2021 International Summer Trip Postponed


The 2021 international trip has been postponed until 2022 because of the pandemic. The trip will be themed around World War II.

Originally, the trip was planned for Greece in 2019, but was cancelled due to COVID. This year, the trip was switched from Greece to a tour of WWII destinations, but had to be postponed once again.

“It was very difficult to decide if we were going to travel this year,” teacher and international trip coordinator Ms. Laura Woodruff said. “We had to consider vaccination in the US and other countries as well as other factors, and I ultimately decided that we wouldn’t travel.”

Chelsea works with the travel company EF International Tours to plan these trips for students. 

“Usually, we go to EF and we pick a pre-planned itinerary,” Woodruff said. “This year, however, I called EF and told them that we wanted to do a WWII theme for our trip, and they created a custom itinerary for us. Nobody else will have gone on this trip.”

The Civil War class, taught by Mr. Pedlow, was recently replaced by his new class Turning Points in History. The material covered in Turning Points in History will align with the international trip. 

“During the trip we will see Normandy, Bastogne, Berlin and Dachau, so we can see a concentration camp,” Pedlow said. “The trip will cover the sites of the major events that we study in Turning Points.”

In addition to the international trip being rescheduled for next year, the whole system of international trips at Chelsea will be changing to accommodate the new Turning Points in History class.

“The goal of the Civil War class was to always have a field trip that went with it,” Pedlow said. “So I also wanted a field trip to go with the Turning Points class when I set it up.”

The trip replacing the Gettysburg and Antietam trip will be the WWII trip to Europe. The tentative plan is to run the WWII trip every four years, interspersed by a different international trip every two years. 

“The goal is to create a rotational system for the international trips,” Pedlow said. “One year might be a trip to Spain, for example, and two years later would be the WWII trip. That way, every student in high school gets the opportunity to go on two trips, one of them being the WWII trip.”

All students will be eligible to go on the upcoming international trip, whether or not they are taking or have taken Turning Points in History.

“The Gettysburg and Antietam trip was only for kids who had taken the Civil War course,” Pedlow said. “We won’t be restricting who goes on this trip, but the assumption is that most of the kids going will take Turning Points so that they would understand the sites they would travel to.”

Ever since the program started, Chelsea’s international trips have grown in popularity. 

“We have about 75 students traveling next year, which is well above what we had in the past,” Woodruff said. “We usually have one bus, but we opened up a second one for next year. A piece of that is the appeal of the WWII theme, but I also think that people just want to travel after not being able to during the pandemic.”

While there is little funding currently available for the trip, Woodruff hopes that there might be more in the future.

“As this trip expands, I really want to make sure there are more scholarships available for students,” Woodruff said. “I would love for everyone who wants to go on the trip to be able to go.”

Although the trip was rescheduled for next year, students are still excited for it.

“I really like history and I think it’ll be fascinating to see WWII sites on the trip,” Ben Kotlarek (‘23), a student signed up for next year’s trip, said. “I’m just glad that I will have the opportunity to go.”

In addition to being educational, the trip has a lot of fun aspects for students.

“I think the trip is a really good balance between the history side, the art side, and learning about the culture and language of the places we visit,” Woodruff said. “There is also free time however. In the past we’ve done a scavenger hunt and other fun activities like going to parks or shopping.”

The international trip is a great opportunity for students to travel to a new country and broaden their horizons. 

“I think anyone with an interest in history should consider the trip,” Pedlow said. “Outside of WWII, we are also seeing places like Paris and Berlin that would be enjoyable to anyone.”

The trip usually lasts anywhere from 8-12 days and is chaperoned by teachers. 

“A wide range of students from 9th grade to 12th grade go on the trip,” Woodruff said. “A lot of parents usually go as well, not as chaperones, but as travelers alongside the students.”

In high school, Woodruff went on international trips and felt they were “life-changing” for her. Woodruff knew that she wanted to be a teacher and wanted to bring an international trip to the school she taught at.

“Running these trips is a dream come true for me,” Woodruff said. “It was something I knew I wanted to do ever since I was a senior in high school, so I’m so happy that I was able to successfully build this program and give CHS students the same opportunities I had in high school.”