CUMBERLAND, Md. (WDVM) — Allegany High School students will be going on a one-of-a-kind trip to Iceland with their school next summer.
Florence Saku, a teacher at Allegany, started organizing this trip early in 2019. She had gone to California with two students in 2017 – both of these trips were organized by WorldStrides and are STEM trips.
“My interest in choosing Iceland has been for a long time,” Saku said. She first saw Iceland when she was flying from her home country of Ghana to Canada to meet with her husband – she said from then, she knew she had to visit someday.
When Saku first announced the trip, about 39 students responded at first.
“It generated a lot of interest – wow,” she exclaimed.
She had her first parent meeting in November 2019, and she said she will be making the trip with 19 students and several guardians.
“We went to various places that one cannot do if you travel on your own alone. That is a benefit,” said Saku.
For some students, this is their first time leaving the U.S. Skylar Stewart is a 10th grader who is leaving the country for the first time.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the views there. I looked it up and it says there’s a volcano. But I’m also excited to see the views because it’s over the seas and it’s great to see what else there is over there,” Skylar said.
Matthew Flanagan, another 10th grader who will be attending the trip, has left the states before but hasn’t gone as far as Iceland before. He said he’s excited to experience first-hand different things about earth science that he has learned in the classroom.
“I felt kind of mixed; I didn’t know if it was going to be very fun or not. I thought it was just going to be more of a learning experience, but it’s going to be way more exploration,” he stated.
The students started fundraising towards the beginning of 2020 to help cover costs for the trip. The schools began to close during the fundraising period due to COVID-19, but fundraisers continued outside of school.
“How often do students even have a chance to travel across continents; how often do they have the opportunity to be in a plane how often do they have the opportunity to really go and see people of a different culture?” Saku said.
Saku said that WorldStrides has almost guaranteed that they will go on the trip – if COVID-19 travel restrictions prevent them from doing so, the company has guaranteed a full refund.