VHS students experience ‘friendly’ European culture

VHS students experience 'friendly' European culture
Andiamo. Nineteen students and six adults – who participated in a trip to explore visual history in Greece and Italy from June 4 to 18 – heard this Italian phrase, according to teacher Lenni Billberg "a thousand times."

VHS students are usually given the chance to go abroad via the language department, but this time was different. "(Joseph) Delvaux and I decided we needed to have some kind of history trip to give the students a chance to explore what we teach each year," Billberg said.

But before the group could attempt to go overseas, it had to raise money. The group's major fund raiser involved hosting a massive dodgeball tournament. Looking back, Billberg admits there weren't any major obstacles to the trip. "We were very lucky on fund raisers," she said. "It was a fun trip to organize."

With money in their pockets and cheery dispositions, the lucky 25 set out on their journey. Though fun was inevitably going to be present (Billberg believes the students' top concern was shopping), the chaperones kept in mind one thing above all others: student safety.

An incident involving ice cream at a restaurant in the Italian isle of Capri gave rise for fun for the students as well as concern for the adults.

"The waiters were a little too friendly," senior Amanda Yockey said. "They asked us (seniors Krista Froke, Sarah McCann, Cecily Engelhart and Yockey) if we wanted to get ice cream. Krista said, 'Sure.' "

Tempted by the promises of gelato, the girls pondered little before marching off behind the waiter as he sashayed between the tables into the kitchen with Froke. Luckily, hawk-eyed teacher Delvaux wasn't far away from the girls or the scene developing in front of him.

A sight awaited the girls – let's just say it wasn't ice cream.

"All we saw was one of the cooks kissing her (Froke) on the cheek – several times," Yockey said. "Delvaux came charging in yelling, 'Daughter. Daughter. She's my daughter.' The cook was astonished, looked at Delvaux and said, 'Girlfriend?' Delvaux said, 'No, she's my daughter.'"

The girls were taken back to their seats. "Pretty much Delvaux is my hero," Froke said. "He was my dad ? to save me from some greasy Greek man." Unfortunately, that wasn't the last the girls heard from the camerieri.

"One of the waiters came back and asked, 'Can I get you anything else?' " Yockey continued. " 'Coffee? Tea? Me?' "

McCann was the first to respond. "No. 'Kay. Thanks. Bye."

"And the waiter, looking very sad because he'd just been turned down, moped away," Yockey said.

"As for protecting our girls," Delvaux said, "we only intervened when it seemed the attention was unwanted."

In retrospect this reporter shouldn't have been so shocked by the story.

Billberg, when asked if she remembered any anecdotes from the trip, quickly said, "Appropriate ones?"

Despite encounters with mischievous males, the trip accomplished its goal – to meet expectations.

"It met my expectations," Billberg said, "in regard to the responses of the students getting to see things like the Coliseum. The students were in awe of such grandiose things."

"It puts it all into perspective," teacher Nick Mayer said. "It was great to hear the kids say, 'I learned that at school.' Now they could see it in real life."

Delvaux confirmed Mayer and Billberg's sentiments. "The trip to Italy and Greece is hard to desribe in words," he said. "It is something special to stand on the same ground as Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar ? It was also nice to spend some of our superior American culture and allow the depraved women of Europe to glimpse at a real man."

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