Students, Teachers Plan Europe Tour in Summer 2024

Ms.+Marion+and+Ms.+Panzarella+will+take+a+group+of+students+to+Europe+in+the+summer+of+2024.+The+trip+is+not+school-related%2C+nor+school-sponsored.+Photo+by+Alex+Vasey+on+Unsplash%0A++

Photo by Alex Vasey

Ms. Marion and Ms. Panzarella will take a group of students to Europe in the summer of 2024. The trip is not school-related, nor school-sponsored. Photo by Alex Vasey on Unsplash

Abigail Morris, News Editor

At the beginning of summer 2024, history teachers Abbigayle Marion and Danielle Panzarella will lead a group of students on a trip to Europe. The trip, not affiliated with Mansfield ISD or Legacy, will take the group to France, Italy and England. Ms. Marion began researching the trip in Oct. 2022, and shared it with Ms. Panzarella in February. 

“For me, this trip has been something I wanted to do my whole life, so I joke that it’s 20 years in the making,” Ms. Marion said. “This is how I fell in love with traveling and history, and I wanted to share that with my students.”

Ms. Marion and Ms. Panzarella partnered with EF Tours to organize the trip. Their first Zoom meeting with students and families took place on March 30, and over 60 people logged on. 

It’s the first time either one of us is doing this, so we had no idea what to expect. Our tour director said it was usually about 25% of the people that come to your meeting might sign up initially, so we were expecting not that many to sign up that first night. We filled up 18 slots in five minutes.”

— Ms. Danielle Panzarella

It’s the first time either one of us is doing this, so we had no idea what to expect,” Ms. Panzarella said. “Our tour director said it was usually about 25% of the people that come to your meeting might sign up initially, so we were expecting not that many to sign up that first night. We filled up 18 slots in five minutes.”

As more students expressed interest in the trip, the number expanded to include 50 people attending the trip. Three students remain on a waitlist. All students can attend the trip, but the tours will cater to the learning of those in AP U.S. History and AP European History. 

It’s a big number, but we’re excited about that,” Ms. Panzarella said. “It’s so great that so many people are interested and trust us to take their kids overseas. I think it’s beneficial in a lot of ways.”

The trip will travel through London, Paris and Rome. The itinerary includes St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Colosseum, Versailles and the Louvre.  

“I am most excited to see Versailles, the Vatican and the Colosseum,” Ms. Marion said. “Those places have a special place in my history-brain and heart, so I know it will be life changing.”

Although the official dates aren’t finalized, the group will leave sometime in May/June 2024. Leading up to the trip, students will complete extra research and movie/reading assignments to prepare.

“It’s so beneficial to go to a place where that country has been in existence for way longer than ours and look at how things have changed,” Ms. Panzarella said. “It’s good for people to see that not everything is set in stone, things change over time.”

The trip costs about $4,500, so travelers are setting up fundraisers to help support students. Sophomore Jacob Hillis helps create fundraisers with other members of the Student Travel Advisory Committee. For their first fundraiser, donors paid $10 in exchange for a square on a NBA Finals prediction board. 

“There’s a lot of kids we don’t know very well,” Hillis said. “The more they’re involved in fundraising, the better the trip will go.”

Hillis, a self-proclaimed art history nerd, looks forward to touring the Louvre. He’s explored virtual tours online to prepare, and he believes the trip as a whole will leave a lasting impression. 

It makes me a lot more accepting because I understand how the world got to where it is,” Hillis said. “So I have a broader world view and this sense of wonder. It’s just very important to understand why history matters.”

The STAC will continue hosting fundraisers leading up to the trip for people to donate. Ms. Marion and Ms. Panzarella hope the trip will serve as an experiential learning experience for everyone involved. 

“Travel validates and grows the lessons you learn in the classroom,” Ms. Marion said. “Learning from a textbook is one thing, but seeing those lessons in the world is how one changes.”