Group picture from this year’s Italy tripThis past year’s trip journeyed to Italy. Here is a quote from parent Jen Alonso who went on the trip with her daughter. “After just getting back from our week in Italy, I’m looking through pictures and letting all that we packed into our week sink in. I’m so glad my daughter, Summer, and I decided to go on this once in a lifetime trip. Going with the IRCS group was a great way to see and experience way more in Italy than we ever would have on our own. A big part of what made the trip so unforgettable was getting to know the other group members and sharing the experience with them. I can’t believe we’ve had kids at IRCS all these years and never went on a summer Europe trip until now. Hopefully we’ll be able to go again in summer 2016.”

Next summer’s trip (2016) explores the beauty and culture of the British Isles. The trip itinerary currently has us starting in England but we are considering reversing that and beginning in Ireland. Dublin is the home to Trinity College and the Book of Kells. It also has St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Ireland’s largest church as well as Christ Church Cathedral, one of Dublin’s oldest buildings. We will visit the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher and see Blarney Castle, home of the Blarney Stone (you can even kiss it to see if the legend is true that you will gain the gift of gab). We will ferry to Wales and spend an evening there. On our way to London we will visit Stratford-on –Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. We will see all of the sights of London such as Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. We will even have the option of seeing the musical, Wicked, at a west-end theatre.

There will be an informational meeting about the trip on Tuesday, September 1. It will be held in the choir room of the MS/HS building beginning at 7:00 pm. You can also find a detailed itinerary by clicking here. The flyer has instructions for how to enroll online. We travel with a Christian company called Global Travel Alliance. We use them for our Washington DC trip as well as our St. Augustine trip. We have used our friends there as our tour guides since 2002. Anyone that has traveled with them knows and loves them. Many former travelers stay in touch via Facebook. The date to register by is September 15th. If you have any questions about any part of the trip, please feel free to contact me. It is a great opportunity that will produce life-long memories.

If you have traveled with one of our trips before, please leave a comment to post an account of your experience.